Dr. Sujata Seshadrinathan is the Director of IT and Process at Basiz Fund Services. She has more than 16 years of experience in the IT/ITES industry and graduated from the SP Jain School of Global Management with a PhD in Business Administration. A Dean’s List Merit Scholarship was given in recognition of her thesis, Determinants of Adoption of Blockchain Technology for Accounting Applications. She has two patents and is constantly expanding her knowledge in the development of high-end intellectual properties. In conversation with Outlook, she explores the industry forecast and reveals how Basiz overcame the blockchain trilemma of security, scalability, and decentralisation.
Q. Recently a lot of international crypto firms announced bankruptcy, what is your outlook on the crash and how does this impact the long-term growth of the crypto industry?
Crypto in its current state is a purely speculative virtual asset class that lacks the necessary fundamentals required for pricing and valuation. The absence of regulatory compliance requirements adds to the unreliability of cryptos making them deeply problematic. The regulation of each of these problems will have a significant impact on the long-term growth prospects of cryptos.
As a currency, its management as a legal tender by the governments is inevitable. It is developing as an asset class, but there are still many reasons for caution, such as its volatility and the secrecy surrounding the precise nature of transactions. The much-praised ESG qualities of cryptos as a whole are also under scrutiny right now. Government and regulatory agencies will need to take control of the situation in order to address all of these difficulties. To bring cryptos into the appropriate legal and control framework, the rules will need to be changed or possibly completely rewritten to meet their unique requirements.
Q. Blockchain technology has been crucial in the fight against cybercrime, but there are other uses for blockchain technology in the finance industry outside of data security. What utility does the integration of blockchains in finance serve for Basiz?
At the core of blockchain technology is disintermediated, verified, single source information that is immutable. Disintermediation which essentially operates using a peer-to-peer network, rather than requiring a specific central organization or third-party mediator, is the most impactful feature of the technology. Blockchain integration essentially means distributed, verified and trusted recording of financial data that can be accessed by all stakeholders. Such data once recorded cannot be modified.
To the users and stakeholders this will mean data that does not need reconciliations or audits. Along with the elimination of third-party intermediaries these features bring along cost and process efficiencies that go beyond the realms of data security.
In terms of blockchain, Basiz is ahead of the curve thanks to the availability of the requisite expertise and talent pool of resources to manage both the technology and the accompanying funds. Modern technology has always been a priority for us as we develop new solutions. As a global fund administrator Basiz sees the use of blockchain in fund administration right from booking of trades to transaction confirmation and investor reporting.
Q. Recently, there has been a lot of talk about how decentralized finance could alter the existing financial architecture. What obstacles must be addressed if it is to revolutionize the industry, in your opinion?
Decentralization is a paradigm shift in more ways than one. For instance, financial information will be verified (as per relevant business rules) and exposed to all the participants/stakeholders in the network at the recording stage itself. This means the opportunity to window dress the information will not be available anymore.
So, while we are going to benefit hugely from process efficiency, speed and cost advantages, the same processes will have to be redefined to manage the changes that come along with it. For instance, doing away with a trusted third-party intermediary and the immutability of recorded data.
There are many other implications of disintermediation. As an example, in the future, depositors may be directly able to lend using a verification process of a borrower and banks will become a pure intermediary. To address this market, the roll out must reach a critical mass and transaction costs must be kept under control. The regulatory push for the ecosystem as a whole is crucial, too.
Q. How has Basiz managed to organize its Big Data in spite of the challenges created by the vast volume of data that is coming in?
We were the pioneers in using the standard database approaches in analyzing the big data on hand much before it gained popularity in the industry. Analysis of big data from blockchain-based data is now starting to develop as solutions like blockchain are starting to take shape and transactions are being implemented.
Think of the blockchain as a unique type of software connector that might serve as a decentralized replacement for the current centralized shared data storage. Faster retrieval is ensured by the labeling protocol on the blockchain network. With this protocol, Basiz has been effective in greatly reducing communication latency and ensuring a superior user experience in addition to the enhanced information transparency and traceability that blockchain fundamentally provides.