Blockchain. Not a day goes by without any news about this fascinating “peer-to-peer” technology. Whether on the market side where the Bitcoin (first application of the blockchain) cuts capers on the markets, or whether because the established market participants (banks, insurance companies, governments) are more and more seeing this topic for what it is, namely probably one of the most significant technological developments of the next decade. And just like the internet and the dot.com-bubble, such a disruptive new development is obviously accompanied by speculative side issues.
But what makes this topic so fascinating, apart from obvious enormous efficiency gains?
It is the manner in which we will maintain trade relations in the future, and whom and what we can trust. Today, we are relying on multitude intermediaries that guarantee economic processes, including central banks, regulators, stock exchanges, and notaries. The block chain produces the potential to replace these entities by a community of numerous users; even though we do not know the people we are then trading with. However, we will rely on stored, validated, transparent and forgery-safe records which will be confirmed by the community of users and not by central entities.
According to forecasts by the World Economic Forum, about 10% of the world GDP could be saved in the block chain by 2027; the areas of application are ranging from logistics to energy up to the financial sector. And – despite all fluctuations in cryptocurrency transactions – for investors it is interesting that a new asset class may develop here which is uncorrelated to previous asset-classes and with an interesting risk-return profile (high liquidity combined with a high risk-return component).