By: Rochelle Brocks-Smith, Director, FS Industry Solutions
Sanjay Mathew, Sr. Director, FS Industry Solutions
It’s one thing to be the master of your own destiny in your 20s. It’s quite another to tackle the challenge of redefining the future of financial services by mastering a cutting-edge technology like blockchain. Yet that is exactly what students and recent graduates from the Carolinas in partnership with leading banks (Bank of America, Wells Fargo, BB&T & Ally Bank), Oracle SIA partners and Aurablocks are doing as part of the Carolina Fintech Hub Generation Blockchain Challenge.
Why the Generation Blockchain Challenge?
The Carolina Fintech Hub, the sponsor of this blockchain event and an organization focused on accelerating the merging worlds of financial services and digital technology, hopes to inspire the next generation of leaders participating in this challenge with an opportunity to develop commercially viable and industry relevant blockchain projects.
The challenge for students is to “imagine a disruptive use for blockchain technology” and present a fully working blockchain solution. Entries could win participants one of three monetary prizes and a chance to see their ideas brought to fruition and possibly to impact the course of the industry.
The Challenge was officially launched on January 22, and 30 teams submitted their business cases before the February 25 deadline. On February 28, 10 teams—a total of 22 students—were selected to move forward into phase two, developing a proof of concept (POC).
Students can explore any blockchain topic they wish as long as they are solving real industry problems that have commercial relevance to the sponsor companies. Some of the final top 10 projects that were chosen for the challenge include projects like clinical trials record keeping, title and deed transfers, public health reporting, prescription fulfillment optimization, Know-Your-Customer/Anti-Money Laundering, trading of energy and oil, managing gift points and contract arbitration. The range of projects cover a great mix of blockchain project types from provenance tracking, marketplace disintermediation of middlemen, complex process optimization, records keeping and identity management. You might ask why bank mentors are interested in such a vast array of cross-industry projects. The answer lies in the realization that to learn and innovate one must explore and learn from other industries beyond their own. That is when real innovation ignites.
The top three winners will be announced on April 20th by a jury of industry experts. While close to 12 universities submitted applications for the challenge, the top 10 student teams that were selected to compete are representing the University of North Carolina/Charlotte and the North Carolina State University.
Teams take advantage of training on cutting-edge technology and real world experience
To help the 10 final teams speed development time and focus on their applications, they have been given access to the Oracle Digital Innovation Platform for Open Banking, along with extensive training from Oracle and Oracle implementation partner Aurablocks, who conducted blockchain training at Raleigh and Charlotte for over 150 students. The Oracle open banking platform is a cloud-based open API based solution that can help accelerate the implementation of open banking ecosystems, connecting legacy core banking platforms with a variety of Fintechs and industry partners enabling rapid digitization of legacy customer facing processes. Teams will be able to use a full API stack, pre-integrated with fintech solutions on Oracle’s open banking platform (e.g., example payments, machine learning, cognitive tools, biometrics, bank account connectivity).The platform also a mobile development platform, UI tools, chat bots, development tools, and open source tools support with built-in Oracle’s enterprise-grade blockchain platform Oracle Blockchain Cloud Services.
Access to this innovative platform will help the students marry their ideas with the latest Oracle and innovative fintech technology—technology that they would never have access to without the Generation Blockchain Challenge.
They will also have the help of industry leaders from CFH supporting organizations including Ally, BB&T, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Oracle & SIA partners who have volunteered to serve as team mentors and panel judges.
Blockchain: The art of the possible
Blockchain is a game changing technology that promises to revolutionize financial services. In a recent Roubini ThoughtLab report, “Wealth and Asset Management 2022: The Path to Digital Leadership,” 15 percent of industry leaders surveyed said they are currently using blockchain technology, and another 31 percent expect to be adopting it in the next five years—a 110 percent growth rate.
For the students involved in the challenge, this is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about blockchain technology and to help them develop their business and technical skills with the help of their mentors and access to Oracle’s advanced enterprise-grade blockchain cloud technology.
At Oracle we hope to support these students in their endeavors to become the successful entrepreneurs and develop commercial banking and non-banking applications which may be applicable to millions of customers across industries globally.
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