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Blockchain expert: “It’s not going away”

At NEXT, Debbie Hoffman demystifies blockchain

Blockchain expert Debbie Hoffman, an attorney and co-founder of Symmetry Blockchain Advisors, spoke to NEXT conference attendees about blockchain technology’s emergence in the mortgage and finance industry, where it has not become widely recognized…yet.

While blockchain, an immutable ledger technology, is an oft discussed topic, there are still misconceptions about it.

In a conversation with HousingWire's Sarah Wheeler, Hoffman discussed blockchain technology in relation to the mortgage industry.

"We’re still in early stages of this, so I equate it to an automobile on a dirt road behind a horse and buggy. Our infrastructure is not there yet, but it is being developed.” Hoffman said. “It is not going away. It will not take away jobs but it will change how we do things.”

Hoffman explained to conference attendees the originations of blockchain and stressed the differences between it and bitcoin, which is commonly confused with blockchain.

"They’re not the same thing," Hoffman explained. "Blockchain is the technology behind digital currencies, such as bitcoin or others," Hoffman said. "Whatever comes of bitcoin or others, the technology still remains."

“Bitcoin may go, we are going to see other iterations of electronic currency but what came out of the development of bitcoin nine years ago is this technology that can be used in so many industries, including mortgage," she added. 

In an interview with HousingWire, Hoffman explained her goal in the mortgage space is to help people understand the importance and the uses of blockchain technology. What holds companies back, she said, is a lack of conversation about the technology.

"Without any discussions, your executive leaders are not going to push the technology forward," she said. 

Hoffman added most people see blockchain technology as a purely technical thing, that they don’t need to bother themselves and learn about it but she expressed that it isn’t something to fear.

“Nothing changes in industries or society unless people are not afraid of it or understand it," she said.  "Yes, it’s technology, but so was the Internet and you don’t need to understand all the inner-workings of the Internet, but you need to understand how you can power it to help your business move forward.”

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