The boss of a fintech incubator, Himanshu Panwar, believes that traditional finance is on the verge of experiencing a blockchain boom. As the CEO of WebN Group, a fintech incubator backed by hedge fund billionaire Alan Howard, Panwar has firsthand experience in the industry and sees a shift in the adoption of blockchain technology.
One of the main barriers to adopting blockchain in institutional finance has been the regulatory and legal uncertainty surrounding digital assets. However, Panwar argues that these barriers are fading as numerous jurisdictions in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East have developed legal clarity and regulatory frameworks for digital assets. WebN Group has even had positive engagements with regulators in various jurisdictions and continues to monitor relevant developments.
WebN Group, which was established in November 2021 and received backing from Nomura’s crypto unit Laser Digital in July 2023, focuses on supporting fintech and Web3 companies. It has already incubated four projects, including cryptography research house Geometry, decentralized finance protocol Trufin, non-custodial staking provider Twinstake, and alternative markets access provider Libre.
Panwar believes that asset tokenization and blockchain-based infrastructure will disrupt financial markets. He anticipates significant efficiencies in the capital markets lifecycle through instant settlement, automation of the asset lifecycle, and compliance rules facilitated by blockchain technology.
London, in particular, has the potential to become a leader in blockchain and Web3, according to Panwar. With its history as a top global financial center and a strong talent pool in traditional finance, combined with the growing pool of talented Web3 researchers and engineers, London offers ideal conditions for building and scaling blockchain and Web3 businesses. Panwar also highlights the positive support from the government and a measured approach from regulators such as the Financial Conduct Authority.
The UK has seen a growing interest in blockchain technology. In September, an all-party parliamentary group on blockchain technologies was established to explore the potential of Web3 for the country’s businesses. UK lawmakers have even appeared in the metaverse to underscore the importance of blockchain and Web3 technologies.
Overall, the indications from Panwar and WebN Group suggest that traditional finance is on the cusp of a blockchain boom. With regulatory barriers fading, the industry can increasingly embrace the benefits of blockchain technology, leading to significant disruptions and efficiencies in financial markets. London, with its strong finance and talent ecosystem, is well-positioned to capitalize on this blockchain revolution.