August 18, 2015
Interest in blockchain has been coming in from every corner of the world with major ones being banks and technology providers. Banks’ interest in bitcoin blockchain is seeing a huge uptick with the exploration of potential use cases for the distributed ledger system (blockchain technology).
We previously covered an extensive analysis on the non-financial use cases being developed in the blockchain world (Click here). We now provide you with a comprehensive analysis of banks and their investments in this technology.
Fidor Bank: Fidor is the first major bank to experiment with virtual currency and blockchain. They partnered with Karken (in October 2013) to provide digital currency exchange in EU and with bitcoin Deutschland GmbH in Germany. This was followed by a partnership with Ripple Labs to use its payment protocol to provide customers money transfer services in multiple currencies at a lower cost (May 2014). In February 2015, they partnered with bitcoin.de, a P2P bitcoin trading platform.
LHV Bank: Expressed that they are working on a new project with blockchain technology (June 2014). Developed Cuber Wallet, an app based on Colored Coins blockchain technology (June 2015). Partnered with Coinbase (Sep. 2014) and CoinFloor (July 2015). They are also experimenting on digital security.
CBW Bank, Cross River Bank: Announced partnership with Ripple Labs (Sep. 2014). Working on building a risk management system, and also to provide low-cost cross-border payments transaction.
Rabobank: Is experimenting with BTC, blockchain and Ripple payments network.
ABN Amro: Investigating blockchain technology for banking purposes.
ING Bank: Researching into blockchain with the aim to improve the speed of transaction.
Goldman Sachs: Participated as a lead investor in $50M funding for Bitcoin startup Circle Internet Financial Ltd. (Apr. 2015).
BBVA Ventures: Have released a research report in July 2015 stating interest in blockchain technology and not the currency, i.e., bitcoin. Participated in a $75M Series C funding for Coinbase (Jan 2015).
Santander: Claims to have 20-25 use cases for blockchain and that around GBP 12 billion could be saved in banks infrastructure by switching to the blockchain concept. Set up team Crypto 2.0 to research on the use of blockchain in banking with a specific focus on international payments and smart contracts (Jun 2015).
Westpac: Partnered with Ripple and is pilot testing a proof of concept with its staff for making low-value cross-border payments (June 2015). Through its investments in VC fund Reinventure, it has participated in Series C funding of $75M in Coinbase (Jan 2015).
UBS: Has a research lab in London focused on blockchain. UBS CIO Oliver Bussmann also provides one-on-one mentoring to FinTech startups based out of London in the areas of blockchain & social media analytics. The firm is experimenting in the areas of payments, trading and settlement, and smart bonds (Apr. 2015).
BNY Mellon: Created own currency called BK Coins as a corporate recognition program which can be redeemed for gifts and other rewards (Apr. 2015).
Barclays Bank: Ran a 90-day accelerator program with Safello (BTC Exchange), Atlas Card (BTC debit cards creator) and Blocktree (blockchain for the insurance industry) in March 2015. In June 2015, signed a deal with Safello to work on proof of concepts for testing banking services on blockchain
CBA: Partnered with Ripple Labs to implement blockchain ledger system for payment settlements between its subsidiaries (May 2015).
USAA Bank: Created a research team to study uses of bitcoin (May 2015).
ANZ Bank: Partnered with Ripple to explore potential use cases of blockchain (June 2015).
BNP Paribas: Experimenting at making transactions faster by using blockchain (July 2015).
Societe Generale: Planning to staff employees with BTC, blockchain and cryptocurrency expertise (July 2015).
Citibank: Have set up three separate systems within Citi that deploy blockchain-based distributed technologies. They developed an equivalent to bitcoin called Citicoin which is being used internally to understand the digital currency trading system better. Blockchain is one of five domains that Citi is exploring to digitizing payments and transactions with a specific focus on cross-border capacity (July 2015).
A timeline with announcements by different banks involved with blockchain and their areas of interest is given below: