Babbling on about blockchain: A round-table discussion on what DLT can really offer.

Held on Tuesday, May 7, 2019


  • Igor Pejic (Blochckain Babel)

  • Izabella Kaminska (FT Alphaville)

  • Lex Sokolin (Autonomous Research)

  • Kathleen Tyson (Granularity)



As one or two of you may know, I remain to be convinced of the wonders of blockchain; it seems to me that “unpermissioned” ones are impractical (slow and expensive) and that “permissioned” ones aren’t that different from bog-standard centralised systems. But I have been wrong before (too often) – and I stand ready to be convinced/corrected.

Hence this round-table, which takes as its starting point publication of an important book on the subject entitled “Blockchain Babel: The cryptocraze and the challenge to business” (Kogan Page, 2019). Its author is Igor Pejic – which strikes me as a great name for a blockchain techie. His background is in banking and payments, latterly at BNP Paribas; before that he was a business journalist. His work on blockchain made him a finalist in the 2016 Bracken Bower Prize, awarded by McKinsey and the FT. His book (of which copies will be available) is described as “sobering, intelligent and audacious”, and a must-read “for anyone involved in future business developments if they don’t want to miss the blockchain revolution.” Oh well…

Fortunately, it won’t be (just) me responding. To kick off the discussion, we have three distinguished authorities:

  • Izabella Kaminska is now the Editor of FT Alphaville, which she joined in 2008 from CNBC. Many of you will remember that she was the original anchor of our “Fintech for Breakfast” series.

  • Lex Sokolin (another great name) defines himself as a “futurist and entrepreneur focused on the next generation of financial services”. Most recently, he set up AutonomousNEXT, the fintech practice for Autonomous Research. He is also on the board of AdvisorEngine, a digital wealth management platform, and was the founder of NestEggWealth, a roboadvisor.

  • Kathleen Tyson is the CEO of Granularity, working on regulatory authorization of a digital asset exchange. She is the co-author of “DVP on DLT: Linking cash and securities for delivery vs. payment settlement in distributed ledger arrangements.” She claims to have a “professional working knowledge” of Latin – though it is worth remembering that “non omnia possumus omnes”.

This is bound to be a lively discussion. If you would like to join it, please let us know by emailing or by calling the Centre on 0207 621 1056. As usual, there will be wine and sandwiches to dull the pain.

Sincerely yours,

Andrew Hilton