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Franklin Templeton CEO Jenny Johnson Champions Blockchain and AI at Milken Conference

Jenny Johnson, the President and CEO of Franklin Templeton, a substantial financial entity managing assets worth $1.6 trillion, shared her insights on blockchain technology and its benefits during her interview with Bloomberg anchor David Westland at the 27th Annual Milken Institute Global Conference in California.

Johnson’s discussion covered various innovations, including tokenization and generative artificial intelligence, emphasizing her firm’s forward-looking approach in these areas.

During the interview, Johnson expressed her enthusiasm for blockchain.

She detailed an experiment conducted by Franklin Templeton, where they processed account records using both traditional methods and blockchain technology over six to eight months.

The experiment yielded encouraging results. “We were astonished by how much less costly it was to run it on blockchain,” Johnson revealed.

She predicted a significant shift in financial products to blockchain, citing its efficiency and the potential to reduce the substantial costs associated with data verification across different systems.

“It’s a very efficient technology, and we think it’s going to open up a lot of new investment opportunities. And, honestly, eventually, I think ETF and mutual funds are all going to be on blockchain,” she said.

Highlighting the practical applications of blockchain, Johnson referred to pop superstar Rhianna’s use of nonfungible tokens (NFTs).

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Rhianna issued 300 NFTs, which allowed owners to earn a fraction of the royalties from one of her songs through a smart contract.

This example underscores blockchain’s ability to diversify investment opportunities and streamline data consistency.

“In the case of blockchain,” Johnson noted, “there’s only one source of truth.”

The conversation also touched on the topic of generative artificial intelligence. Johnson acknowledged the dual nature of generative AI technologies, likening it to “kind of like the kid who gets an ‘A’ in English and an ‘F’ in math.”

Despite the challenges, she remains optimistic about the potential applications of AI in finance. Johnson highlighted a collaboration between Franklin Templeton and Microsoft to develop an AI-powered sales assistant, illustrating the firm’s commitment to leveraging AI technology.

She also praised the potential of AI-driven translation services to overcome language barriers within the financial sector, hinting at the expansive future of AI in improving accessibility and efficiency in financial services.

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