Noting that 2016 saw many financial services firms develop and test prototype blockchain technologies, founder Tim Lea said the new year would see clients begin to access them.

“In 2017, the financial services sector will begin releasing commercial pilots in areas where their commercial clients are feeling the greatest pain points, primarily global payments and international trade, Mr Lea said.

“Commercial clients understand the risks and relish the potential benefits new technology can bring through reduced cross-border payment times and reduced red tape.”

Consumer finance blockchain technology is more likely to come from smaller start-ups than well-established institutions such as banks, Mr Lea said, as smaller companies “are nimble enough to roll with the punches” associated with trialling unproven technologies.

Additionally, Mr Lea said blockchain’s “first killer app” is likely to emerge from the developing world due to their larger number of “pain points”.

“With the UN highlighting 20 per cent of the world’s population has no identity, and the Peruvian economist Hernando DeSoto estimating only one-third of the world’s population has defined title to their property, there are major, inherent infrastructural problems that can be addressed quickly and effectively by the blockchain,” he said.  

“While the blockchain might save banks $20 billion in infrastructure costs, the power to kickstart the developing world by giving a farmer their identity to buy and work their own land and to enjoy banking for the first time is very powerful.”