While blockchain technology has been widely analyzed in terms of its potential impact on the financial industry, CIO Monica Eaton-Cardone examines what this latest FinTech development is likely to mean for merchants and consumers.
(Tampa Bay, FL) October 11, 2016 – Distributed ledger technology, more commonly known as “blockchain,” recently made headlines when the World Economic Forum (WEF) predicted it will “fundamentally alter the way financial institutions do business around the world” and will soon become “the beating heart” of the finance industry.(1) Monica Eaton-Cardone, an IT executive with payment industry and financial technology (FinTech) expertise, agrees that blockchain will be a game-changer for the global financial system but emphasizes that it can also offer substantial advantages for merchants and consumers, as well.
Blockchain is a shared-database technology known to most as the underpinning of bitcoin digital currency. It uses linked databases to continuously and simultaneously update digital ledgers that are shared and signed off by network members, eliminating the need for a central authority to certify ownership and clear transactions. Proponents believe it could “cut billions of dollars in hidden costs in the financial system by eliminating inefficiencies and the need for trade insurance.”(2) With global payments revenues projected to rise from $1.8 trillion in 2014 to $2.3 trillion in 2019 and digital payments expected to account for 70% of commerce within the next few years, FinTech companies are leveraging blockchain to deliver “faster, cheaper and easier-to-use services” and creating “extreme disruption” in the industry.(3)
“Though bitcoin may have limited penetration in today’s eCommerce system, blockchain is gaining attention and traction on a global scale,” observed Eaton-Cardone, who currently serves as Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Global Risk Technologies and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Chargebacks911. “It not only has the potential to reduce banks’ operating costs, but many believe it can make financial services more secure and accessible. When fully implemented, it will offer numerous benefits for banks, merchants and consumers alike.”
A recent WEF report highlighted six key value drivers for blockchain in the financial services industry, asserting that it can simplify operations, improve regulatory efficiency, minimize counterparty risk, reduce clearing and settlement time, improve liquidity and minimize fraud.(4) Eaton-Cardone believes these advantages, coupled with competitive new FinTech service offerings, will also create boons for consumers and merchants.
“Reduced costs and increased competition in the financial services industry should ultimately drive down the fees consumers are charged for financial transactions such as international payments and stock trading,” noted Eaton-Cardone. “Likewise, fast and inexpensive international fund transfers will make it easier for eCommerce merchants to expand their business globally.”
She points out that many merchants are eagerly waiting to see if blockchain-enabled transactions will offer the same benefits as bitcoin. With instant verification of funds and immediate transfer and settlement, blockchain technology can help merchants minimize false declines and fraudulent transactions. Furthermore, bitcoin transactions are non-reversible and therefore not subject to chargebacks, eliminating the risk of friendly fraud.(5) However, it remains to be seen whether new blockchain services developed by banks will allow chargebacks.
“Blockchain is undoubtedly one of the most exciting new developments in the payments industry, and it stands to offer many benefits in the long run,” said Eaton-Cardone. However, she cautions that there are still a number of hurdles to overcome, such as regulatory uncertainty, the need for standardization and a legal framework, and security concerns following two high-profile hacks this summer that nabbed roughly $120 million in assets.(2) “Once the legal, regulatory and security issues are worked out, blockchain is poised to revolutionize digital payments. I’ll be among those watching its progress with interest.”
Eaton-Cardone welcomes the opportunity to discuss digital payments, FinTech developments and fraud prevention at industry conferences and events. For more information on her upcoming speaking engagements, visit http://monicaec.com.
About Monica Eaton-Cardone:
Monica Eaton-Cardone is an accomplished entrepreneur, speaker, author and industry thought leader who is internationally recognized for her expertise in risk management, chargeback mitigation, fraud prevention and merchant education. Eaton-Cardone found her calling as an entrepreneur when she sold her first business at the age of 19. She later became an eCommerce merchant; and after grappling with chargebacks and fraud, she took it upon herself to develop a comprehensive, robust solution that combined agile technologies and human insights. Today, Eaton-Cardone’s innovations are helping thousands of organizations achieve sustainable growth, and she continues to pioneer loss-prevention best practices as CIO of Global Risk Technologies and COO of Chargebacks911. Eaton-Cardone is a champion of women in IT and business leadership, and aims to inspire the next generation of young innovators through her nonprofit organization, Get Paid for Grades. Get to know her at www.monicaec.com.
1. World Economic Forum. “Blockchain Will Become ‘Beating Heart’ of the Global Financial System”; press release issued August 12, 2016. https://www.weforum.org/press/2016/08/blockchain-will-become-beating-heart-of-the-global-financial-system/
2. Stafford, Philip. “Banks Struggle to Make Blockchain Fast and Secure”; Financial Times; September 26, 2016. ft.com/content/e0a32840-4f68-11e6-8172-e39ecd3b86fc
3. Arnold, Martin. “Financial Industry Faces Extreme Disruption in Payments”; Financial Times; September 26, 2016. ft.com/content/1b82a0e6-4f67-11e6-8172-e39ecd3b86fc
4. World Economic Forum. The Future of Financial Infrastructure; August 2016. www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_The_future_of_financial_infrastructure.pdf
5. Chargebacks911. “Bitcoin: What Merhcants Need to Know”; February 24, 2016. chargebacks911.com/bitcoin-what-merchants-need-to-know/
Karla Jo Helms
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