EXCLUSIVE: Crypto Contagion Infects Fintech — But It's Apples And Oranges, Symbiont CEO Says

Zinger Key Points
  • Deloitte's Roy Ben Hur presides over a panel of blockchain experts, each one offering advice to financial service firms.
  • Gone are the days of the "mysticism behind this magic technology."
EXCLUSIVE: Crypto Contagion Infects Fintech — But It's Apples And Oranges, Symbiont CEO Says

Blockchain, the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin BTC/USD, can propel a traditional financial services firm into the next frontier of fintech.

And yet, it's highly complicated and extremely scrutinized thanks to the current drama surrounding certain bad actors (i.e., Luna and FTX).

"The scrutiny of the contagion of what has gone wrong in the crypto world ends up bleeding over into us trying to use fintech — even though it's apples and oranges,” Symbiont CEO Mark Smith told the crowd Thursday at the 2022 Benzinga Global Fintech Deal Day event.

See Also: EXCLUSIVE - Wall Street Still Likes Crypto Even After The FTX Collapse

Blockchain pros are now looking at solving "hard problems," such as smart contracts, and alleviating issues that continue to entrench the financial markets, Smith explained. Gone are the days of the "mysticism behind this magic technology."

Smith appeared on stage for the panel "Blockchain Technologies For Supporting Traditional Finance," alongside Justin Chapman, global head of digital assets and financial markets for Northern Trust, and Milena Kohlhofer, director of blockchain for U.S. Bank.

And to those traditional financial services firms who might be feeling a bit timid about exploring the space, moderator Roy Ben Hur of Deloitte asked each guest to offer a bit of advice.

"You need to get support from the top of your organization," Chapman said, citing the importance of "understanding and education first." Without the whole organization supporting you, projects can stall or fail to launch altogether.

Smith advised blockchain pros to "understand the problem they're trying to solve and make sure the solution is appropriate."

"As Justin said — blockchain doesn't solve everything," Smith noted, adding that a lot of the "failed projects" came because blockchain probably shouldn't have been applied in the first place.

For Kohlhofer, it was "all about implementation."

"I think we tested enough and I know the clients we worked with have also tested a lot," she said. "Pick the most impactful project to move forward with, and speak closely with regulators early on to get approval ... starting that process early on will really help to push real projects into production."

CLICK HERE for video from the event, or watch below:

Image: From Left - Roy Ben Hur; Milena Kohlhofer; Mark Smith; Justin Chapman (photo by Joseph Parks for Benzinga)

Posted In: Benzinga Global Fintech Deal DayBlockchaindeloitteMark SmithMilena Kohlhofernorthern trustRoy Ben HurSymbiontU.S. BankCryptocurrencyFintechNewsEventsTop StoriesAfter-Hours CenterMarketsTech