Innovation and technology in the finance sector, including blockchain and cryptocurrencies, were the focus of the two-day Asian Financial Forum which ended in Hong Kong on Tuesday.
Blockchain is the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and was one of the hottest trends in finance in 2017. It possesses the potential to completely transform traditional business models in a number of sectors, and more and more firms have dedicated resources to integrating blockchain into their operations.
Alex Nascimento runs Cryptocapital, a company in Los Angeles, and he is looking to invest in blockchain products. He is optimistic that blockchain and cryptocurrency will change the way people see money and interact financially.
Ron Williams works for another company Spire, which provides software-based crypto wallets. He is also quite upbeat on the outlook of the technology, saying that although there are challenges concerning its distribution, security and scalability, these problems can be solved very quickly.
Blockchain fever is high thanks to an astronomical surge in the price of bitcoin. Still, experts are warning investors to be cautious. "For average investors, they should be wary of whether they are willing to take the risk because innovative products and solutions do tend to fail," said William Gee from PwC.
The price of bitcoin has gone on a roller-coaster ride in the past weeks, plummeting 12 percent by early afternoon trading on Tuesday, a month-long low for the volatile currency.
Even though some are optimistic that blockchain will lead a revolution which will change money as we know it, others voice their concerns whether the innovation is mature enough to be part of the market infrastructure at present.