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Blockchain week: Five things we learned at Fluidity 2019

Blockchain Week NYC kicked off this year at Fluidity, drawing a sold-out crowd for the second straight year to Weylin in Brooklyn to discuss a wide range of topics including institutional adoption of blockchain technology, decentralized finance, public vs. private blockchains, regulatory policy, and emerging non-financial use cases. Here are five major themes from Fluidity 2019.


1. Institutional Adoption is Growing

Speakers from several leading Wall Street institutions explained how their firms are actively building, testing, and implementing blockchain-based applications and infrastructure to streamline their business models.  Emmanuel Aidoo, Head of Digital Asset Markets at Credit Suisse, noted that relative to other recent technologies (such as cloud computing), adoption of blockchain technology among the broader banking industry is advancing at a comparatively rapid pace.  Other speakers were similarly optimistic about institutional adoption in the near-to-medium term, particularly as the infrastructure necessary to connect with legacy systems continues to be built.


2. Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is Providing Value

In blockchain technology, DeFi focuses on building a financial system that is more open and accessible than the status quo.  At Fluidity, attendees saw several new products and use cases that are gaining traction.  These include decentralized trading (AirSwap, Uniswap, Kyber Network), crypto “staking” or lending (Dharma, Staked), decentralized banking systems (MakerDAO), and blockchain-based Smart Mortgages (Fluidity), which will be introduced this summer.  On the latter, Todd Lippiatt of Factora noted: “our methodology provides better pricing that is determined solely by the intrinsic credit of the [mortgage] transaction, as opposed to external factors like domestic central bank governance policies and political trade winds.” 

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