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Exclusive Interview: Maryanne Morrow on Banks, Blockchain, and Libra Impact

Maryanne Morrow is the founder and CEO of 9th Gear Technologies – the only B2B institutional marketplace that enables same day Foreign Exchange (FX) transactions through on-demand payment liquidity.

Maryanne brings more than 20 years as a corporate veteran in the financial, marketing and advertising industries to her role as founder and CEO of 9th Gear, where she is responsible for leading corporate strategy, scaling the company and investor relations.


LR: Why banks must run both an ‘analog’ and a ‘digital’ business?

Maryanne: This concept is not new and experienced by both large and small banks [Michael Corbat, CEO of Citi discussed it at Fortune Brainstorm Finance conference in Montauk earlier this year]. What is interesting about this concept is that millennials don’t always want the digital and still expect analog banking.

LR: Where blockchain will be most beneficial and where it will not?

Maryanne: Blockchain is a shiny object these days; it’s a sexy buzz word. Blockchain for the sake of blockchain is NOT the proper route. If there is a business use case for the technology that takes advantage of the trestles immutability, then that’s where it should be deployed. Think of blockchain as an operating system for trust.

The back office of finance is a perfect place for it. The internet had a profound effect on the front of the house but never really hit the back office that is plagued with legacy systems and spaghetti junctions. In these circumstances, blockchain can eliminate the breaks, reconciliation errors and corrections, thereby significantly reducing costs.

Other areas that are ripe for disruption are supply chain management and anywhere there is an “escrow” type of arrangement.

LR: Let us know your opinion on the dual role of regulators as facilitators and impediments.

Maryanne: Regulators protect the consumer and are watchdogs for bad behavior. As technologists, we have a fundamental duty to ensure that we keep regulators aware of new technology and how it works. It is important to keep them in the conversation and not looked upon as a speed bump or impediment.

LR: Getting rid of cash – is this desire growing strong lately?

Maryanne: FIAT currency is not something that will be removed from the system any time soon. A sovereign government behind the monetary policy is still central to the way the world works. What is changing is the digital representation of value.

LR: What has been the impact of Libra on the industry so far?

Maryanne: At the moment, LIBRA is a nine page white paper. While 48 parties have signed LOIs to be included in the LIBRA Association, the project is still nascent. What is positive, is that the conversation around blockchain has moved from association with bitcoin to real enterprise solutions.

LR: Is Fed’s latest decision what the market’s been looking for?

Maryanne: This question could have pages of a response. Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference was confusing at best. There is still strong domestic data and we’ll need to watch the data going forward as an indicator of additional quantitative easing. While the FED is not a political organization, global growth and trade policy uncertainty that could underpin further movements.

To see the original article, see here.

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