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I keep reading how banks and accounting firms are researching into blockchain tech specifically smart contracts, but I don't quite understand how a company will apply them to current work. One way I can think of is securing documents via cloud storage micropayment.

Can anyone explain how these firms plan on using smart contracts?

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Banks will likely utilize smart contracts because they enable quick and safe transfers of funds from one area to another according to a predefined set of rules which opens up ALL kinds of opportunities in the space (there are far more than I can list on here, but if you know anything about trading you should be able to get an idea for how this opens things up). Especially in foreign trade this is an area of heavy concern and now great excitement that there is now a more than viable solution to many problems.

As for accounting, I'm not certain that they have exactly a use for contracts themselves, but they do most certainly have a use for blockchain technology...because every single input and output is automatically accounted for in the chain, all an accountant need do is run a quick query through a users accounts and see what they sent and to whom and make sure that it checks out. Matter of fact it actually gets rid of the nastier aspects of accounting that have become synonymous with money laundering.

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