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  • Digital assets will replace or rival fiat within 5-10 years, 76% of finance industry execs told a Deloitte survey.
  • Financial services firms must get on board with cryptocurrencies, digital assets and blockchain, or risk losing out to rivals, they believe.
  • Stablecoins and central bank digital currencies were identified as a potential focus for firms looking to benefit from the shift.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Most financial professionals expect digital assets will replace government-issued currencies within a decade, or at least present a solid alternative to them, a Deloitte survey has found.

Given that, financial services companies must get on board with cryptocurrencies, digital assets and blockchain, or risk losing ground to rivals as crypto shakes up the industry, the respondents said.

Among them, 76% said they believe that digital assets would be a strong alternative or replace fiat in the next five to 10 years, according to Deloitte's blockchain survey report published last week.

They expect to see a positive benefit to their businesses from a range of assets, such as stablecoins and central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs; algorithm-drived stablecoins; and enterprise-controlled coins.

The flow of funds into digital assets is increasing, as institutions and investors become more interested in them as a store of value, it noted. There has been huge growth in new business models around crypto, reflecting a shift in the financial industry. Companies are looking at how to change their traditional products to be ready for their customers' future needs, the Deloitte report's authors said.

"Participation in the age of digital assets is not an option, it is inevitable. Leaders are left only to decide how to use digital assets and the new global financial service infrastructure to their greatest advantage," they wrote.

Overall, 80% said the industry will see new revenue streams from digital assets and blockchain, with almost half identifying custody as the top opportunity. Others include new payment channels or types, and diversification of investment portfolios.

More than three-quarters agreed that if their company did not adopt blockchain and digital assets, it would miss out on a chance to get a jump on its competitors.

"Opportunities for real change in several areas of the global financial markets exist for those players that explore new ways to harness the power of blockchain technology and digital assets to reimagine their business models," Richard Walker, Deloitte's US financial-services industry blockchain leader, said in a statement.

That said, the professionals recognised there are stumbling blocks to the industry's transformation. Some 65% said a lack of crypto-facing financial infrastructure is the biggest obstacle in a switch to digital assets. Also highly flagged as barriers were the risks around cybersecurity, regulatory issues, and the need to safeguard privacy.

For its survey, Deloitte canvassed 1,280 senior executives in a range of industries, including financial services, in 10 locations: Brazil, China, UK, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, the US and United Arab Emirates. They were polled between March 24 and April 10 this year.

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