Jim Cunha, the Senior Vice President of Treasury and Financial Services at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, spoke about cryptocurrency and blockchain at the Forbes‘ 30 Under 30 summit in the Massachusetts capital. The summit at Boston’s City Hall Plaza began October 1, 2018, with him describing the limitations of partnerships in cryptocurrency and the implications of a blockchain-enabled economy.
Cunha’s Description of Cryptocurrency
Vice President Cunha joined a panel of prominent figures including Circle Internet Financial Founder Jeremy Allaire, founder of Dirt Protocol Yin Wu, founder of Future Perfect Ventures Jalak Jobanputra, and co-founder of 0X, Will Warren. He joined them to talk about the influence that the blockchain is having on the way people think about money.
During the conversation with Forbes Reporter Michael del Castillo, Cunha illustrated some of the blockchain experiments in the first phase that his team of 200 had undertaken using Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric. He further explained how the branch of the United States Central Bank interacts with other currency issuers and startups to learn more about how blockchain works.
According to Cunha, the biggest obstacle central banks face when it comes to embracing speed, and the absence of blockchain borders is not technological. He mentioned several other projects, including the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Project Ubin and Clearmatics Technology’s Utility Settlement Coin, as examples of how the cryptocurrency world is influencing central banks.
Cunha also gave a few examples of what he believes could someday result in a state-controlled fiat currency issued on a blockchain. He went on to provide a time span of five years before the changes will become apparent.
Refuting Cunha’s Words
To lend support to Cunha’s concerns, there was also a panel dedicated to discussing the somewhat broken reputation of cryptocurrency in the finance and legal realms. Some attributed this to the exponential price increases of many cryptocurrencies last year and an escalation of poorly vetted projects. However, to hedge such concerns, the panelists reflected on the distrust that is seen in the traditional financial sector, especially among millennials.
Speaking about whether cryptocurrencies would ever make a viable means of exchange, Neha Narula, MIT’s director of digital currency, joined Tadge Dryja, a co-creator of the Lightning Network for speeding up bitcoin transactions, and Linda Xie, the founder of crypto-token venture capital firm Scalar Capital. They debated that new technology, not traditional currency, was the best way to widespread use.
The focus of all the speakers remained on cryptocurrency and blockchain for the most part. Nevertheless, a common trend observed among all of them was what a reimagining of monetary systems from scratch can look like. Meltem Demirors, the CSO of London-based crypto investment research firm CoinShares, proposed considering unconventional variables of a monetary system such as fairness, social access; and equality of the system when imagining new ways to move money. Demirors concluded.
“We now have to work together to define the future of who has the right to print money and who has the right to define for us individually and collectively what has value.”