In a recent interview, Sergey Nazarov, co-founder of Chainlink, shed light on the challenges faced by traditional banks when it comes to adopting blockchain technology. He pointed out that, unlike startups, banks did not begin with blockchain technology as a foundational component, which puts them at a disadvantage in the race to adopt this transformative innovation.
Banks’ investment in existing infrastructure
Nazarov emphasized that banks have made substantial investments in securing their existing infrastructure, and they have trained their personnel to operate within the confines of this well-established system. This setup is fundamentally different from that of startups, which often have the flexibility to build their operations around blockchain technology from the outset.
One crucial aspect of traditional banking infrastructure is the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) network, which has long been the cornerstone of international payments and settlements in the banking sector.
Nazarov acknowledged that SWIFT dominates the banking world as the most straightforward method for conducting international payments and settlements. Banks rely heavily on this system, entrusting it with vast sums of value, and they have no immediate plans to discontinue its use. Consequently, any effort by banks to incorporate blockchain technology must be compatible with their existing infrastructure.
Nazarov went on to discuss Chainlink’s Cross-Chain Interoperability Protocol (CCIP) and its experiments with prominent banks. He outlined three key findings from these experiments: The experiments demonstrated that banks can effortlessly link to multiple blockchain networks using their established SWIFT infrastructure. This integration requires minimal effort and allows for efficient interactions with various blockchain chains, whether they are public or private.
Chainlink’s CCIP enables effective interbank transactions across diverse blockchain networks. This functionality streamlines the process of conducting transactions between banks and opens up new possibilities for cross-border financial operations. Private blockchain networks can now seamlessly connect with public ones, thanks to Chainlink’s CCIP. This capability creates opportunities for the transfer of value from the private banking sector to the public blockchain industry, thereby impacting both sectors positively.
Real-world implementation: ANZ’s tokenized asset purchase
Nazarov highlighted a real-world application of Chainlink’s CCIP, involving the Australian Bank ANZ. The bank utilized Chainlink’s protocol to rigorously test the purchase of a tokenized asset. Nigel Dobson, ANZ’s Portfolio Lead, expressed the bank’s proactive stance in exploring decentralized networks. He also cited a growing confidence among institutional investors in the potential long-term value of tokenized assets.
He stated, “Banks are increasingly exploring use cases involving tokenized assets, with 93 per cent of institutional investors believing in their long-term value, according to a recent EY report.”