Q&A: Bank of France’s CTO talks cyber security, data lakes, and blockchain

Daniel Cukier has been at Banque de France (BdF) for over 18 years. He has been chief technology officer (CTO) since March 2016, leading the central bank’s IT charge through digitisation. He talked to bobsguide about the BdF’s approach to blockchain, data lakes, cyber security, regtech, and more.

You’ve been at Bank of France for 18 years – what has changed since you came on board?

I think things have changed quite a lot in the past few years because we’re much more involved in the digital transformation. There are a few key projects going on and those projects have big implications for IT, and business-oriented of course, but it does create new challenges for the IT.

We’re dabbling with blockchain, we’re setting up a big data lake, we’re also more and more involved in European infrastructure projects; we’re cooperating more and more at a European scale. Also, we’re introducing new ways of working, basically. Business was very stable, it was very steady and well-controlled, and now things are moving faster so we’re changing to be more agile, and introducing new ways of working, standard meetings, designing methodology to design new solutions for the business. Even in the business side they’re really changing a lot gradually, so it’s an interesting time.

What blockchain developments you see going on?

We did a blockchain experiment to improve the interbank system and to enable the exchange of Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) creditor identifiers between SEPA Direct Debit (SDD). And we are involved in some initiatives going on even at a European scale about blockchain technology and crypto currency, but I can’t discuss them yet.

I think blockchain is a very important technology for the future of the financial sector, but it’s not yet easy to know whether it’s going to transform our role as a central bank. Everybody has heard about Libra and Facebook, and you probably think that most government and central banks…

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