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Blockchain Consultant Expresses Frustration Over Inextricable Conflation of Crypto with Blockchain

In this podcast recorded on February 16th, 2024, Blockchain Journal editor-in-chief David Berlind interviews Christopher Concheri, founder of Concheri Consulting, during a Boston Blockchain Association event at the Suffolk University campus in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. During one of the event's panel discussions, Concheri expressed concern over the way blockchain is often inextricably conflated with cryptocurrency in a way that many people cannot appreciate the non-crypto applications of blockchain as an application platform.

Concheri sees the need to differentiate between the two technologies. He argues that while cryptocurrency may dominate headlines, blockchain's potential extends far beyond crypto, with broader applications in various industries. Concheri also discusses the challenges that result from this over-association, such as an ongoing hindrance to blockchain's widespread adoption.

Throughout the interview, Concheri shares insights into non-crypto applications of blockchain, including its role in enhancing security, enabling fractionalization of assets, and facilitating record-keeping for transactions. He offers examples of blockchain's ability to support lending platforms, emphasizing its potential to disrupt traditional approaches to finance.

(The full-text transcript appears below.)


By David Berlind

Published:February 29, 2024

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8 min read

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Full-text transcript of David Berlind's Interview with Christopher Conchari of Conchari Consulting

David Berlind: Today is February 16th, 2024. I'm David Berlind, and this is the Blockchain Journal podcast. I'm coming to you from Suffolk University, where the Boston Blockchain Association is running one of its events. Suffolk University is in the heart of Boston, and sitting with me is Christopher Conchari. He is with Conchari Consulting. Christopher, thanks very much for joining me here on the Blockchain Journal podcast.

Christopher Conchari: [It's a] pleasure to be here. Thank you.

Berlind: Yeah, so in one of the sessions that was taking place in the meeting room back there, you spoke up. You were sitting in the audience, and you said, "I think we got a problem here, guys, and that is Blockchain..." Well, look, I'm not going to put words in your mouth. Why don't you tell me what you thought the problem was?

Conchari: Well, I just feel like there's a big, you know, sort of parallel paths that are happening where technology is on one path and cryptocurrency is on another. But there's almost this sort of false connection between the two.
And, sure, crypto started, and blockchain was used with... for crypto, but the use cases for blockchain are much, much broader than just crypto. And, the false, sort of, connection to the currency, I think, really prohibits its adoption at its highest level, at its, sort of, peak level, you can imagine. There's a lot of perhaps opportunities to use that technology, but if folks are really thinking of blockchain as more of a crypto technology, they may just never really fully appreciate the opportunity there.

Berlind: Well, sure, if you're a chief executive of some company or a CIO and you're reading the headlines, all the headlines about blockchain are really about crypto and they're not very positive. And things are, you know, at complete log jam down in Washington, DC in terms of getting any laws passed or regulations. So yeah, of course, you know, blockchain must suck. It's all about crypto, right? crypto, right?

Conchari: That's ... I think, unfortunately, [that's] the perspective of a lot of folks. Of course, my experience – and I had spent some years over at, you know, companies like IBM – and the use of blockchain, you know, isn't in the crypto space per se. You know, when we're supporting financial services institutions, they're thinking of using blockchain to support transactions, perhaps, sure, but not crypto transactions. And so, I think the actual use of the technology is far broader than a lot of people perceive it to be. And I think [that] once the perception changes, I'd see there being a lot greater adoption of the technology.

Berlind: Yeah, maybe things will take off, "The train will leave the station," so to say. Well, you obviously know a thing or two about the different applications other than crypto, so what are some of your favorites?

Conchari: There's obviously, you know, situations where you've got... You've got to control the, you know, the owners of particular positions, and there's some, you know, trading happening, if you will, that's outside of, you know, the pure crypto trade. I think each company, you know, has opportunities to, sort of, think about using that technology for different use cases, but clearly, it seems to be well suited for that transactional play, if you will.

I'm currently working on supporting a crypto trading platform for lenders where,, you know, you've got crypto traders. Obviously, they're going to be, you know, the cryptocurrency is going to be on the blockchain – there's now going to be a lending platform, you know, to support some of those some of those traders, and...

Berlind: So is a lending platform using blockchain as, sort of, a more of a record-keeping infrastructure about what's happening, less about the actual crypto that's being traded?

Conchari: So in... Yeah, in this case, it's actually more about the adoption of the cryptocurrency and less about the adoption of the blockchain, to be fair. One of the paths I see, you know, in new business is really... Is related to crypto, and so that's, I guess, blossoming.

Berlind: Well, wait, but what's... what are the non-crypto applications? I mean, you're obviously in there, and you're saying, "Hey, look, we have to," kind of, "We have to separate the two." Because right now, you know... You hear this ... This cliché, you know: "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." Well, right now, they're throwing, you know, the bathwater out, and that's crypto. I mean, it's getting trashed everywhere in the headlines...

Conchari: Yeah.

Berlind: But the baby is actually blockchain. It's the platform that's underneath. So, what is it about blockchain that... What can it do for other applications besides crypto?

Conchari: I mean, the security is huge. Being able to sort of trace the, you know, the fractional positions and such. You know, I think like things like transfer agency is a really good place to, sort of, you know, bring blockchain to the fore...

Berlind: You talk about, like, a token... You mentioned fractionalization, transfer of agency. We're talking about maybe a tokenization of real-world assets. So, you kind of take something like a skyscraper, you know, and you tokenize the thing, and then you fractionalize it in a way that multiple people can – not only the owner of that building – can easily raise money against that asset.

Conchari: Yeah.

Berlind: So they get some liquidity out of that building. But then you also can reach a whole new market of investors because you fractionalized the token, and now somebody, [like] grandma, can walk up with $20 and buy a little chunk of that building. There was just no way to do that before. So that... Is that what you're talking about when you talk about fractionalization and the ability to transfer value between two parties?

Conchari: Yeah, that's one example of it. And I think others... I'm just thinking of, you know, some of the typical sort of transfer agency business that exists for mutual funds, and in some cases... Principally, mutual funds is what I was considering. But, you know, the ability to, you know, keep track of the owners and, you know, where these trades are going and to sort of, you know, support that.

It... I think that the challenge with some of the bigger ideas is the, you know, the existing infrastructure that you have. And so, the use of blockchain that I've seen is, you know, tends to be this more sort of, you know, company-specific need where they're needing to sort of keep track of, you know, the owners of positions, where they're needing to keep track of, you know, ad security. But it's not necessarily blowing up the entire infrastructure and systems as well. So I see, you know, this is an opportunity for a lot of fintech players as well, where you don't have established, you know, systems and processes in place.

Berlind: Okay, so you're here at a blockchain event in Boston. You're... You've got a business called Conchari Consulting.

Conchari: Yeah.

Berlind: What is it that you do?

Conchari: So, we support risk management, banks mostly. And [what] I was referring to earlier [was] a deal we just recently signed to support a lending institution, a lending platform. And it's an institutional platform to support institutional traders of crypto technology, but borrowers of... but to support the borrower and the lender in that platform. And we're going to be helping them create credit profiles of those investment funds that hold that crypto position. And we're going to, you know, do a credit assessment of sorts and, you know, cover off on the different sort of risk parameters of that fund. And the idea here is... In my earlier point, you know, this really is another... that's... this is another example of crypto, not blockchain so much, but the crypto space really taking a step forward in evolving. This is just all very new material, right? All new space. There's a lot of excitement. And I do think, going back to my earlier point, crypto will continue to work its way, and there's going to be a lot of passion about that. But I do think that you know, once people appreciate the technology behind it, that blockchain technology, people will start to think of other use cases and not simply just sort of gravitate to the traditional technology solutions.

Berlind: Sure.

All right. Well, Christopher Conchieri, the founder, I guess, of Conchari Consulting, doing some risk management work with blockchain. Thank you very much for joining us on the Blockchain Journal podcast.

Conchari: Thank you.

Berlind: So, we've been speaking, as you might imagine, with Christopher Conchari, and he's got a lot to say about the differences between crypto and blockchain and how they can be separated. I had asked an important question in there that I don't know got totally answered when it was asked, but if you want to find out the answer to that question, we do try to answer it on Blockchain Journal.

Come to blockchainjournal.com. We have a lot of editorial content there. We have a lot of videos like the one we just recorded here, and you can find the full-text transcript of them there. You can also find us on YouTube, and if you just want to listen to the audio of all these interviews, you can subscribe to our podcast on Spotify, Google's podcast[s], YouTube Music, Pandora, et cetera. We're on all of the different podcasting services. We just want to meet you where you are.

So, thanks very much for joining us, and we'll see you at the next video.

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