The Innovation We Will See in the Next 5 Years is Beyond Our Imagination

From the European Blockchain Convention we are honored to share our interview with Monica Singer, ConsenSys South Africa leader, about her journey and thoughts on the future of DLT.

ConsenSys, created in 2015 by Joseph Lubin enables developers, enterprises, and people worldwide to build next-generation applications, launch modern financial infrastructure, and access the decentralized web.

Visual of Monica Singer elaborated by EBC team


A story by
Marta G. Roqué

Monica Singer is a chartered accountant by profession, who over 20 years ago was asked to convert the South African financial markets from a paper-based to a digital market. She did so and in the process, created the Central Securities Depository in South Africa being the CEO for 18 consecutive years.

In 2017 she joined ConsenSys, the biggest blockchain company in the world where the vision and purpose were to bring “blockchain technology” to any industry in order to eliminate the pain points of the “legacy technology” using the internet of value.

What makes ConsenSys different from other software & consulting companies in the space?

ConsenSys was formed by the visionary Joseph Lubin after he was part of the team that launched Ethereum. Joseph bootstrapped the company. He allowed many developers to innovate in any product and idea that would use Ethereum as the internet of value platform. The most amazing people in the world joined the company. 

I am privileged to work with people from all over the world who believe this technology can prevent a financial crisis from occurring like the one many of us experienced in 2008.

“Passion is what fuels me to work towards helping clients transition into the new world”

If a company invests in blockchain technology today, will this put it in a better position than its competitors when it comes to data privacy and reducing overhead costs?

Blockchain technology is far superior in many instances to the legacy technology.
When the markets were moved from paper-based to digital it created several layers of intermediaries all using mainframes, siloed databases, and Swift messages for banking and financial instruments clearing and settlement.

Since the creation of the double-entry journal in the “Renaissance”, the need for reconciliations and audits has created friction, costs, delays, and many opportunities for fraud and corruption. Those who don’t embrace the new paradigm shift that is disruptive to the current reality, will find themselves replaced by a cheaper, faster and more reliable technology. Most importantly, where any user is empowered to increase its wealth without relying on trusted third parties.

The internet of value with its open-source codes and the collaboration of many developers from around the world in pursuit of a better future will stop at nothing to bring this idea to reality. Data privacy can be programmed into the solution to whatever level the user wants. 

Image via ConsenSys website

Any financial operation that has low transparency, limited accessibility, and limited traceability is vulnerable to disruption by blockchain applications. What are your thoughts on this?

I fully agree. The users will have the right to choose which products offer the best user experience at the best possible price and access. All it requires is access to the internet of value. 

As time progresses the user experience will become as easy as it is now to send an email. Blockchain technology is at its infancy, we cannot predict the level of innovation will implode. The speed of change is exponential as now all the information is available for ideas to flow and for people from all over the world to work together. 

There is also a competition which encourages all service providers to work on improving the technology. The Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Big Data and Internet of Things will all be used side by side with Blockchain technology. Financial inclusion of the 1.3 Billion people without access to financial products is ripe for service providers to go into this space and benefit the many that have been left behind.

“For the first time, we have the technology that ensures corruption can be reduced”

When you present blockchain technology to the governments demonstrating how they could eliminate corruption, what is their reaction?

I have been giving presentations on Blockchain 101 and the art of the possible to many government officials. The reaction is of disbelief that this technology will be able to bring transparency to government transactions, track and trace government contracts and even account for all the assets that are owned by the government. When I explain that if we apply this technology in the way that it is intended, taxes could be paid in real-time, many are eager to explore further.

The key challenge is how do you implement a change management process when corrupt officials are in the system. The risk lies in how they will try to undermine any change that will end their ability to benefit from the current system that allows them to benefit from corruption. It will take a very strong leader to decide to proceed. That is why we have seen some implementations by governments around the world but not many.

I am however encouraged to see that for example the World Bank and the IMF and other international organizations that grant financial assistance to governments, are investigating the use of blockchain technology to track where the funds go before they are given to a government for a project.
I worked for the World Bank and experienced the great challenge it faces in ensuring that the funds given, are used for the intended purpose. Blockchain is changing the world.

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Published June 8 2021, Barcelona