Q&A: FTI Technology’s Blockchain and Digital Assets Team Expands in the Middle East
Jorge Carrasco, a blockchain and digital assets expert with hands-on experience in emerging technologies, Web3 and advanced technical deployments, recently joined FTI Technology’s growing Blockchain and Digital Assets practice, as a Managing Director in Dubai. In this Q&A, Jorge discusses the opportunities and risks organisations in the Middle East should be thinking about as they explore metaverse, Web3 and other blockchain-based applications.
Jorge, you’re working in an extremely nascent and fast-moving space. Could you share an example or two of some particularly interesting or challenging projects you’ve worked on?
Yes, most of the projects in the emerging technology space, namely in blockchain, are highly interesting and challenging. For example, one of my projects uses blockchain to streamline the issuance, attestation and validation of educational certificates, so the forgery around these certificates is eliminated and the formalities around certificate attestation and validation are made easier for the stakeholders involved, benefitting the whole ecosystem.
As another example, we’re working on a project in which we’re making use of the new metaverse paradigm to give global visibility to a tourist location. Immersive and digital experiences and rewards can connect with the end user at completely new levels and reach out to the newest generations, digital-native, with a closer touch. The metaverse offers new ways to present products, places and experiences, and establish a long lasting relationship with older and new audiences. It’s very exciting to be at the forefront of creating these solutions.
Looking ahead to 2023, what will you be focusing on in your practice within FTI Technology’s Blockchain and Digital Assets team?
My aim is to help corporate and government clients in the Middle East navigate through the complexities of evaluating, adopting or scaling technologies such as blockchain, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, Web3 and metaverse. FTI Technology is in a strong position to provide guidance and solutions for our clients in this arena, particularly given the depth of technical expertise across the team, and our global region. As we support clients in the Middle East, we’ll continue to build strong relationships and trust with key stakeholders in the region, while recruiting the best talent available to our growing practice.
Why did you choose to join FTI Technology, and what do you think it is that stands out most about FTI Technology against the competition, particularly in the blockchain and digital assets space?
My decision was based on three very concrete points. The first one is the highly talented individuals already working on the blockchain team here, which now I can gladly call colleagues. The second one is about how seriously our firm is looking at blockchain as a disruptive technology to take industries to the next level. The third one, unique to FTI Technology’s value proposition, is how we leverage other relevant core competencies across the other business areas within FTI Consulting to enhancing the blockchain and digital assets value proposition and service offering.
These are the reasons why I joined this organisation, and I feel they are just a part of why we’re unique in the value we bring to clients.
What enterprise blockchain use cases are you particularly excited about?
There are several key use cases that are directly related with the biggest challenges facing the world today. The first one is supply chain management. Blockchain has the potential to streamline entire supply chains by connecting all the involved parties into a single system and source of truth, auditable, immutable and completely traceable. By using blockchain, supply chains can get much more efficient, allowing the identification of mistakes much earlier and faster, eliminating data silos along the chain and delivering much more predictable trades. This use of the technology could significantly enhance operations in critical industries such as oil and gas, health care and food supply.
Another promising use case is decentralised finance or DeFi, ranging all the way from cryptocurrencies to trade finance. Increasing trade finance or providing banking services to the unbanked are two of the areas where blockchain offers the potential to transform societies and facilitate financial products and options for those who were traditionally excluded.
The possibilities for blockchain innovation to address ESG challenges — particularly by creating automated, transparent and immutable tracking and disclosure for ESG metrics — are also very exciting.
So, there are many opportunities, but what are the barriers standing in front of clients right now?
The limited level of understanding of the technology and how it can be applied to business uses is a big one. Despite the hype over the past few years, this is normal considering that most efforts and developments have happened over the last five to 10 years only. This lack of understanding can undermine trust, which is needed to achieve mainstream acceptance and success. Further to this point is that there’s a lack of access to true expertise to support and advise on implementations, which leaves many would-be adopters without the technical guidance they need to move projects forward.
The need for security and governance is another. Dealing with critical information or with finances requires the utmost level of security and compliance. When such implementations are not properly scrutinised or cross-checked for security and other vulnerabilities, the fallout can be significant.
Do you have any predictions for where the industry is headed in the coming year?
The industry is going to increase its emphasis on security, tackling new vulnerabilities, while keeping the promise of transparency, data ownership and fewer intermediaries. At the same time, we are going to witness an uptick of new immersive experiences relying on decentralised architectures, blockchain and Web3 concepts, as brands, private companies and governments try to earn consumer trust and loyalty in innovative ways.
Is there anything you’d like to share about yourself as a leader?
I believe in the power of giving without expecting anything in return, and that by doing that, most likely the return will be much bigger. I have applied it to build so many meaningful connections and to do it based on trust as an anchor. Helping others to achieve and to grow creates the right environment for everybody to flourish. If you add a clear vision and objectives to that, you can get a highly performing and engaged team.
The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals.