The institutional value-chain of tokenized securities
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Rajeev has been with HSBC since 2018. He has been instrumental in pioneering the digital assets strategy for HSBC’s Securities Services business, and has led efforts such as HSBC Digital Vault (which enables investors to access the digital records of their private placement investments), as well as the pilot tokenization of real world assets with the Singapore Stock Exchange. His work in developing capabilities over the last 5 years has helped establish HSBC as a leader among financial service providers in the digital assets ecosystem. He is engaged with clients and financial market infrastructure providers to create solutions for custody, issuance and asset servicing of digital assets, and tokenizing traditional assets. He believes in a future where all assets are programable assets, bringing a step change in efficiencies to the asset servicing ecosystem.
Prior to HSBC, Rajeev spent 10 years at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in various leadership positions in Global Markets Technology and Securities Operations transformation teams in Asia.
Seamus has extensive domain expertise in investment banking, wealth management, commodities and crypto markets that spans market structure, regulations and technology. He spent 20 years building and managing trading operations across all the global financial centres with JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Barclays and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
*Disclaimer: The accuracy of this transcript is not guaranteed. This is not investment advice, and any opinions expressed here are the sole opinions of the individuals, not of the institutions they represent.
[00:00:11] Seamus: Welcome to the 43rd episode of Metaco Talks. It’s a great pleasure to host for a second time Rajeev Tummala, Head of Digital & Data at Asia & MENA at HSBC Security Services. Rajeev has been with HSBC since 2018, and he has been instrumental in helping establish HSBC as a leader among financial service providers in the digital asset ecosystem. He’s engaged with clients and financial market infrastructure providers to create solutions for custody, issuance and asset servicing of digital assets and tokenizing traditional assets. He believes in a future where all assets are programmable assets, bridging a step change in efficiencies to the asset servicing ecosystem.
Rajeev, welcome back again to Metaco Talks.
[00:00:55] Rajeev: Thank you, Seamus. It’s wonderful to be back, I should say. A lot has happened in the last two years. Let’s have a conversation around what’s happened, what did we talk about two years back on, and what the future holds. Before I begin, I would like to wish everyone a fabulous 2024; a year full of happiness, peace, giving and growth.
[00:01:28] Seamus: That’s super. I think the last time we spoke was October 2021. That was one of our early Metaco Talks. You had some profound predictions that was a provocative statement, particularly from a bank, that everything will sit on chain at some point, all assets will sit on some form of ledger. Interestingly, two years later, we hear that almost as a mainstream thought now. As you say, things have changed a lot in the last two years.
But some things, though, haven’t changed. Tokenization still hasn’t taken off. It’s always been often a joke that it’s been the next year’s opportunity for the last five years. I’m going to pose it to you: when will this take off? When will tokenization be the thing that actually fulfils its promise?
[00:02:16] Rajeev: It’s important for us to reflect on what did we speak about in the October 2021 talk. We did speak about all assets would be represented as digital assets in future. Thankfully, we did not put a timeline in that conversation. We spoke about programmable assets and ledgers that are programmable or ledgers that enable programmable assets. Now that definitely has become mainstream. Right now everyone talks about programmable ledgers or unified programmable ledgers assets. Real world assets being programmable is also a mainstream thought. We got some things right.
When it comes to tokenization, and tokenization of either financial market securities or real-world assets, that definitely we have to say that while they are taking a larger share of mind and thought in this ecosystem, they have not taken off as much one would hope so.
I’d like to take a view of what I would call a platform shift and a paradigm shift. Platform shifts have got to more to do with enabling infrastructure on. One of the primary reasons I believe is that we did not see the enabling infrastructure take significant action adoption. That is probably the word. Without the adoption, you can’t have applications taking off. Blockchain or distributed ledger technology is both. It does require. It can be looked upon as a platform shift of how the financial market infrastructure runs. What platforms is financial market infrastructure running on? It is a platform shift. Then it also enables a paradigm shift of how you deliver, how you issue services on top of that infrastructure.
With more examples you can see that there could be one or two platform shifts that enable a big paradigm shift. What has happened here is we had both running in parallel in case of blockchain over the last eight years. Let’s take off in 2018; different applications that predict paradigm shifts take off, but then they don’t scale as much, because this is supporting infrastructure processes. Governance does not come along. Then while you transfer a bit there’s no scale.
But it proves an important point of the implications of coming paradigm shift. That’s been very interesting from my point of view, saying that, how does some of the activities that we perform today poised to change? What implications do we have? Why is it a step up?
The positive thing is it’s not theory. You actually see in practice for some applications, be it DeFi on public blockchains. They show you what is possible. Yes, the assets that we primarily we want to be participating are not yet there, but they show you what is possible. I do say that it is not taken off, but I would say that the platforms that would enable the adoption have not gone in.
The other thing, let’s take an example, I think we spoke about it before as well, cloud. Even cloud, when it comes to financial markets or financial services industry itself, they had to create a financial services industry specific version of cloud. There are domain specific infrastructures that would come in.
To speak at a slightly higher level, the platform shift would happen when you customize the infrastructure. Now in form of private or permissioned blockchains. or infrastructure that is currently being enabled by firms like Metaco that offer enterprise grade solutions but that is inside the firm or on their cloud, the adoption is sticking up. Look at the number of enterprise clients you have today, Seamus, versus where you were in 2021. The activity that is going, it tells you the direction of travel is gathering momentum. We always want to compare ourselves with the fastest growing thing in the marketplace. They’re all in direct to client space, they all acquire, like ChatGPT 100 million clients in a couple of weeks. It will not be of that nature because you’ve got to look at a couple of segments in the economy, healthcare, financial services are quite heavily regulated. Platform shifts do take time, and hence paradigm shifts will also follow through, but we’ve got to be patient.
[00:07:58] Seamus: You’ve touched a little bit on it, clearly the market to market the past two years, you can see that some of the other platforms emerging. But you’ve commented to me privately before that you see paradigm shifts in a number of phases. Could be more explicitly go through how you see those phases?
[00:08:13] Rajeev: There are two types of paradigm shifts that don’t have legacy governance processes or assets created from the activities either today or in the past, and something completely new takes off.
As an example, I believe that paradigm shifts happen in three phases. You’ve got to have infrastructure to transition in the old, or the current. Then that would give you ability to transform the way you do. You’re still doing the old way, but you transform the way you deliver services. First is transition, you transform; then only the paradigm shift comes through, which is to reimagine things, how you do.
If you imagine if you were a ride hailing company or a taxi company, and then the smartphone came through, your app never would have thought about how you order a cab today, which is via your mobile on demand. You still have an app, so you transition, you would have an app to book or you would have an app to call or text ‘my location is this’ then you would do a chat with someone on the other side of the infrastructure and they’d get a cab. You were not able to track the cab coming to you. That is transition for me.
Your infrastructure is a bit more convenient, then comes along, a bit of transformation, someone says, “Hey, I can show you where your cab is, in how many minutes it is coming through.” At some time you go to this on demand, even the price changes, search pricing and everything. That’s completely transformation. It’s three phases. You transition your old practices onto new infrastructure, you transform, and as you transform the incumbents that are sharp or the new entrants.
That’s the good thing about platform shifts, is they open up an opportunity for breakthrough to new entrants, and incumbents as well. It’s about now the curve, where you are on the adoption, etc. For some segments, again, financial services regulated, you will have to wait till the hype, the Gartner hype cycle, is there. During the steep phase, the incumbents probably are a little behind, and the new entrants are the ones that are going. But as the hype dies down and they go into this stability phase is where the incumbents start to gather momentum. Where post the hype phase is where I think you will have abundant of talent for you to work with. I think speculation in the hype phase establishes capacity for that particular technology.
All those things happen, and that is when I think paradigm shifts happen, because there’s enough capacity that was created due to the hype. Hypes do have a silver lining, I should say. Their speculation leads to capacity. Then that sets you up nicely for the paradigm shift. But you’ve got to be thinking through these frameworks to say, the value is established sometimes not at scale, and you need to look through that.
[00:12:07] Seamus: It’s funny you talk about the Gartner hype cycle. We often talk about a lot of good comes out it. You get that investment in building the infrastructure, that first phase. If we bring down that phasing to tokenization you think about infrastructure to support tokenization, clearly tokenization is more than just the issuance. I think I’ve heard you say these many times; more than mid term and transfer, there’s a whole ecosystem around it. Now we’ve seen a lot of firms such as HSBC and some of your peers, build up digital asset capabilities.
Is the baseline infrastructure there now so we can begin to think about scaling and managing the full life cycle of a tokenized asset?
[00:12:44] Rajeev: I would say that the baseline infrastructure that covers the entire life cycle, as you say, mid term transfer is the easiest part of the asset life cycle. Sometimes I think when we actually look at the entire life cycle, it holds us back. We just look at the amount of work that is to be done, and then inherently the large organization cost structures are not cheap. Someone will go out and calculate the investment required to completely transform. Again, sometimes we make our job pretty hard by looking at the cost of transformation or looking at the cost of re-imagination. We sometimes tend to overlook the transition phase. That’s where I think we have to begin with. For me, it is healthier to look at the transition stage, to have the minimum viable infrastructure in place and work with assets that you know. The challenge with distributed ledger technology was it suddenly created assets that large financial institutions would have not known to be working with.
A platform shift itself is hard. Getting a new platform, getting in the infrastructure to represent your traditional assets as programmable securities, that itself is challenging. Now to introduce a new asset class, or regulatory uncertainty to it; those things are additional challenges one has to go through.
But now we are clearly seeing everybody recognizes the potential of this particular technology and the efficiencies it can bring on. More importantly, it enables accessibility to assets. You don’t need to go out and create a new algorithmic asset, you can take the traditional asset, and owing to efficiencies and removal of overheads, you can begin to trade small tickets.
The part of the world I live in, I just call it “the growth”, is going to be there in low value, high volume businesses. 90% of new growth is going to come from there on. Traditionally, all of big institutions are used to be doing relatively high value tickets and low volume. New growth is in the other end of the spectrum. Technologies like distributed ledger technology actually remove the overhead of that.
The infrastructure is not yet there. We have seen significant upgrades to the infrastructure, but I don’t think it is at a place where you could call this infrastructure a commodity. It is still looked upon as a speciality infrastructure. Nobody baits an eyelid when we talk about a mobile app or the need to develop a mobile app, yet the whole of the smartphone ecosystem is less than 15 years old. It was 2007 when the first iPhone came through and that was the breakthrough. Look at the number of new businesses that have come through, because they were enabling infrastructure. Mobile succeeded because there was chip manufacturing that come through, battery technology came through, cloud came through, and all of them put together created maybe two or three platform shifts that enabled that huge paradigm shift.
We should not forget that was direct to consumer, and that’s been the hallmark of anything that has happened after 1990s. the new technologies that got adopted were direct to client. Blockchain also was the same thing; you had a huge wave of client adoptions, and now large institutions realize that these a whole segment of clients that are native digital, and they want instant settlements, instant payments, instant almost everything. Produce value as close as possible to the moment of demand. The distributed ledger technology is one of the enabling things.
It is coming through, the infrastructure that is required for completely supporting. The asset life cycle is being put together. One way to look at is, are there any software libraries on blockchain that fully support the asset life cycle, I just need to take a tweak? You and I know, no, they don’t exist today. Maybe it is an opportunity, but that’s a sign of missing infrastructure. I don’t need to be plumbing the gaps. Asset model is fully in the public domain. Everybody knows how a traditional asset behaves. But to move to transition, going back, I need infrastructure that models an existing asset class. Maybe the S&P 500 starts as instances of programmable securities on it. It’s not available yet. The settlement cycle should shrink, that should create the demand for transition infrastructure. It’ll come through. We are seeing markets moving to T+1, T0. A lot of these pressure points would mean that we’ll have to come to an enterprise provider like you and say, I need a new core banking ledger that is going to support all these features. The commercial opportunity will come through that, I think.
[00:18:37] Seamus: I’m going to pencil you in right now for another appearance two years from now, to see if mark to market this again. But speaking of the time that these things take to happen, we first started talking in 2019, you and I. It’s been a four-year journey with HSBC. I know internally you’ve been an evangelist within HSBC, one of the largest A5’s. I would describe it as, the aircraft carrier I’m sure is in many ways is the theme, you’ve been educating stakeholders, securing buy in that journey.
Given our audience is typically from your peer and other large organizations, is there any advice, any takeaways from your journey, how you can get this done? Because you finally achieved, HSBC is in this now.
[00:19:25] Rajeev: Yeah, we are in, we are traveling, we are on the path. But I think the way we have approached, it’s a platform shift for managing assets. I don’t think two or three years ago I was, maybe five years ago. The way we actually saw it, and we do have a large asset servicing business that helps us understand fundamental changes probably a little better. Because if you’re heavily front office focus, there is a lot of low latency activity out there and you think that what else is there out to outshine what our platform does?
Whereas if you have a large asset servicing business, you don’t just buy and sell the asset. You end up servicing its life cycle. Equities never expire, bonds are pretty long. Then you get to see a variance; it is the blessing of being in Asia, is not any market is the same as the other market. You always think that technology is required to harmonize.
One of my takeaways, in the very initial days my exposure was, I just looked at the ledger and said, “Hey, this is a new type of doing ledger technology. It’s a simple thing.” We had books as ledgers at some point in time. You go to an HSBC branch, there will be a picture of a ledger that they used when the branch started about 100, 120 years ago. Then databases came along, and after a while, the 70s and 80s, they became the source or the platform for creating ledgers. Then we ended up recording asset ownership, asset attributes on these databases. We went in from books. The transition was that you model your data model or database tables and everything on what was there in the physical books, that’s the transition. It came along neatly, I should say.
But when I saw the first potential programmable security, I just thought that today’s securities are some entries in a database. They just are not very intelligent.
We automate, but how we manage like asset life cycle is a lot of discrete, independent steps automated and then there is handover. But the asset itself does not manage its life cycle or it’s not a program. Then we didn’t have that infrastructure. When I saw the DLT, the only thing I said is this is a platform shift towards better ledgers and creating better asset formats. That definitely resonates. You can say natural progression, we have done these things in the past, this is not new. We need to say, how did we do the last time when we all moved to electronic registers? It is an ecosystem play; we need to be able to work with financial market infrastructure, we need to be able to work with clients.
I strongly believe that it will be a platform shift followed by a transition. The end clients may not Immediately see the benefits. If you’re investing in, you might not see the benefits. The immediate impact I thought would be on market infrastructure and participants in the market structure. But then crypto came along and it ran with that decentralization. Same technology used for different purposes. The core also was lent towards that particular aspect; it caught the public attention then it grew. Then suddenly from a platform shift conversation that was like, this would be a paradigm shift, but the assets were not there to support the paradigm shift. Two or three assets and then the hype cycle came through.
Now I think we are in the stabilization phase.
It’s funny, yesterday SEC did approve 11 ETFs. That world is coming back into the traditional finance and ETFs and everything else. I do hope that will influence, the technology will have influence on how we do our own operations and processes and what infrastructure we should be having.
Now this is coming towards the melding of the technology and process. There will be more exposure because of that.
[00:24:15] Seamus: Making the case that it’s a natural evolution.
[00:24:17] Rajeev: It’s a natural evolutionary process. Once you start to approach that as a platform shift, and that will take some more time because we are in a heavily regulated space, that adds to the pace. It’s slightly slower.
I’m still looking for a provider or a solution out there in the market that can replace thousands of desperate ledgers that we have in banks like ours. Maybe that is the UPL, unified programmable ledger, or some other form. That is the opportunity, I believe. Again, as you say, when we speak in 2 or 3 years’ time, we can look at, is that infrastructure available?
[00:25:05] Seamus: Yeah, true. Given that as you mentioned before, you’ve embarked on the path now, and you look in the market, in the ecosystem, there are certain issues that are always brought up, that there are no standards yet, there’s a lack of standards in the market and that’s inhibiting growth. Is that true? What’s your perspective on that?
[00:25:26] Rajeev: No, I think standards and adoption are two interesting aspects. Adoptions drives standards, I think infrastructure drives adoption.
For something to take on, I think you need to have what I would call the digital picks and shovels. And then typically everyone in the ecosystem does not make the digital picks and shovels. You go and acquire digital picks and shovels, and then we all go to mine. As they say, in a gold rush, if there’s a gold rush, you sell shovels.
We are in the digital economy, and we’d probably be looking at digital infrastructure. This is all interlinked. A blockchain infrastructure, I firmly believe that infrastructure based on blockchain principles, blockchain thinking, is one of the digital picks and shovels for the digital economies that will take off. I don’t think there is enough of them today for adopting by any enterprise or otherwise. From there comes adoption as more enterprises come through. Standards are primarily a function of adoption, as more people start to think.
The early adopters are the ones that think and form standards, and that makes it easier for later adopters to come in and participate. That’s how I see: picks and shovels, infrastructure, adoption. Given the lessons we have learned, early adopters will drive some standardization, which makes it easier for the late movers to easily adopted with low friction.
[00:27:16] Seamus: And it’s less effort on their part. It’s a very sensible explanation. Expanding a bit on other ecosystem questions, there’s the debate around public and private chains. In terms of TradFi adoption, we often hear TradFi regulators of TradFi often have concerns about public permissionless chains, over performance, potential resiliency. Of course, accountability when things go wrong, whose throat do they choke?
We’ve seen a lot of banks build private chain infrastructure, but by definition it is fragmented and it’s not necessarily been tested at scale. It’s mostly new technology. By definition, you’re creating silos again, so things like interoperability become a challenge. What are your views on this? How is this going to evolve? Where are we now and how do you think it will evolve over time?
[00:28:06] Rajeev: You’ve got to take a step back, do not assume that the private chains are the ones that are going to be there forever, and that banks are all always going to be on private permission chains or financial market infrastructure. You’ve got to look at when a new technology comes, you as a large regulated organization, how do you get comfort? How do you learn to use this? A by-product of that engagement and education is a permissioned blockchain.
As you get comfortable with the technology, the enterprise architects looking at it and saying, “This has to be incorporated into our architecture standards, everything else,” there is an organization learning curve that needs to be scaled, that you need to pass through. When I say organization learning curve, it’s not just the technologists. I do believe it is the risk stewards in the organization, the operations team, the product team, everybody. That is the organization’s learning curve. You have to take their people along. It is very similar to the journey that we have gone in our organization over the past three to four years.
Activity based on permission blockchains gets us comfortable around what the technology is, how does it work? Then you can easily understand by analogy how a public blockchain works without actually getting instances of public blockchain into your organization. It is a form of education and engagement, and constant engagement leads to probably a bit more trust as well with the technology, with the concepts. Not everybody is going to be a programmer writing smart contracts, but easily you will understand the implications of assets being programmable, smart contracts, servicing, and you are looking at this in a safe and secure environment. Your clients come in and participate, you have your other peers come in and participate. You’re demonstrating value that potentially can accrue.
Yes, that sometimes, as you correctly point out, it can be a digital island. You’ll have to go through additional governance processes to get people on, and you can only work with newly issued assets on this particular infrastructure, you have not yet thought through how to transition your entire infrastructure onto this transition, the assets. But that is a very essential step. I think they do a lot of service in terms of helping organizations coming to terms with this new technology, especially where there is a lot of regulatory ambiguity on public blockchains. That is also going away. That’s been the hallmark of 2023 and 2044, we speak about regulated public blockchains or open interoperable networks. In Singapore, layer one, GL one, the concept of global layer one was introduced in November.
I don’t think that comfort would have come to a lot of participants in the ecosystem without having their own experimentation, engagement, doing MVPs. Some private chains will scale. I absolutely have no doubt there will be a form. It’s like various kinds of infrastructure. You have public cloud, you have private cloud, you have hybrid. Same thing. You will have different forms of this infrastructure and different organizations will be comfortable engaging with different types of infrastructure.
As adoption goes, I do think that in order to address the fracturing liquidity, you will need to figure out, again, with adoption comes the need for standardization. You can’t have the same format of asset in all kinds of infrastructure, so you will need to figure out interoperability. If you look at it, interoperability is a fancy new term we float around, but I would say no two banks have the same core banking infrastructure. Even a single bank does not have the same core uniform banking infrastructure. We do interoperate. These systems do talk to each other. We use some messaging layer; Swift is a classic example.
I think sometimes we just think that everything that we do is there’s no playbook. There’s always a playbook. You’ve got to look at, how do you want to tweak it? Swift is the interoperable layer between many desperate core banking infrastructures.
As you get on to this new infrastructure, which hopefully it will be a programmable distributor ledger led core infrastructure, what it tells us is messaging need not be the way how you interoperate. You create protocols and there could be a better way of transferring assets, being interoperable, recognizing each other’s standards. Because everything is programmable. I do believe there’s better ways of achieving interoperability.
The other way is to think of public blockchains as that interoperability highway. You can do everything that you want on your private chain, and you interface with the public blockchains. On the other end, if there’s another permission chain that interfaces with the public blockchain, you have an interoperable layer in form of a utility that’s not controlled by anyone. The fact is we have to get comfortable with infrastructure that is not owned by anyone, that is truly distributed. That’s something that not all of us are yet comfortable with in the ecosystem. We understand what it is going on, but that’s primarily where the choke points are right now.
[00:34:22] Seamus: I think those are super points. To what degree do the regulators, when they provide these safe spaces for institutions, you mentioned Singapore, they’ve been quite proactive, Hong Kong as well and elsewhere, how important are those safe spaces, sandboxes, for that evaluation process to get the comfort with the future solutions?
[00:34:47] Rajeev: I think they give you a very safe space to adopt a new technology. It needs a safe space to prove, how do these scale? How should one also look at the activity that is being regulated and understand where the potential risks might be?
One thing that I do think is when you start to begin newer technologies, newer risks are introduced. There’s absolutely no doubt. Maybe you end up addressing some of the risks that are known in a much better way. Sandboxes are probably the place where you endeavour to figure out or to move the unknown into at least known unknown, or or it becomes known and then you plug the gap. But they do act as a safe space where you’re translating the unknown into something that you can work with.
The early movers there, I think we have to owe a lot to them because they are the ones that are, A, finding out, B, proposing a playbook, and getting them to a stage where these are addressed. More adoption actually leads to less friction for the later entrants. But I think earlier entrance can define the paradigm shift. That’s the opportunity they have. They have a say in how paradigms are shifted. How do you shape the paradigm shift that is coming along? I think there are advantages and disadvantages of going ahead or not going ahead.
[00:36:38] Seamus: Let’s shift the conversation a little bit. To think about requirements for tokenization, there’s the infrastructure side, but the infrastructure extends to how you settle, so the fiat lake or some sort of settlement. I think one of the killer successes in the crypto space has been Stablecoins. We’ve seen the market cap there grow tremendously. I think some of it depends on which report you look at, but settlements last year were anywhere from 6 to 11 trillion.
We can discuss the purpose. It may be for speculation in the West, it may be for a wallet in your phone in emerging markets, but it has been a very successful case. But when we look at banks, we don’t hear so much about the way that’s been shaped by fintechs, which would be the asset backed coins, it’s more around tokenized deposits, from your perspective how do you expect this as banks enter the space? How will they look at Stablecoins? Are CBDCs imminent? How do you view this landscape evolving?
[00:37:40] Rajeev: I think for this infrastructure to take off one of the things that we would need is I can put on the pure asset servicing layer, and then as long as the infrastructure has resiliency, recovery and we’re able to prove to regulators that I can convert all the assets that any bank or any institution works with into programmable assets, it’s a pure play platform shift. You’re not asked on whether you’re running on Microsoft cloud or Amazon or a bunch of things.
But for it to take off and also do the paradigm shift, it’s not a platform shift, you want to get into paradigm shift, you need a cache construct that is native to this.
I do think regulations are coming through. Now we have had two regulators coming through and saying, how does the regulatory framework work for Stablecoin issuers? That’s an important piece of the foundational layer we need for that. That’s coming through. Singapore during November, there were two or three Stablecoins that came through using that regulatory framework.
As these things get adopted, the CBDCs, a lot of us are interested in central bank digital currencies. But I think what will eventually take off after the regulatory frameworks that we are seeing stabilize and are allowed to launch, is probably the C doesn’t stand for central, but C stands for commercial. Commercial bank digital money I think will come through. Regulators are always having a view into the balance sheet of the banks. The regulated banks are always available. If they end up issuing these things, they are visible to the regulators. Every regulatory framework is also saying how will a new entity that is issuing these cash constructs will be regulated. It’s not a very enclosed space. It’s an open play, anyone can come in and issue.
I do think there will be incumbents who will reimagine, the reimagined phase will come through some of the cash services that are often offered, then that’s how this infrastructure will take off. The traditional incumbents would probably look at largely transition and transformation. Maybe the new incumbents, because they don’t have legacy, they don’t need to transition. They will probably focus on the transition, transformation and reimagination phases a bit more.
Ultimately, as these things stabilize, they’ll come back to the core banking question. It’ll be like, how do I use my balance sheet after the tech becomes a commodity. The efficiency usage of the balance sheet is then a bank’s strength.
[00:40:58] Seamus: Sadly we’re coming up on time. It’s been a super conversation; almost seems we should do this a lot more frequently than every two years.
But given that we have that two year marker, as we wrap up it’d be interesting to hear how your narrative has evolved over that journey, and some thoughts around how you see things going forward here. You’ve touched a lot of platforms and transitions and paradigm shifts, but some thoughts before we wrap up.
[00:41:32] Rajeev: Right now I’m thinking a lot about the fact that infrastructure will be available is a given. That’s what I’m thinking of. These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about the reimagined phase of this paradigm shift. I can’t just say whether it’ll be five years from now or seven or ten years from now, but it’s going to be an exciting phase, re-imagination.
I do think that there will be a large impact to productivity in the reimagination phase. One of my own reimagination applications is affordable diversity. I do think for the same dollar I’m investing, I will get more diversity of assets. My portfolio, the same amount of money will have a lot more diversification. Because again, going back to my earlier thoughts around this infrastructure will allow for a low value and high volume of tickets, I can probably invest $50 into a private equity fund, $50 into S&P 500, and $50 into something else that specializes in emerging digital assets. This also enables newer concepts, like NFTs, which probably are more brand marketing, customer loyalty things. That also gives a new economy business a better way of managing their client and customer relationships. The incumbents will also follow through.
It’s like being in probably the 2007 and 2011 and thinking of what will a smartphone create. Our journey might be slightly longer, the pace of change is higher, but I do believe owing to the constraints that we have, the infrastructure is being put together, it’s still early stages of adoption, but it’s a fascinating period of time we are setting ourselves up for. The reimagined phase is what excites me, but I am very cognizant of the fact that we also have to think. Today a lot of my thought is around the 800 trillion, how do they transition into this new infrastructure. That’s such a huge opportunity. That opportunity is what will power the transformation and the reimagined phase. But I think it is a huge commercial opportunity, just transitioning existing assets into this new infrastructure. That’s a big opportunity.
[00:44:16] Seamus: It’s an exciting vision. It’s been excellent to have you on here. looking forward to our next conversation in two years time, or before!
[00:44:25] Rajeev: Thank you, Seamus. Thank you very much.
[00:44:30] Seamus: Likewise. For our listeners and viewers, thanks everyone for joining and stay tuned for the recording and transcript of this super episode, which will be available on www.metaco.com. Thanks for joining. See you next time.