IEEE Blockchain Podcast Series: Episode 3


Philipp SandnerA Conversation with Dr. Philipp Sandner
Frankfurt School Blockchain Center (FSBC), Frankfurt School of Finance & Management

Listen to Episode 3 (MP3, 52 MB)


Part of the IEEE Blockchain Podcast Series


Episode Transcript:

Brian Walker: Welcome to the IEEE Blockchain Podcast series, an IEEE Digital Studio production. This new blockchain series entitled "Research Notes in Blockchain" is hosted by Quinn DuPont, Assistant Professor at the University College Dublin School of Business, and the author of "Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains." Professor DuPont is joined by Professor Dr. Philipp Sandner, Head of the Frankfurt School Blockchain Center at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. Dr. Sandner's research focuses on the economics of cryptocurrencies and blockchains. His broader research interests also include business finance and accounting from entrepreneurship to venture capital.

Quinn DuPont: So Dr. Sandner, if-- Let's start with Central Bank Digital Currencies. In recent months, we've seen that CBDCs have been unveiled, and specifically in China, in a number of pilot cities. And at this point, I think there's more questions than there are answers about what China calls the Digital Currency Electronic Payment System or DCEP, but appears to use some form of cryptographically secure blockchain, however, it seems to be in a centralized fashion and it permits offline transactions using Bluetooth. So rather than focus on the technical specs, which I think are still largely unknown, I thought it might be useful to discuss Libra 2.0, which you've identified as Facebook's perhaps competitor in the space. So, if you could maybe start with a little bit of a description of what Libra 1.0 and 2.0 are and specifically I'd love to hear any thoughts on how Libra might be, to use Mark Zuckerberg's words, "extending America's financial leadership," and how that relates to China and the U.S.

Philipp Sandner: Okay, perfect. Yeah, thank you very much for having me. That's a good chance to explain multiple topics in the area of CBDC or digital currencies to you or the audience and therefore maybe indeed I will give a little bit of a very introduction where we stand. So CBDCs are on the table now since 4 years; yeah, that's basically the timeframe where central banks have investigated them, but we have to say here very clearly that investigating first of all needs analyzing. So central banks have analyzed them, they have written studies, they have done prototypes here and there, but there is not much development on the side of getting these systems in real life. Of course, there are a couple of smaller central banks in primarily China who are really pushing these topics of getting CBDCs to life, to real life systems, and here I think China is at this point of time leading the world. Apparently, their system is now live in a test mode. This means that first transactions are being done in a couple of cities such that even a couple of employees, for example, are receiving parts of their salary already via this digital form of the Chinese currency. This indicates that the system is live for test purposes and real transactions, real money is being done to employers, for example, or employees. And with this, China is at the forefront I would say so, in terms of large-scale systems being ready to be launched in broad scale to the market. And the second largest project at this point of time I would say is the Facebook initiated project, Libra. Libra has been announced last year in summer 2019 and at that time, framed the Libra coin as a basket currency. Yeah, so basically, one coin for the world mixed up and backed by national currencies, for example, the U.S. dollar, the pound, the Euro, the Singaporean dollar and so on. And with this, Libra has gotten a huge rejection by governments, public authorities and central banks, probably more than they have expected. And based on them, it has been a little bit calm in Q4 2019 and now in April, this year, 2020, they have let's call it renovated their concept such that this basket currency is still there but more important, they have now also proposed single currency tokens on top of the Libra platform. And therefore, Libra is not just a currency anymore; yes, it is, but only to a minor degree, but Libra is now changing the role and Libra can be more seen as a payment infrastructure for the world such that on this payment structure you can deploy potentially the Euro, the U.S. dollar, and any kind of currency on top of this payment rails, on top of this payment infrastructure. And therefore, this is a very promising concept because it's mighty currency and here we can see that now governments are not really positive of course but at least the high degree of negativity according to Libra and their backer Facebook has diminished to some degree, so it's a more solid discussion and Facebook apparently wants to launch in Q4 this year. This has been the implication that if they launch, they would have to have at least one real currency put into a token running on their network, otherwise, it's not really a launch, right. So they are quite dynamic in what they are delivering, and we know so far that they are applying for a license in Switzerland and a license in the U.K., yeah. So, most probably that's the countries where they are starting, so it's smaller countries of the world, it's not the European Union with the ECB and it's not the U.S. with the Fed, it's smaller countries where they are trying to get the license and then deploy the local currency with a couple of license entities with others. So this way, I now have explained that the Chinese approach, which is the farthest developed one so far, and I also have explained Libra and maybe two more words about what other central banks are doing. The ECB, for example, in Europe, they have explored the topic. They have written a couple of papers. They are doing early-stage prototypes, but they are at least 5 or 6 years behind China, probably more 7 years behind. And then you have the Fed in the U.S. There haven't been too much rumors of what they are doing, but we know from history that the U.S. can quickly change technology if they really want something, so they can be extremely dynamic. So, we can expect that the U.S. might be maybe 3 years or 4 years behind China. That's basically what's the level of central banks; and now the last remark as an introductory point is this, and it's very, very important. We do not necessarily need the central bank to take action. That's very important because a central bank is providing let's call it the ultimate payment structure. But for industry usage, say machines connecting to a payment network such that, for example, an autonomous car can do accounting in Euro and can do payment in Euro, for such an industry use case, you do not necessarily need to have the central bank to act. It's also okay that you have private commercial banks creating a so-called digital currency. In Germany, there is the topic called digital program of the Euro. That's a topic which is now really on the rise. The Federal Ministry of Finance is caring about it. The German Central Bank is caring about it. And it' climbing up the agenda. So therefore, not necessarily the central bank needs to act overnight because it's a large-scale project, we can acknowledge that it's a large-scale project and therefore it takes a couple of years. But in case the industry is demanding a digital program of a currency, like the Euro or another currency, then this can also be done by commercial banks who are issuing the currency on their DLT network.

Quinn DuPont: So I want to pick up on this topic of this distinction between central bank issued and privately issued programmable money. So, in a very useful report that you recently published, you identified Libra, just to take that example, as a privately issued money. And you contrasted that with at the top level, at the very least, central bank issued programmable monies. I wonder if you could tell me a little bit more about this typology, where it comes from and how you see it being used and how it helps us understand this complex situation.

Philipp Sandner: Mm-hmm. So first of all, let's turn a little bit to the area of economics. In economics, this is not too new because in economics you used since decades have, for example, central bank issued money that's basically money which is issued from central banks to commercial banks. Yeah, but we as human beings or maybe people run an organization or a company, say a retail company, these companies, they are not directly interacting with the central bank, they are interacting with a commercial bank. So, in case I am opening my—online banking account, on my cellphone, for example, or in case I go to the local subsidiary of a German bank, for example, then I would act-- interact with a commercial bank and then I would interact in the currency issued by this commercial bank. So, in case I'm doing payment for my rent, in case I'm doing a payment with EFI pay, for example, or in case I use PayPal and all other companies, then I'm not using central bank issued money but rather I use commercial bank money. Therefore, this is not new because already now we have currencies-- Let's take the Euro as an example. You have the Euro issued on behalf of central banks. That's done for large scale commercial banks. And you have the commercial banks such as local banks and online banks, they are issuing the Euro for me as an end customer. So it's a two-tier system. That's not really new. And the question now is in case we talk about a digital program of a Euro, the question is where do we use DLT, a blockchain technology, to issue money? Do we use it on behalf of the central bank towards commercial banks? Or do we use it on behalf of commercial banks to target and issue the Euro for me as a retailer, for maybe you as a company, or for you as a retailer and so on? And therefore, this is not really new, this distinction, and therefore privately issued money is already there since decades; in fact, it's such that basically if human beings and organizations are doing transactions, they are more or less 99 percent typically using privately issued money, that's again PayPal, commercial banks, that's EFI Pay, Google Pay, credit cards and all these things, yeah. Therefore, it's the question is now where exactly do you install and create the DLT system to run the blockchain on top of it?

Quinn DuPont: Right. I think this is a very important distinction. People often have that feeling that oh, they hear that the central bank as it were mints money; but of course, that's not how it really works. So, let's drill into that a little further. One thing that's potentially new is that central banks are getting into the or potentially getting into the let's call it retail space of issuing money. Do you think that's something that is going to realistically happen? Is this happening in China? How do you feel about this?

Philipp Sandner: Yeah. That's an interesting question. So maybe from what terms are currently being used, it's as follows. Typically, people distinguish between so-called wholesale CBDC, that's again, the Central Bank issued Digital Currency that's called wholesale CBDC. And typically, the other word is so-called retail CBDC. That's basically a CBDC which should be used by end customers, human beings, organizations, industrial corporations, retailers and so on. So, and typically, the wholesale CBDC, that's the very, very large-scale project. This is not going overnight. The retail digital Euro or the retail CBDC can be implemented on a faster pace probably. And therefore, the question is now would we as human beings interact directly with the CBDC? The question now is going towards the retail CBDC and that's basically the right word, but this again has multiple forms on how it can be implemented, yeah. So, if I'm using the digital Euro, the question now has the digital Euro in my bank account been issued by a commercial bank or has it been issued by the central bank? Both would theoretically be possible, but it's very likely and there's things happening in China that's this two-tier system which we are having in place now remains. This indicates that or this represents the following fact. That you have the central bank issuing money to the commercial banks and the commercial banks, they are issuing money then to me, as the end customer. That's the two-tier system. And here, you see in China that the Chinese customers are not directly interacting with the central bank, they are directly interacting with commercial banks and the commercial banks are in the background connected to central banks.

Quinn DuPont: That's a great explanation. Let's back up a little bit and talk about some of the opportunities that CBDCs offer. The first is what are the, as it were, economic or you know, innovative features of CBDCs? We've heard about micropayments. Are there other things you can do with CBDCs or just programmable money in general?

Philipp Sandner: Yeah, exactly. So let's talk about the benefits. So why are we doing this. You know, why are we interested? Why are startups working on this? Why am I working on this? Why are you asking these questions? Why are the governments exploring this and so on? So there needs to be some benefits. And here, I would now not really mention the CBDC on behalf of the central bank, I would rather have to digital money in mind. And here, there are a couple of benefits which I can quickly outline. So first of all, you can have cross-border transactions in say Euro throughout the entire world within a couple of seconds, yeah. So, I as Philipp, sent money to a friend in Argentina and the money is being sent away right now. And one second later, one second later, the money arrives in Buenos Aires in Argentina. Now this is not possible now, like an end-to-end transaction across the entire globe the same speed as you would send a WhatsApp or an email through the entire world, but here you're not sending a WhatsApp message but rather money. This is not possible in this one speed-- one second speed, yeah. So cross-border transactions at high speed with a higher efficiency and at the same time lower transaction cost, that's the first benefit. Then the second benefit is that you can automate payment processes. That's basically in the blockchain speech, you would call it smart contract. This means that you can have conditional payments representing payment processes where it's not just about transferring money from A to B as soon as possible, but rather you would like to send money around based on specific conditions. So right now, in our world, we're not just transfer payments from A to B right away; but very often, especially when we consume products and services, then we are having, yeah, payment processes of complex nature in place. For example, an escrow account or a recurring payment for your rent of your apartment, for example, or leasing constructions, factoring constructions and all these things, they are payments which are executed once specific conditions are being met. Right? This is called program of the money, and in the blockchain language, you would call it smart contract or smart contracts. This means that you are programming money and the money flows from A to B once specific conditions are met. For example, interest payments happening always at the first of a specific month. And here right now, in legacy systems, you have to have quite complex systems in place such that this works. In a block chain and DLT world, the system is there and you can implement smart contracts on top of them and you can implement a leasing contract or a factor in contract with a couple of lines of code without needing, like, dozens of APIs and dozens of interconnected systems, yeah. It's much leaner to program money. That's the second benefit. The third benefit, they are there are in total they're coming I think 5 or 6 benefits. So, the third benefit would be the machine economy. In a couple of years, there will be 20 billion devices connected to the internet. Yeah, that's cameras, sensors, cars, machines, all kinds of things connected to the internet, 20 million. That's 3 times more than people on the planet. You know, that's really massive. That's the machine economy which is rising. And the share of these entities makes sense to be connected also to payment processes. So why would we need this? For example, take the autonomous car, the autonomous car is driving around autonomously, but also it should decide autonomously at some point of time, and in case it transports me as a human being, I need to pay the car but it's autonomous so there is no taxi driver anymore, so I need to transfer money from me to the car and if the car drives me to another city and there's a toll station, for example, then the car passes the toll station, the toll station of the future has not an employee anymore, so it's also a thing. And the car passing the toll station would transfer money from one machine, that's the car, to the other machine, that's the toll station, right. This is money, a machine-to-machine payment, which is also rising but at this point of time the importance is close to zero, but it's rising. And the likelihood is extremely high that a share of these 20 billion devices by 2025, that's in 5 years, will also make sense to be connected to payment networks such as the autonomous car, sensors collecting data, selling data as small business units and so on. So, and here you see that DLT networks are the best technology to connect hundreds of millions of devices efficiently without any intermediate API, IT solutions, service and so on. You directly connect a thing, a sensor to the DLT blockchain network. Yeah, that's really massive, but companies are just now these days exploring the possibilities of such future business models. It's not there yet, but companies like Bosch, for example, the IOT company, they are now equipping their sensors with the software such that in the future you can basically install a DLT network on the sensor even though the sensor might have been sold this year. So this, it's on the way, but it takes a little bit more time. Now the fourth benefit would be what I typically called integration of delivery and payment. This means that right now when we are consuming a service, then we have the payment, which is happening, for example, on the credit card. And we are consuming a service, say transport via car sharing car, that's basically happening in a different IT silo, right. Our security is riding-- trading. I purchase a stock, then money flows in one IT system. You know, if it's the bank. And the stock is being sent to me in another IT system that's the custody companies that's exchange companies and all these companies, they are then transferring the stock to me. But it's different IT systems. They need to be reconciled and here are errors occurring; it's inefficient and it takes some time. And even if I'm purchasing a stock right now, then we're bargaining a price and I feel that the stock is directly booked into my online brokerage account, right, one second afterwards. But until the stock has physically arrived with my account, it typically takes one or two or three days, right. And here, DLT can have a massive impact because you then have one DLT network. You have the Euro on top of this network, and you have the stock on the same network and if you are now purchasing a stock, then this trading takes place on one of the same networks so you do not need to reconcile IT systems because it's one integrated system with money on top of it and with stocks on top of it. So atomic swaps, that's basically trading, what takes place here, it happens in real time. And settlement does not take a final finality of the transaction doesn't take 1, 2, or 3 days, it takes 1 or 2 seconds, yeah. That's really massive and it will bring down transaction cost. And therefore, you see here that the core benefits why we should care about DLT networks is primarily in segments which are on the grow, -- which are growing, and which are just happening in the future. Say the machine economy is not really here yet; it's emerging, but it's in the future, but it will be important for Europe and also for other countries. Then the same is true for payment automation, which is related to the machine economy, for example. Cross-border payments make extremely much sense. If you pay outside Euro; so sending money not within Europe, but sending the Euro to another country, for example, in real time, yeah, to your relatives in another country, to people working in another country in a globalized world, there it makes extremely much sense. So the clear benefits of DLT, it's not something I as an individual directly observe, yeah, because for me as an individual, not too much changes. But for companies, industrial corporations, people who are exporting stuff, who are importing things, who are transferring money to employees outside boundaries for global corporations and then the looming machine economy, that's basically the areas where the benefits are really, really real. And with China, we have a special situation because apparently, it feels like China would like to raise their own currency to a more important status in the world economy. Right now, the U.S. Dollar is the world currency. In case I tell you the Bitcoin price, then I would denote it in U.S. Dollar, right? I would not denote it in Euro and not in Swiss franc, I would denote it in U.S. Dollar. So the U.S. Dollar is somehow the prime currency of the world. And I feel that China might be interested in also elevating their-- the importance of their currency to a higher level. And I also would speculate that they are using DLT technology to basically improve and accelerate this process. For example, if you have Chinese tourists coming to Europe, then potentially, retailers and restaurants in Europe could potentially be connected to Chinese payment systems such that Chinese tourists can spend their money here in Germany but maybe with terminals connected somehow directly or indirectly to the Chinese payment system of the digital currency. And therefore, for those countries who would like to make their currency worldwide important, it can be an important aspect to care about the key technology to really speed up this process, yeah, in case this is desired. Yeah. And there, you see here, it's not easy to explain the benefits. The benefits are mostly appearing for companies, machine economy, as I said, not for the individuals and therefore, I think that's also a reason why at this point of time the topic of the digital program of the Euro is still a niche product and a niche discussion; it's not very broad yet.

Quinn DuPont: Mm-hmm. What I'm hearing is it's going to be faster; it's going to be more efficient, but it's also going to be, well, privacy preserving or another way of looking at that is potentially somewhat obfuscated. And so this introduces rather immediately the question of regulation. We're familiar with anti-money laundering and know your customer regulations, but I'm wondering how, for instance, that the EU might be dealing with this or how the United States might be dealing with this. Do you have any insight there?

Philipp Sandner: I don't have any insights, but I can express to you my opinion. I think, you know, blockchain technology, it's just a neutral technology. You can do good things with the technology and you can do bad things with the technology. You can use this technology to monitor every person on earth in case they are connected; but you can also use the technology to monitor what machines are doing, yeah. So I don't want to be monitored as a human being. I don't want to be rated with whatever I'm doing. But maybe it makes sense if artificial intelligence is increasing that we are using this technology to monitor what machines are doing. And the same is true for governments. You have governments who have values such as privacy, for example, that's quite important in Europe. Therefore, this technology needs to comply with these values. And actually, you can program the digital program of the Euro [such that it is private, yeah. There are technologies already being developed such that transactions are only transparent to the regulator in case they are happening at a specific value and above, like, above a specific threshold. Below this threshold, these payment transactions could potentially be entirely private, not to be recognized by anybody out and not even the regulator. You can technologically guarantee this. But these technologies are currently being developed and therefore they always need to be reconciled with the values of what is important for a specific government. But it's in my mind, it's not true that blockchain is always about transparency. We know Bitcoin and we know Ethereum and these approaches are created in a way that we can inspect all transactions even though we do not know to whom they are going and from whom they are coming. And therefore, we think that blockchain technology is always perfectly related with transparency. But you can also construct DLT systems such that privacy of transactions is technologically being guaranteed.

Quinn DuPont: Mm-hmm. One of the features we haven't really touched on here of programmable money is the idea that you can create a stablecoin. So I believe this comes out of the challenges that, for instance, Bitcoin has had over the years of price volatility. In more recent years, with the, you know, advent of Libra and a number of other projects that are trying to figure out how to reduce this price volatility, they've hatched upon a couple of different ways that a stablecoin can be designed. The most obvious one is just a one-to-one fiat backed digital token; but there's also non-collateralized versions that use algorithmic controls to manage supply; and then there's collateralized approaches like Libra. I'm just wondering if you could tell me a little bit more about how one creates a stablecoin and what some of the pros and cons are.

Philipp Sandner: Yeah. That is a very, very good question. So, let's quickly roll back how this all emerged. So, in the beginning, there was Bitcoin and then a couple of other cryptocurrencies emerged and the ICO craze happened, and this was happening at exchanges where people traded into these crypto assets and out of them, right. Actually, I think that Bitcoin and Ethereum are amazing technologies. They will stay with us. But many of the other 3,000 or 4,000 cryptocurrencies will probably fade away. And then people also of course, they speculated a lot. They traded at the exchanges. And sometimes, they've wanted to simply keep stability of their value overnight or they would like to withdraw their investment to a market neutral position and then by history, the only goal was to withdraw the Bitcoin and basically exchange it back to the legacy Euro or the legacy U.S. Dollar. You know, like, via your standard bank account, in and out, that's an extremely tedious process. Then banks stopped the transactions because they feared money laundry and so on. And this was the point in time, a couple of years ago, when the exchanges said, "So let's do something with stablecoins. Let's package the U.S. Dollar and create this U.S. Dollar on top of a DLT network. Let's create this U.S. Dollar on a DLT network. The project I'm referring to here is called Tether, which is at this point of time the largest stablecoin. And this resided in the possibility such that market participants investing in cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and so on, that they could take a market neutral position overnight or over a couple of weeks by simply selling their Bitcoin, storing their money on a stable neutral asset which is called the U.S. Dollar on a blockchain system, and then purchase Bitcoin again when they feel. And then these people would not have to exchange the Bitcoin back into the legacy U.S. Dollar or the legacy Euro, but could stay in the U.S. Dollar in a token form on a blockchain basis without these forth and back transactions, just for efficiency reasons. This was the realm of the stablecoins. And the largest stablecoin right now is the Project Tether that's created such that you have deposited U.S. Dollars on a bank account. It's audited but this auditing is being suspicious, to be honest. And in case there are 10 Euro on the bank account, then the company says, "Okay, we are now creating 10 tokens." We stabilize the prices at the exchanges and then we can say that this token is the U.S. Dollar. One token equals one U.S. Dollar and this works apparently well. Of course, in times of crises and market turmoil, then the price fluctuates plus/minus 2, 3 percent, around the 1.00 because it's difficult to keep the price stable. But largely, it works very well. And based on this movement, you have inspiration coming from this towards privately issued currencies; you have inspiration coming from to the CBDC world; and you also have inspiration going to the MakerDAO movement with their stablecoin called DAI, that's also investing blockchain. Fascinating because that's basically more or less coupled or pegged to the U.S. Dollar, but there is no bank involved, yeah. So, anybody can get these stablecoins called DAI in case they are securitizing their cryptocurrencies, for example, Ether, within the network and then they get DAI based on this securitized Ethereum, yeah, so to explain this very quickly. And here you see that with the MakerDAO ecosystem that's not CBDCs, but in an entire differently designed ecosystem, you also have stablecoin emerging which is at this point of time tied to the U.S. Dollar, but this pegging could also be changed in the future potentially. This ecosystem is extremely small, so therefore very often it's not really taken seriously, but it's growing very quickly and it's enormously innovative. It's very dynamic. And by definition, it's dynamic, yeah, because companies, smart contracts to startups out there, they're interacting with each other regardless where they are sitting on the world or regardless where the employees are sitting. So, you have companies from Spain, from the U.S., from elsewhere and all together, it works because you are just plugging together smart contracts and therefore it's an extremely fascinating ecosystem. Right now it has a capitalization of I think $1 billion U.S. Dollar that seems much, but in comparison too other areas of the financial markets, that's of course relatively small.

Quinn DuPont: Mm-hmm. And so how does this compare, these approaches, how do they compare to what we imagine the Libra 2.0 is going to be? How does Libra approach this problem?

Philipp Sandner: Yeah. Libra is fascinating because Libra wants to be a payment platform, as I said. On top of this entire pyramid in the Libra ecosystem, you have this basket of currency. The basket of currency is made of single currencies and the single currencies are one by one being plucked on top of the Libra platform. Potentially, I could then pay in Euro, for example, my pizza, in case I'm going to a restaurant. And in case I need to pay, then I pay with showing the-- with scanning a QR code and then Euro on top of Libra is transferred to my wallet to the wallet of the restaurant, yeah. That's for example, the one-use case. But much more interesting is the topic of financial inclusion, which we so far did not tackle because we should not forget that according to estimations out there, there are 1.7 billion people on the planet-- that's really a large scale of the world's population-- who do not have access to professional payment solutions. Yeah. That's people who are living in countries with high inflation; that's people who are living in banks where the regime is corrupt such that no banks are really working nicely, that people who cannot really store money overnight, especially if they have to move to another country, for example, it's all these stories. Hundreds of billions-- hundreds of millions people. And Libra, apparently, tries to tackle exactly these 1.7 billion people to try to encounter the problem of financial inclusion there. So concerning your question, what is Libra doing here, Libra tries to tackle the market of these 1.7 billion people because that's what the business literature says. It's a so-called "blue ocean." There is not much competition there. Of course, there is payment by cellphones and so on, but and generally, that's an untapped market. And here, Facebook can really be of a large-scale value because Facebook is installed hundreds of millions times with people's cellphones and basically if Facebook is trying to push Libra by implementing the service in their apps, Instagram, WhatsApp and the Facebook Messenger, they can basically provide a formidable placement for this future platform called Libra, which is then happening in the background, right. And here, Libra is fascinating because they can yield an overnight adoption of their cryptocurrency system, of their payment rails infrastructure. There is Bitcoin, Ethereum and so on. They are now out there since 11 years in the case of Bitcoin and still the adoption is growing, yes, that's true, but it's still at a very, very low absolute number. And here, like, I could really overtake any other kind of approach because Facebook has so much connected devices. And last remark here, the narrative of Libra tackling these 1.7 partly or entirely financially excluded people on the world, that's written out in documents and it would be great if this is true, because then it would really help the world; but maybe it's also just a PR thing, yeah, saying that they are going in this direction, then it's not true or-- We have to observe this. Of course, there are concerns with privacy and data protection and stuff. We know this. But in generally, the Libra project can really be fascinating in case they are holding what they are promising.

Brian Walker: Thank you for listening to our interview with Dr. Sandner. To learn more about the IEEE Blockchain Initiative, please visit our web portal at