Welcome to Forkast Forecasts 2021. In this series, leaders, innovators and visionaries in blockchain-related fields tell Forkast.News what they see as the most noteworthy developments for this industry in 2020 and their predictions for the year ahead.
Charles d’Haussy is ConsenSys’ Hong Kong-based director of strategic initiatives. ConsenSys is a global blockchain and digital assets company that creates decentralized applications, enterprise solutions and developer tools for blockchain ecosystems like Ethereum. Its product suite includes Infura, Quorum and MetaMask.
Earlier this year, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority selected ConsenSys as its partner to cooperate with the Bank of Thailand in the second phase of the Project Inthanon-LionRock on cross-border payments to create a central bank digital currency (CBDC). Aside from Hong Kong and Thailand, ConsenSys has also been tapped by other central banks to assist their CBDC projects, including France, Singapore and South Africa. ConsenSys has also produced a report reviewing the potential for CBDC adoption in Indonesia.
See related article: Hong Kong may be first global ‘sandbox’ for China’s DCEP digital yuan
Prior to joining ConsenSys, d’Haussy was the head of fintech at the Hong Kong government’s InvestHK organization. d’Haussy is the author of “Block Kong, 21 brilliant HK blockchain entrepreneurs,” a book about Hong Kong’s blockchain entrepreneurs.
Biggest developments in 2020
- Growth of decentralized finance (DeFi): “We’ve seen a blossom of DeFi initiatives, groups, and platforms. The big takeaway is, yes, this is a big experimentation. But what it means for the ecosystem overall is that there is a new wave, a new type of talent coming in. It’s not only the engineers in coding, but they are joined now by the engineers in finance.”
- Rise of CBDCs: “China’s CBDC was really creating some peer pressure here in the [Asia] region. In Hong Kong, they’re working even harder on their CBDC. The Bank of Thailand is too. There is also great work in Singapore with the MAS. ConsenSys is involved with the project in Australia as well. So CBDCs are really pushing forward and it’s a big shift in the industry. It really shows that there is institutional and regulatory adoption.”
See related article: China widens DCEP digital yuan tests, advancing global ambitions
Predictions for 2021
- Asia, the staking capital of the world: “Asia is the center of mining when it comes to Bitcoin or proof-of-work with Ethereum. And I think that the switch of the technology from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake will keep a strong leadership position with Asia. The staking capital of the world will definitely be in Asia, should it be China, Japan or somewhere else. With ETH2.0, Filecoin, Tezos, staking loves Asia.”
- CBDCs vs. stablecoins: “[CBDCs] have to compete with stablecoins, which are close to US$15 billion of assets represented globally. So, I believe the stablecoins will keep going. And the CBDCs will need to either change regulations to keep space for them, like we are seeing in China, or maybe the CBDCs will need to make sure they’ve got a very strong proposition to compete against a privately issued currency. And we will see Asian banks being the first banks to tokenize currencies, not only their national currency, but some others as well.”
See related article: 2021 may be the year of China’s DCEP and other digital currencies
- Crypto exchanges challenging traditional stock brokerages: “The original stockbrokers for classic equities will start to lose market shares against the crypto exchanges offering global equity exposure via digital assets or synthetic. A fair chunk of the new entrants in the trading business will be actually moving directly to crypto exchanges; and the old stock brokers will remain with their classic products, which are a commodity now, and some of them will start suffering.”
See related article: S&P Dow Jones is adding cryptocurrency indices in 2021
- Corporate borrowing on the markets against reputation: “I predict, also, the first borrowing on the markets against your reputation by a large company. Today, if you want to raise funds, you can issue a bond. You can issue all kinds of different mechanisms. But, I think you’re going to be able to start seeing companies raising in the crypto markets, funding the operations of their trading activities and their collateral will be their reputation.”