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Alternative Market Briefing

Money managers debate blockchain at CAIS

Friday, February 09, 2018

Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York:

Are bitcoin and blockchain the harbingers of financial revolution or financial fraud? Panelists at the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit (CAIS) were heavily divided. Morgan Creek CIO Mark Yusko kicked off the Summit with a 30-minute presentation on digital assets including bitcoin and its underlying distributed ledger technology. "I'm seriously thinking about how to re-orient my business around this stuff," he told a packed audience. "It's no surprise that the most vocal critics of bitcoin are the people being disrupted by it."

In Yusko's view, current financial systems and fiat currencies were inevitable targets for disruption. There is too little trust in the banking system and people that live under despotic governments have an obvious demand to protect their assets in a way that isn't easily controlled by the state. To an audience of money managers and allocators, Yusko made the crypto-bull case - digital currencies are only going to grow. The decentralized nature of blockchain technology is fairer and allows for independent verification of all sorts of transactions that can and should be digitized.

But not everyone was convinced that the technology is ready for prime time. Many panelists agreed that blockchain is likely here to stay, but a significant amount of governance and digitization work will be needed before it can be viable for financial services. A consensus seemed to be forming around a closed, ......................

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