Representatives from each of the 'Big Four' global auditing firms were in attendance yesterday at New York's Fordham University to discuss blockchain in the capital markets.
There, members of Accenture, Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PWC joined blockchain startup ConsenSys to discuss the future of the industry and to provide career advice to students on the cusp of beginning their professional careers.
While no companies provided new insight into their public strategies, their off-the-cuff remarks shed light on how traditional financial institutions are becoming more comfortable with the increasingly nuanced technology.
When given an opportunity to address the crowd, Subhankar Sinha, a PwC fintech director, told students that the best way to get involved in the industry is to buy and hold bitcoin and ethereum.
Sinha told the crowd:
"Buy it with your own money. That will give you a tremendous dividend. You have to put yourself in uncomfortable situations. Have an open mindset.”
Elsewhere, there was discussion about how the industry might evolve.
An introduction from Fordham professor Dr Frank Hsu outlined the history of blockchain, drawing analogies to the TCP/IP protocol – an internet technology developed in 1983, but that did not gain mainstream adoption until 1995.
"Using that framework, blockchain, started in 2008, should gain mainstream status by 2020," he said.
Panelist Chris Broderson, Capital Markets researcher at Accenture, focused on healthcare, stating that cryptographic technology will allow medical records to be easily stored and transferred via blockchain applications while also reducing fraud.
Finally, panelist Vanessa Grellet, an ethereum executive and chair of Nexus Impact Investing Group, predicted that blockchain will disrupt the legal, financial services and remittance industries.
She ended with an appeal to students: "Follow your passion, doing something you love, stick with something for two to three years to build expertise and knowledge in your field."
And stressing the passion that those in the industry have for the technology, panelist and EY financial services manager Mike Maloney said:
"Nobody gets in Twitter fights over Swift and ACH."
Image by Michael del Castillo for CoinDesk