ANX CTO: Bitcoin’s Scalability Issue is a ‘Red Herring’

During a talk at Finnovasia 2015, ANX CTO Hugh Madden said he believes concerns about the bitcoin blockchain’s ability to scale are a “red herring”.

AccessTimeIconDec 11, 2015 at 4:40 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:01 p.m. UTC
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During a talk at Finnovasia 2015 in Hong Kong this week, ANX CTO Hugh Madden told an audience of gathered FinTech professionals that he believes concerns about the bitcoin blockchain’s ability to scale are a "red herring".

The comments notably follow the two-day Scaling Bitcoin conference at which the open, public blockchain’s global development community came together to propose technical issues related to the bitcoin protocol.

Madden, who later appeared on a panel conversation centered on the technology’s growth in Asia, made the case at the event that despite the level of press time issue has received, lofty expectations for the bitcoin blockchain are the root of what he argues is a mischaracterization of its technical efficiencies.

Madden told the audience:

"It's a complete and utter red herring. Name any form of data transfer that is responsible for every data transfer in the world? There's good applications and there’s bad ones, but scalability is not a showstopper."

In part, Madden justified his belief by citing the fact that the majority of the experts in the burgeoning field have "never worked" in a financial company and are likely to continue to work on the bitcoin blockchain, a trend he believes is unlikely to change.

The CTO, who founded ANX in 2013 after two years working at HSBC, further suggested that the rise of blockchain is likely to mirror that of mobile financial technologies, which have also evolved without the financial industry.

“I look at the next generation and I see it as a tide. You’re not going to stop this tide. We’ve lost the last mile battle. This is how the next generation works,” he said, holding up his mobile smartphone to the audience.

In this light, he contends blockchain startups are more likely to become the next Googles and Facebooks than any bank.

Madden went on to say that he believes efforts like those by distributed ledger consortium R3 are being driven by a fear of missing out, but that such sentiments likely hide the fact that banks will be unable to compete against tech-savvy startups regardless of these efforts.

'Big' comparison

Elsewhere, Madden put forth the argument that the hype surrounding blockchain is comparable to that around big data, a comparison that comes at a time Gartner has indicated 75% of businesses say they will invest in that technology.

Madden supported his statement by referencing the impressive investment levels seen so far in the space over the course of 2015.

"The hype of blockchain this year is approaching big data," he said. "This year we've seen the biggest-ever investments in blockchain. NYSE is prototyping blockchain settlement. I got to pitch to MasterCard."

Building off his previous remarks, Madden also suggested that he believes professionals in the traditional investment industry are increasingly seeking to take advantage of employment opportunities in the blockchain sector because of this momentum.

He concluded:

"I believe there is a bigger brain drain going on in blockchain than there was with big data."

Image via Pete Rizzo for CoinDesk


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