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Sabih Behzad Highlights Deutsche Bank’s Digital Asset Strategy In New Chainlink Series

Recently, Chainlink released the first episode of its new “The Future Is On” spotlight series featuring Deutsche Bank’s Head of Digital Assets and Currencies, Sabih Behzad, who analyzed how blockchain interoperability will revolutionize onchain finance through asset tokenization. 

Behzad believes blockchain will ultimately be so integral to the global financial system that it will cease to be a buzzword. 

“Blockchain will have a very important role in the future of finance,” he said. “It will be one of the fundamental infrastructure elements that exist. And I think we’ll know we’ve got there when we stop talking about it.”

As one of the world’s leading financial institutions, Deutsche Bank is positioning itself at the intersection of blockchain and traditional finance. 

“We’re really excited at Deutsche Bank about the prospects presented by blockchain DLT technology,” Behzad said. “We believe it will make processes faster, cheaper, more efficient, and therefore better for clients, but also provide innovative products and services, many of which we cannot service today.”

He distilled Deutsche Bank’s digital assets strategy in several key steps. First is bringing digital asset custody to market, then tokenizing assets onchain. “We see the prospects of tokenized assets being a very interesting proposition for Deutsche Bank and we’ve already started experimenting with products such as bonds,” he explained.  

As the largest Euro clearer in the world, Deutsche Bank is also interested in central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and developing onchain capabilities for commercial bank assets while employing DLT technology to boost the speed and efficiency of its post-trade settlement processes.

Behzad echoed Chainlink co-founder Sergey Nazarov’s belief that banks will embrace onchain finance to satisfy user demand

“Ultimately we’re a client-led organization and one of the key things we’re seeing is clients coming to us, asking us for innovative products and services,” Behzad explained. “And that’s where we see the benefit of blockchain and DLT: it provides a path to delivering solutions that cannot be provided in today’s infrastructure and that’s really for us been the aha moment.”

Beyond regulatory and legal clarity, he described blockchain interoperability as the final hurdle to clear before bringing financial services onchain.   

“We think it’s unlikely that there will be one blockchain that will supplant all others; we actually think it’s going to be a very use case-driven approach where certain blockchains will better fulfill the use case of specific individual types of transactions,” he said.

As illustrated by Swift’s proof of concept, Chainlink’s Cross-Chain Interoperability Protocol (CCIP) allows banks to transact with a wide range of private and public blockchains using their existing infrastructure. 

“That’s a nontrivial task for many financial services institutions, but we’re starting to see paths to resolving that challenge,” said Behzad.

He underscored the need for Chainlink’s decentralized oracle infrastructure, which serves as a blockchain abstraction layer, in an increasingly multi-chain world.

“Chainlink’s got an important role to play in advancing onchain finance. It really sits between bringing a lot of the data that sits outside of blockchains to life, but also Chainlink’s developing products and services that will try and address some of those interoperability challenges as well.”

Watch the first episode of “The Future Is On” featuring Deutsche Bank’s Sabih Behzad.

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