Event Review: Blockchain. What is it and what can it do for you? Wednesday 26th June.

Thank you to Fraser Walker for this review. Fraser is a Knowledge and Information Officer – Tax at Slaughter and May

Presentations were delivered by Dr Aeron Buchanan of the Web3 Foundation, Sally Connor of EY  and Simon Drane of Earlsferry Advisory. Each examined the capabilities and risks associated with blockchain technology. Attendees comprised information professionals and legal staff, all of whom had a diverse range of interest and knowledge in blockchain technology.

Dr Aeron Buchanan and Simon Drane highlighted how decentralised consensus platforms can take the role of trusted intermediary as part of the contractual web. Blockchain boosts transparency, allows decentralization, immutability and it can act as an automated intermediary in financial transactions.  For example, automatic payment for late delivery, flight delays, warranty registrations and signing for goods are advantageous functions.

Dr Aeron Buchanan Web3 Foundation speaking

The analyst from EY, Sally Connor, focused on the risks associated with blockchain technology. Questions were raised surrounding the legal ownership of data in a blockchain, control of a blockchain and whether a blockchain could meet regulatory compliance. Also, who is responsible for making sure that the data going into the blockchain is correct, reliable and accurate? If we are unable to modify or remove data, does this create a potential risk for multiple sectors? If the data entered into a blockchain is incorrect or inaccurate, what is the potential impact?

Sally Connor EY speaking

Simon Drane also explored the potential of blockchain to streamline daily tasks and processes, which could enable the workforce to focus on high level tasks. This raised interesting questions surrounding the future of the workforce, the skills required and how we can adapt to blockchain technology.  

Simon Drane, Earlsferry Advisory, speaking

Ultimately, there is significant potential for blockchain to streamline processes and improve efficiency. However, from the perspective of an information professional, there are questions surrounding confidentiality, the volume of data, the accuracy of data and immutability. Assurances are required over controls and the impact of blockchain on the current and future workforce. The impact of blockchain could be considerable and discussion surrounding adaptation, integration and the future of this technology should involve the information professional.

SLA Europe members may access a webinar of the evening through the Europe Community on Connect.

Our thanks to Slaughter and May for sponsoring and hosting, to our three great speakers and to the SLA Europe Events Committee for organising this stimulating evening.

Photos: Renee Mallon, Information Services Manager, Slaughter and May