Setting aside the past where Barclays had shut the account of an user allegedly for using the account to transact Bitcoin, Barclays has signed off on a proof-of-concept to trial Bitcoin technology i.e. blockchain. Following an agreement with Bitcoin exchange Safello, the UK bank wants to explore how blockchain technologies could bolster the financial services sector.
The two companies are quite happy about the partnership. In fact, talking to media professionals Safello CEO Frank Schuil said that the decision by Barclays reflected a wider change in traditional finance as according to him if a Tier I bank signing a proof-of-concept with a Bitcoin company isn’t a sign of the times then he does not know what is.
He further admitted that their attitude is changing and it is changing fast. Nonetheless, the announcement has in fact surprised many, particularly, those who have been observing Barclays over the years. It has made at the Barclays Accelerator demo session in London, comes as an increasing number of banks are trialing distributed ledgers such as Ripple.
13-week accelerator program
It’s known that Safello and Barclays have been fond of each other. In fact, Safello was one of 10 FinTech startups taking part in Barclays’ 13-week accelerator programme, which began last year. Not just this, housed in London’s Mile End, companies in the scheme receive mentoring and tools from Barclays, alongside £20,000 seed funding from partner TechStars.
Elaborating the points further, Schuil described the program as a “mutual learning experience” for Barclays and Safello. At the same time he made it clear that while exact details of the pair’s proof-of-concept are currently under wraps, Safello’s Bitcoin spending platform could reach an important demographic for the bank.
He was quoted saying:
Our target groups are the millennial that banks find hard to reach, and we are doing it with a technology that they need to understand. In that way and in other ways we are building a bridge between the traditional financial world and Bitcoin. This effort will go miles in the coming months in terms of opening new avenues for the digital currency.
Six other startups at the event, including blockchain-diamond-tracker Everledger are exploring opportunities with the bank as well. Now, it is becoming clear that in the last one year or so institutions are considering/trialing using the Bitcoin Blockchain for transfer of ownership of all types of assets.
To contact the reporter of this story: Deepak Tiwari at firstname.lastname@example.org