Building Governance: a View from the Trenches

The financial services sector has made strides in its use of blockchain technology in recent years. But having come a long way, the industry now faces the next big challenge on its journey: how to ensure that the projects it has built are sustainable in the long run. Key steps in achieving this include building robust governance and enabling network collaboration.

However, this type of governance and collaboration can sound like a daunting task to some, so how can it be done?

To provide guidance and help map out the way forward, R3 hosted a webinar alongside 101 Blockchains.

The webinar: “Building Governance and Network Collaboration”

The webinar brought together two leading global experts on governance and collaboration in blockchain environments: Alisa DiCaprio, Head of Trade and Supply Chain at R3, and Alexandre Barbosa, Head of Blockchain at the Brazilian stock exchange [B]3.

During the session, DiCaprio and Barbosa addressed issues such as the differences between running governance on a private or public network, what happens when blockchain crosses jurisdictional boundaries, and the challenges organizations currently face when implementing a governance strategy.

The challenge of introducing blockchain in an incumbent business

The webinar featured an in-depth look at the governance features of [B]3’s migration to blockchain. [B]3 is setting up a one-stop shop that adds value at every step of the functional and capital markets value chain, by offering infrastructure that integrates with market participants’ systems and supports their activities in various ways.

With this in mind, Barbosa discussed the challenges involved in moving the incumbent business forward to a blockchain network approach. “The first challenge, I would say, is how you handle and give information in order to make sure that all entities and all participants on the network have enough information to make sure that a transaction is valid,” he explained. “We have a lot of use cases, and there is always an issue around how to make the data flow. This is one of the main points that we have to consider.”

Changing power relationships in a consortium model

R3’s DiCaprio built on these insights by zeroing in on how blockchain changes the power relationships within a network, in turn affecting governance. “You can’t just kick a node off the system, because you don’t necessarily have power over them in a decentralized system like this,” she said. “Another feature that’s pretty unique is that blockchain networks are, to some extent, open. This plays to the consortium model. So the governance decisions are not taken by one actor, but by all of the actors together.”

The importance of data checks

Questions from the audience covered many issues—with the closing query focusing on whether blockchain changes the old adage of “garbage in, garbage forever”. [B]3’s Barbosa explained why this is not the case. “At the end of the day, we will create some extra steps to make sure the data and information is valid…and that there is no garbage in,” he said. “This is key, because you want to ensure your business is robust enough and is rolling 24/7.”

Discover more

There’s only room in this short post to scratch the surface of the rich insights provided, click here to view the full webinar and find out more.