ABN Amro’s Arjan van Os: “Bitcoin is Ancient History To Us”

Traditional financial institutions from all over the world are slowly realizing they need to either innovate or perish.  The system of banks, as we all know it, is coming to an end sooner rather than later unless there is a new form of technology to prevent that.  Bitcoin’s blockchain is being eyed by many financial institutions around the world, but that doesn’t mean they will integrate Bitcoin anytime soon.

Arjan van Os Dislikes Bitcoin With A PassionDigitalMoneyTiimes_ABN Amro Innovation Center

Most of ABN Amro’s development revolving around blockchain technology is taking place over at their Innovation Center, which is led by Arjan van Os. Blockchain technology is incredibly interesting and valuable to financial institutions, and ABN Amro is just one of the world’s major banks to experiment with this type of innovation.

ABN Amro staff are free to get involved in Bitcoin and blockchain technology in their spare time, but the head of Innovation Center does not take kindly to virtual currencies in general.  Whether or not this will influence any of the blockchain-based projects in development, remains to be seen.

“Bitcoin has got a bad and negative reputation over the years.  Due to this digital currency being part of underground marketplaces, drug trafficking and other fraudulent activities, it is not exactly my cup of tea.  As a bank, we want to distantiate ourselves from these activities as much as humanly possible.” – Arjan van Os recently stated in a Dutch interview.

Despite Bitcoin’s PR problem, the underlying blockchain technology is not suffering from any negative press for the time being.  After all, Bitcoin is just a financial protocol on top of the blockchain, and the underlying technology is not responsible for anything built on top of it.  Banks and other financial institutions want to keep their associations with blockchain technology as pristine as possible.

ABN Amro Innovation Center is not too worried about the competitive aspect of Bitcoin and blockchain technology.  There are many threats to the financial ecosystem as we know it, but all major banks admit they need to come up with financial innovations sooner rather than later if they want to stay somewhat relevant.

“As a bank, we don’t want to have any negative attention associated with our blockchain-based projects.  We see a lot of potential use cases for blockchain technology and are working hard to finalize some of our ideas over the next few months.  That being said, Bitcoin – as a currency – is ancient history to us.” – Arjan van Os continued.DigitalMoneyTiimes_Bitcoin Blockchain

Bitcoin is Not The Blockchain And Vice Versa

It is important to distinguish between Bitcoin and the blockchain, as they are not one and the same entity. Granted, Bitcoin was the protocol to introduce blockchain technology to the world and has seen its fair share of success so far.  But the technological implications of the blockchain go much further than just Bitcoin or any other type of currency.  This is one of the main reasons why there has been such an increase in media focus on blockchain technology, all the while it has been relatively quiet on the Bitcoin front.

Furthermore, any bank experimenting with blockchain technology will not be more open-minded towards Bitcoin startups anytime soon, as the central bank of The Netherlands still prevents any involvement in the virtual currency space.  Banks are obligated to know who their customers are and where funds are coming from.  This is all perfectly verifiable through the Bitcoin blockchain, yet that statement is falling on deaf ears as far as the country’s central bank is concerned.

Source: FTM (Dutch)

Images courtesy of ABN Amro, Shutterstock