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Jerry Cuomo, Vice President of Blockchain Technologies at IBM

Calling blockchain “a Renaissance” that can impact the world’s most fundamental business processes, Jerry Cuomo, Vice President of Blockchain Technologies at IBM, called upon the financial services industry to rally around an openly governed blockchain model and support an innovative atmosphere that includes development on the cloud.

During his presentation, “Putting Blockchain into Practice: New Ideas on How We Exchange Value,” Cuomo said that blockchain can help the industry reimagine the world’s most fundamental business processes. “I think this is what brings us to the table this morning,” he said. “I think we all believe in this re-invention.”

IBM and DTCC are founding members of the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project, a consortium promoting open source development for stakeholders looking to advance blockchain technology.

Demonstrating IBM’s commitment to advancing innovative technologies, Cuomo cited the IBM Blockchain project as an initiative to build a blockchain fabric technology using the tenants of the open-source movement. The code, Cuomo explained, can be configured with varying levels of permission — from being very open on one end of the continuum, to being more restrictive at the other. IBM continues to introduce new features such as the notion of chain code, which allows users to build smart contracts.


Unleash Innovation

Cuomo urged the audience to work with developers to experiment with smart contracts. A smart contract is a contract captured in software that automatically performs the obligations the parties agreed to. “It’s not just storing the assets on the shared ledger,” Cuomo said. “It’s also sharing the business logic, the business rules and the contract. This is something he thinks firms should want to have developers start working on immediately.”

One way to accelerate innovation, he said, is by utilizing the cloud. Through a system of optimized components in the cloud, users can deploy a blockchain network in seconds, allowing for more time to focus on smart contracts.


Cuomo closed his presentation with advice on how to adopt blockchain, noting the incremental steps the industry can take along the way before its “moonshot.”

He cited exchange ledgers as an example of an incremental step. Sharing assets between participants where the assets are informational and not necessarily financial, such as votes and dividend notifications.  He also suggested using ledgers for compliance, auditing and risk management to provide transparent access for auditors and regulators.