Joint ABIE France/FINSIA Webinar on Blockchain in the Finance Industry: How far will it go? – 11 May 2021

With the Australian blockchain platform Lygon recently recording the first digital banking guarantee on its platform, there was a breaking news element to the second joint webinar organised by ABIE France and the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA) on the 11th May 2021.  

The webinar entitled “Blockchain in the Finance Industry: How far will it go?”, brought together three leading experts from Australia and France: Caroline Malcolm, ABIE France Board member and Senior Advisor on Blockchain & Tax at the OECD, Michael Bacina, Partner at Piper Alderman, and Mathew Keeley, CEO at GROW Inc.

Over  400 participants were welcomed by ABIE France President Bernard Tabary, who introduced the moderator Dr Dimitrios Salampasis, Director of the Master of Financial Technologies and Lecturer on FinTech Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Swinburne Business School, Swinburne University of Technology.

Caroline Malcolm commenced with an introduction to blockchain technology, which she described as a shared database working on a shared compute platform and one type of distributed ledger technology (DLT). “Blockchain offers two things in particular”, she explained. “One, it offers new trusted and efficient ways to work together and two, it provides exclusive control of digital assets i.e the internet of value”. Examples of blockchain use cases in the financial sector include digital assets, payments, decentralised finance and insurance.

For Michael Bacina, “speed is the biggest factor” with blockchain technology. Piper Alderman has recently become the first law firm in Australia to execute a blockchain based payment guarantee in a commercial contract. To make this happen, Piper Alderman teamed up with Lygon, a fintech consortium created by ANZ bank, Westpac, CBA, IBM and Scentre Group and powered by the IBM Blockchain Platform. The platform facilitates the digitisation of bank guarantees, eliminating costly paper trails and reducing fraud and errors.

Another successful fintech company, Grow Inc., offers automated end-to-end wealth administration services, underpinned by DLT. Grow Inc. has become the first company in the world to use blockchain as an administration platform, enabling financial institutions as Mathew Keeley explained to “look at legacy problems and how to solve them”. The company has also recently been appointed as administrator of Vanguard’s proposed new superannuation business.  

Some of the challenges to blockchain include a lack of education about it and pervasive myths that digital currencies are good for money laundering and criminals. Blockchain has also been criticised for an exponential increase in energy usage and in particular Bitcoin, the largest blockchain application in the world to date. But while bitcoin may be enormously energy-intensive, approximately 75% of the energy used in bitcoin mining is estimated to come from renewable resources – and more than half of the energy used for bitcoin comes from the Sichuan province in China which produces hydropower during its wet season.

During the ensuing lively Q&A, numerous questions were posed, reflecting the high level of interest in the various aspects of the topic which were discussed. Responding to the final question on whether to expect more companies to uptake blockchain technology, Mathew’s swift answer was “yes”.

In his closing remarks, Bernard Tabary warmly thanked the excellent speakers and the organisers of the stimulating webinar. He particularly thanked FINSIA for partnering with ABIE again this year and looked forward to continuing the collaboration.

To view the recording of the webinar, please contact