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Blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies (DLT) are at the heart of decentralized futures, and after a prolonged period of skepticism and projects limited in scope to proofs of concept or small pilots, there has been a significant uptick in new blockchain projects deployed at scale during the past two years, especially within financial services. How should financial institutions prepare for a decentralized future? Through our work with partners, industry participants, and clients navigating the rapidly changing decentralized futures landscape, Capgemini has identified six key strategic focus areas, highlighted below.
The demands for digital money and a cashless society are accelerating. Central banks are under pressure to improve the efficiency of payments systems; several CBDC projects are already in pilot environment ahead of their formal launch, and stablecoins are finding use cases in streamlining cross-border CBDC payments. Today, Capgemini is engaged in several opportunities in the CBDC space, in areas including investigation, research, consulting and advisory, and proof-of-concept development. The rapid increase in CDBC experiments has also triggered work around technology infrastructure and the interoperability of currencies.
Digital assets allow for the creation of completely new types of financial products and enable faster and more efficient trade cycles for financial instruments. Tokenization unlocks huge business value trapped today in illiquid assets such as art, real estate, etc. Digital custody may also present an attractive business opportunity for traditional financial institutions, as their market reach and know-how position them for success once technology, business, and regulations converge to create the future digital financial market infrastructure. Capgemini is well-equipped to orchestrate enterprise-grade DLT solutions for clients through our Digital Assets Custody offer.
Despite the numerous benefits of crypto in multiple parts of the payments value chain, its volatility remains a key challenge, with wild price swings not uncommon. Crypto-backed payments are on the rise, loyalty use cases are finding more applications, and regulatory frameworks are evolving to encompass the trading and exchange of crypto-assets. To remain relevant, banks and capital markets players must reorient themselves to a world increasingly powered by cryptocurrencies: explore opportunities to assist customers in selecting the right cryptocurrency investments, or perhaps investigate crypto-trading services or digital payments or wallet management.
DeFi can help improve the accessibility, interoperability, transparency, security, and integrity of the financial services ecosystem. While traditional, centralized financial systems certainly aren’t going away, or not anytime soon, decentralization is going to redefine the roles of many large incumbent financial institutions: they will need to adapt to provide new products and services, or risk becoming obsolete. Market developments demonstrate the need for advanced risk management systems to withstand volatility, and banks and financial institutions are well positioned to facilitate safe and secure access to DeFi applications.
As the metaverse becomes a natural habitat to work, play, and socialize, the demand for a trusted value exchange mechanism will increase. NFTs could act as the foundation for value creation in the metaverse and stimulate the creator economy. NFTs open illiquid markets and create new platforms for ownership and exchange across many assets, including art and music. In addition, NFTs may also find application in several other areas including digital identity and NFT-backed loans.
Web 3.0 is poised to be the next generation of the internet, built on a decentralized infrastructure, and providing users and content creators with more data autonomy and a high degree of security. Blockchain will play a key role in this internet evolution, in combination with other technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning. Web 3.0 will be a key enabler in the convergence of centralized and decentralized finance, creating a smart and autonomous network interface for information exchange, which is open, trustless, and immutable.
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