Tech Trends and Alternative Assets: What’s Promising and What’s Problematic

February 5, 2018 7:56 pm |

At a recent gathering in New York City of institutional investors and fund managers, a straw poll was taken to gain insight into planned expenditures on data, technology, and analytics. A resounding 83 percent of attendees at the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit (CAIS)-hosted event said their firms would increase spending on these categories in 2018.

Such a heavy majority favoring greater outlays on tech might suggest that, in the world of alternative investing, anything digital and cutting-edge is top of mind. Fast-developing technology can’t be ignored, even though the net benefits can be difficult to foretell. With each apparent breakthrough that appears, the industry confronts a train-leaving-the-station scenario – even as common sense says you can’t board every train.

If there is indeed a dichotomy between tech that is must-have and tech that is must-scrutinize, you’ll find no clearer example of it than Blockchain and Bitcoin. Whether one defines a crypto-currency like Bitcoin as an actual currency or merely a tradable commodity, its entire existence is predicated on Blockchain’s platform, featuring a “distributed consensus system” for verifying transactions. Thus, a thing created to provide security and predictability forms the basis for something that is enigmatic and widely associated with speculation.