Earlier this month, DWT hosted a NYPAY panel titled “Will the Blockchain Eliminate the Need for Payment Intermediaries?” NYPAY  is a New York-based forum for the payments and mobile commerce industry. The recent panel was part of a series of NYPAY events hosted by DWT. DWT continues to monitor developments on blockchain and virtual currency.

Eric Piscini, Principal and Global Blockchain Leader at Deloitte Consulting, moderated the panel, which included James Robinson, Managing Partner, RRE Ventures; Steve Mollenkamp, Head of Channel Sales, Ripple; Tiffany Wan, Vice President, Payments Strategy, JPMorgan Chase; and Kathleen Breitman, Senior Strategy Associate, R3. The panelists discussed blockchain’s potential to disrupt the payments industry while also providing traditional financial institutions with opportunities to provide consumers with faster payments systems.

First, speaking to the use of blockchain technology as a driver of virtual currencies, the panelists agreed that a virtual currency has the ability to relieve specific “pain points” in the payments channel if the virtual currency is tailored to the pain point. The panelists warned against developing virtual currency tools without first identifying the problem that needs to be solved. Tiffany Wan explained that payments are only one piece of the financial services ecosystem and developers should be mindful of the upstream and downstream networks in which payments exist.

Second, the panelists discussed the potential use cases of blockchain’s underlying technology beyond virtual currencies. According to the panelists, blockchain’s open ledger could decrease friction in the current payments flow and open payments technology to underserved markets. The panelists noted that traditional regulations, such as “know-your-customer” rules, and emerging or future regulations can present hurdles for fully utilizing open ledger technologies. For example, blockchain holds the potential for real-time payments, but regulatory compliance could result in a delay in the payment.

DWT and NYPAY will host events throughout the spring.