The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Christopher Giancarlo made some headlines on Wednesday when he said that blockchain could help regulators better oversee trading markets.
But rather than use the word 'blockchain,' Giancarlo opted for 'Distributed Ledger Technology' (DLT) instead, perhaps unintentionally providing a prime example of the findings of a new report from Forrester Research. According to their study, 'blockchain' has become over-hyped to an extent that companies are avoiding using the B-word altogether.
"It is no leap of the imagination to consider how automation could help reduce cost and bring efficiencies to trade matching, processing, and clearing and settlement. Indeed, when paired with systems inspired by DLT that standardize and distribute data to market actors – and even regulators – we begin to see a world where the majority of standard tasks are managed by machines," said Giancarlo, who used the word 'blockchain' just once in his 3,550-word address at the FinTech Week conference at Georgetown University Law School.
"We can also envision the day where rulebooks are digitized, compliance is increasingly automated or built into business operations through smart contracts, and regulatory reporting is satisfied through real-time DLT networks. The machines here at the CFTC would have the ability to communicate regulatory requirements and consume and analyze the data that comes in through such systems."
Forrester's report noted that blockchain can also carry negative “wild west connotations” of cryptocurrency, but also reached some positive conclusions.
"On the tools and services side, we’ll witness steady but cautious progress. 'Cautious' because DLT hasn’t proven to be a significant, reliable revenue stream for software and service providers, and 2019 won’t be any different," the report says.
But while the buzz around the word 'blockchain' may be waning, it is still far and away ahead of 'DLT.' A Google search for “blockchain” returns 160 million results, while “distributed ledger technology” gives only a little over one million. In fact, blockchain is still in such a strong place that since September of this year, the word 'blockchain' has surpassed 'cryptocurrency' for the number of Google searches.