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SBP studying `blockchain’ technology solution model

SBP studying `blockchain’ technology solution model

KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is currently studying ‘blockchain’ technology solution model being adopted by central and commercial banks at globe to keep electronic financial transactions protected from cyber crimes.

This was stated by the SBP’s Executive Director-Banking Supervision Group, Inayat Hussain, here on Wednesday.

He was of the view that central banks of some countries have adopted the latest technology and experimenting new things these days. “We may adopt the system (blockchain) to facilitate trades. Banks may approach the State Bank of Pakistan and tell if they want to use the new technology anytime,” he said.

Hussain said this while speaking at the 15th Innovative Diebold Nixdorf ebanking 2017 conference organized by Total Communications in collaboration with Pakistan Software Houses Association (PASHA) on Wednesday, the organizers of the event said in a statement.

It pointed out that the SBP is about to revive forums like CIOs to timely detect cyber crimes and threats and address them on time. He said the central bank has last updated payment system rules in October 2016. “Since then we have provided permission to three entities to play their role as PSO/PSPs (Payment System Operators and Service Providers)”, Hussain remarked.

Initially banks were slow towards adopting new technology, but now they are doing it as per international practices, he said. Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom, Member, Syed Ali

Raza Shah, maintained that the government would provide mobile internet services to every nook and corner by December 2018.

“There will be left not a single place without mobile broadband by end of 2018. Pakistan will be made 100% internet provided country,” he said.

“The government has built infrastructure for IT and Telecom services and addressed the supply side issues nationwide. Now the private sector is needed to create demand for the services,” he said.

Mobile broadband connectivity would play a critical role in boosting e-banking and e-commerce activities in the country, he said. PASHA, President, Jehan Ara, said the slow pace of adoption of mobile banking by people and reduction in number active mobile bank accountholders gave a sense that either there was something wrong with the product (m-wallet) or banks were not adopting the right people as their clients for the wallet.

Diebold Nixdorf, Middle East and Africa, MD, Habib Hanna said that this is the era of consumerism and banks need to think as how they can remain relevant.

Millennial may be tech savvy, but many banking customers may not use to with new technologies. Banks should design products for both type of customers. “It (banking) is about consumers journey, not about financial transaction journey,” he said.

Soneri Bank Limited, President and CEO, Mohammad Aftab Manzoor, urged bankers to understand need of customer and use of technology accordingly, as “technology should be for customers and not customers for technology.”

Giesecke & Devrient, Head of Distributor Management MEA, Currency Management Solutions, Nader Kashgari, said regulators and central banks at globe are neutral on modes; digital and conventional financial transactions.

He said demand for cash is increasing by up to 8.5% per annum in developed economies. “85% financial transactions are done in cash worldwide. In our region, this is 98%,” he said.

National Bank of Pakistan’s Mudassir Khan said 90% of the digital transactions are done for clearing utility bills and domestic remittances in Pakistan.

The one-day conference also held three panel discussions on the topics; Changing Landscape of Banking- Predictions for 2018, Third Party Service Management for Operational Efficiency in Financial Institutions and Information Security Threats and Measures in Banking.