In an interesting interview with CNBC’s Nancy Hulgrave, Peter Smith, the CEO of blockchain.info, claimed that around 100 banks approached his company to integrate bitcoin and the blockchain technology in their banking systems. Peter thinks that these banks believe that they can benefit and make more profits via integration of the blockchain technology.
Banks Vs The Blockchain Technology:
Throughout the past couple of years, some international retail banks have tried to integrate the blockchain technology into their banking systems and some have even gone far enough to consider issuing their own cryptocurrency.
Standard bank, the largest bank in Africa, was the first bank to think about integrating a bitcoin funding and trading platform in February, 2014. Standard bank partnered with Switchless, a Swiss software company, to develop a trading platform that utilizes the blockchain technology.
In their February, 2015 Discussion Paper, the Bank of England pointed to cryptocurrencies and how Central Banks can benefit from the blockchain technology and even considered issuing its own cryptocurrency!
Here is a quote from that discussion paper:
“The emergence of private digital currencies (such as Bitcoin) has shown that it is possible to transfer value securely without a trusted third party. While existing private digital currencies have economic flaws which make them volatile, the distributed ledger technology that their payment systems rely on may have considerable promise. This raises the question of whether central banks should themselves make use of such technology to issue digital currencies.”
So, can we really see banks deploying the blockchain technology soon? Can we ever see a bank accepting bitcoin deposits?
In my opinion, this is very unlikely to happen. Bitcoin and the blockchain technology in general, is a big threat to the retail banking industry. Why would you send money via wired transfers, with enormous fees, when you can send it instantly using bitcoin for negligible fees?
1- Standard bank partnering with Switchless to build a bitcoin trading platform: http://businesstech.co.za/news/banking/53087/standark-bank-throws-out-bitcoin-idea/
2- CNBC’s interview with Peter Smith, the CEO of the blockchain.info
3- Bank of England discussion paper February 2015