Tue. Mar 19th, 2019

Interview with Antony Lewis – Director of Research, Cash & CBDC Strategy at R3 | Humans of Blockchain

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Welcome to our comprehensive interview series – Humans of Blockchain  where we get the best in the business to answer diverse questions.

This series will clear the air of doubt in the blockchain space today by focusing on bringing more transparency to the readers.

Our guest, today, Antony Lewis, is the Director of Research, Cash & CBDC Strategy at R3 which is famously known for its Corda Platform

Antony is also an Author/ Blogger – Check out his blog – https://bitsonblocks.net/

Not wasting much time, let’s hear it out from Antony himself.



1. We would love to know you Antony and more about your Journey which led you into the Blockchain space? Also a small note about your Successful Blogging stint. 

I joined the bitcoin and blockchain industry in 2013 having worked as a foreign exchange trader at Barclays Capital and a banking technologist at Credit Suisse.  I joined itBit, Singapore’s first venture capital funded bitcoin exchange, having met the CEO at a conference.  I left after itBit raised more money and shifted its headquarters to New York.  I started writing bitsonblocks.net in order to force myself to think clearly and understand the various technologies.  I still do the same, using it to write my ideas down and be clear with my thinking. 


2. Can you tell us more about R3 Corda’s initiatives which support the growth of the Blockchain industry? 

R3 was originally formed as a Lab and Research Centre, funded by banks.  It was a safe space for banks to collaboratively explore blockchains, and we tested various blockchains with the banks – Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Wave and others.  While the banks liked some of the characteristics of those blockchains, for instance, the guarantees that the databases were effectively synchronized, and that there was multilaterally automated workflows, they didn’t like other characteristics: the energy-intensive mining, the pseudonymity, the low transaction throughput etc.  Corda was born to build a technology that would meet the needs and the high standards of regulated financial institutions.  Now it is used in many industries, not just finance.


3. What is the future outlook towards Enterprise Blockchains and the Blockchain Industry as a whole? (Permissioned vs Private)  

I think different blockchains will become the standard for different uses.  For regulated financial instruments, or security tokens as some people describe them, identity is important, so the choice of blockchain on which these tokens are recorded is important.  At R3 we are starting to see the crypto community warm up to using Corda for security tokens, driven by the underlying characteristics of the platform.  This is no longer just about permissionless unstoppable world computers and stateless money.  This is about the evolution of how we record the ownership of assets.  From paper to accounts to tokens.


4. Is Jurisdiction/ Regulation a supportive factor or a pulling one? 

Regulatory uncertainty is an interesting area.  It attracts innovation but also attracts unscrupulous types.  Regulatory clarity is coming and it is a pulling factor, especially in a world where regulatory arbitrage is real – people relocate businesses to where they can do the business that they want to do.


5. What would be the shortcomings (Blockchain) which hinder the growth of Enterprise Blockchains or the Industry according to your views? 

There were a number of “hard questions” related to blockchains that are being tacked by enterprise platforms – identity, interoperability, scalability, permissions, upgradeability, and so on.  Transaction throughput is a good example – recently Accenture and the DTCC tested Corda and found it could handle 6,300 trades per second.  This compares well with the 3 or 4 per second that Bitcoin’s public network can handle. 


6. What does 2019 hold for Enterprise Blockchains? In terms of development, implementation and adoption?

The ecosystem is growing up, and financial market infrastructure is being built for tokenized assets.  This year we will see securities tokens being recorded on Corda.


7. Any ending statements for the industry from your side Anthony? 

I’m often asked by students and professionals how they can get up to speed on blockchain.  I recently wrote a book “The Basics of Bitcoins and Blockchains” that is a hype-free introduction to all the necessary concepts.  It’s recommended on some university courses, and some professional services companies have bought them in bulk to help their staff get up to speed.  It’s available on Amazon on Kindle and hardback.


Any ending remarks from your side Antony?

If you’re on the fence deciding to jump in or not, come on in, the water’s warm and there’s lots of interesting work to be done!


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