BLOCKCHAIN – Poised to transform Finance & Banking as we know it?

Firstly what exactly is ‘Blockchain”?
Blockchain is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult to change, hack, or cheat the system. A blockchain is essentially a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems on the blockchain, as a chain of information blocks, for example a Bitcoin Block will contain information about the Sender, the Receiver and number of Bitcoins to be transferred. 
Blockchain has been taken up by all types of Cryptocurrencies to make use of this distributed ledger technology, and has the potential to grow to be the bedrock of the worldwide record-keeping systems, facilitating faster payments at reduced costs.
Is it time for Blockchain to transform the financial services industry?
Firstly Blockchain is not a cure-all for the Financial Services sector, however there are clearly many problem areas for which this technology is the ideal solutions. Many major banks have already adopted or are in the process of adopting blockchain, including the likes of Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Barclays, RBC & JPMorgan.
We fully expect to see Blockchain technology to be the catalyst for change in sectors of the financial services market. We are already seeing companies look at what blockchain can bring to clearing, settlement and other intermediated functions; an area to watch is Trade Finance with its high volume, costly and time-consuming activity. Already we see Financial houses and shipping fleets using blockchain to create smart contracts between parties.
Manchester has long been known as the nations second centre for finance after London, but this is also being underpinned by depth and diversity in all professional disciplines from banking, financial services, insurance, accountancy and law. In the Spinningfields area alone, where our own offices are now based, it is estimated that over 20,000 people work at the heart of the regions financial and professional services industry, One of the biggest growth sectors for start-ups in the region is in the FinTech sector who see Manchester with its lower overheads in terms of office space and base salaries, coupled with the availability of top graduate talent, a great alternative to London and the South East
With change and a greater uptake of Blockchain Technology expect to see a more focus on regulatory issues covering security and monitoring. We fully expect regulators to put tighter controls and standards in place over the next 12-18 months.
We understand some companies have taken a ‘wait and see’ strategy with the adaptation of blockchain, watching and tracking other firms with the intent to move ahead when the time is right. For the change makers they have had to overcome the ever evolving technology and a steep learning curve coupled with the internal challenges of facilitating a change of mindset across internal stakeholders. 
However here in the United Kingdom, the Bank of England is actively exploring how they would implement a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), while some countries, like Lithuania, are already issuing crypto coins in early trials. A recent report published by Jupiter Research believes blockchain deployments will enable banks to realise saving on cross-border settlement transactions of up to US$ billion by the end of 2030, reducing costs by over 11%. Times are a changing !