Mutual of Omaha officials had been researching Bitcoin for about a year or so before changing their focus to blockchain.
As bankers realized that the versions of the technology beneath Bitcoin could be used for operations pertinent to their financial institutions – such as storing and validating information – they began to rethink the services they offer, such as insurance and reinsurance, which insures the insurers.
“A blockchain would be able to immediately know who was covered for how much and share that information back and forth between the insurer and any number of reinsurers,” said Brian Poppe, Vice President of Innovation Strategy at Mutual. Such efforts today take manpower. If they were on the blockchain, bank officials surmise not as much effort would be needed.
Poppe argues that blockchain means “everyone has access to the same information nearly instantaneously.”
With this excitement in mind, a forum called “New Kids on the Blockchain” will bring together officials from companies like IBM, Union Pacific, Ernst & Young and futures-exchange operator CME Group to explore blockchain further. Many Bitcoin advocates, to be sure, would describe the sort of technology industry titans are interested in as more of a digital ledger technology than blockchain technology.
“New Kids on the Blockchain” will be held at Kaneko, 1111 Jones St, and is a joint presentation between the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce and the Global Blockchain Business Council.
“The best way to think about this technology is that it’s like a global notary,” said Jamie Smith, president of the Global Blockchain Business Council. “People are using this mostly to move money at the moment, but it’s really a digital token for people to use and access databases around the world.”
Blockchain technology has been applied to enterprise problems by blockchain companies like Ripple and consortiums like R3 and Hyperledger. It has been explored by some of the largest multinational companies in the world. Public blockchains have played a role in the advancement of blockchain and digital currency technology, as well, as today there are dozens of different cryptocurrencies, some of which are actually innovative.
Marco Floreani, the Greater Omaha Chamber’s Manager of Business Development, believes blockchain would be good for merging agricultural export data, allowing buyers and sellers of commodities to enjoy a degree of provenance.
The Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce recently took to its blog to celebrate the tenants of blockchain technology. “Blockchain is a next generation technology for building distributed infrastructures used to communicate, store, sell, buy, trade, execute and insure knowledge and value,” wrote Floreani. “We’ve become used to our data being stored and distributed from silos operating from the center. These data bases work, but what if they acted more as a connected network and permitted the world to communicate within a larger distributed value chain? Blockchain has the potential to reduce the frictions associated with making payments, offloading supply chains and execute contracts. It’s been hyped as disruptive technology, but I like to think of it as stabilizing or inclusive technology. Blockchain could reengineer the way the economy works for everyone.”
He added: “Imagine six years from now when you own a driverless car. You may choose to manually drive it to the office, but instead of parking it in a garage all day, you may permit your autonomous vehicle to act as a taxi. As you’re working, your car is out collecting payments and distributing the revenue back towards your car loan – no middle man inserting extra charges for you or the customers, just seamless transactions verified across vast networks working together to settle the proof of work/transaction.”
If you’re in Omaha, then now might be your chance to learn what some of the most influential individuals in Omaha think about the technology behind Bitcoin.
Featured image from Shutterstock.