Last night at Sibos, more than 175 representatives from some of the world’s largest financial institutions attended an exclusive Chainlink rooftop networking event. Chainlink co-founder Sergey Nazarov and Swift’s Head of Securities Strategy, Jonathan Ehrenfeld, shared their perspectives on how far Chainlink has come in connecting DeFi to the world’s capital markets.
Having worked with Swift on various proofs of concept since 2016, Nazarov said that as Chainlink Labs grew from a team of three to over 500, he’s come to appreciate similarities between the startup mentality and the ethos of traditional finance.
“The more I worked with everybody in this whole industry, the more I saw the same thing I see in startups, which is that people want to build things,” he said.
“The people in this industry, they’re trying to make new things and they’re trying to make a better world and make it work in a better way. And I’ve always had a lot of respect for that. On that basis, I feel really grateful to be a part of this industry, and to work with many of you, and I’m looking forward to building all these great things together and making the world work better.”
Ehrenfeld offered his view of Chainlink’s rapid evolution from a fledgling presence at Sibos just a few years ago to a technology leader connecting banks to blockchains with Chainlink CCIP (Cross-Chain Interoperability Protocol) in 2023.
“Back in Toronto the last time we had Sibos, I saw Sergey walking alone in those corridors looking for banks to understand what he was trying to build and what he was trying to make for the financial industry,” Ehrenfeld said. “It’s impressive to see now that they have a booth, that they have speakers, and they have a rooftop full of people. So I’m just proud of you guys and I think what you’re building is great.”
In an exclusive interview with Chainlink Today, Nazarov elaborated on the sea change he’s seeing at this year’s Sibos.
“Our presence here is much larger,” he said. “We have one of the biggest booths of any blockchain company, if not the biggest here. There’s a huge amount of demand that we’re seeing.”
On the heels of Swift’s collaboration with a dozen top banks to develop a CCIP-powered blockchain interoperability model for traditional finance, Nazarov said banks are noticeably more interested in creating digital assets with CCIP.
“‘Digital Assets’ was not something people put in their title even a few years ago,” he explained. “There weren’t dedicated digital asset teams. But now you have people with titles like ‘Head of Digital Assets.’ You have dedicated teams and team members whose entire job is to make digital assets successful for their bank. So that’s a very big difference.”
Sibos’ 2023 theme, “Collaborative finance in a fragmented world,” reflects TradFi’s theoretical shift from the idea of a single, industry-wide blockchain to a multi-chain model where each bank has its own chain. CCIP allows more than 11,500 banks using Swift’s PKI to efficiently connect with other bank chains in order to buy and sell digital assets.
“If you don’t connect to counterparties on their chains, then you won’t have clients, you won’t have users, you won’t have liquidity, you won’t have markets,” Nazarov said. “This makes it clear that something like CCIP is absolutely critical.”
Watch Chainlink Today’s exclusive interview with Sergey Nazarov at Sibos.