Bitcoin enthusiasts all around the world rejoiced at the news of major banks experimenting with blockchain technology. Even though most of the media has been focused on the major banks, such as Santander and Barclays, there are quite a few other institutions exploring the option of blockchain technology.
The United States and Australia – Growing Interest in Ripple
Even though most of the Bitcoin efforts (in terms of education, conferences, and whatnot) are focused on the US market, the number of banks adopting blockchain technology is still rather low. In fact, there are only 4 US institutions who have [openly] admitted they are working on blockchain implementations.
First and foremost, there is Goldman Sachs, a financial institutions known far and wide by nearly every adult on the planet. Earlier in the year, Goldman Sachs employees hinted at how the company views blockchain technology as a “way to transform trading as we know it”. However, no official blockchain-related projects have been confirmed at the time of publication. Additionally, Goldman Sachs is one of the many investors in Circle’s latest round of funding, which raised US$50m.
Bank of New York Mellon is a name that hardly anyone will have heard of, which makes them of particular interest to this article. The company faced quite a challenge when they tried to implement decentralized peer-to-peer technology with the bank’s client-server systems. However, a strong belief in Bitcoin technology warranted that challenge.
Note from the Author: Bank of New York Mellon launched their own currency called “BK Coins”. These coins are used as a reward system for employees, and can be exchanged for benefits and gift cards.
Another small US bank is Kansas’ own CBW Bank, and its origins date back to 1892. Having been around for a long time also leads this small bank to see the benefit of technology. As a result, CBW Bank partnered with Ripple Labs to launch the ONE card. The card’s main advantage is that customers can receive funds instantly and in real-time.
Last but not least, there is San Antonio’s USAA bank, which serves former and current members of the US military. By creating a dedicated group of engineers and developers to study blockchain technology and its potential use cases, decentralizing bank operations is coming closer every day. Especially the blockchain’s audibility aspect is of great interest to this – and many other – financial institution(s).
On the other side of the globe, in beautiful Australia, three major banks have been working on blockchain technology. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, ANZ and Westpac are all looking at Ripple’s implementation of the blockchain ledger system. A trial run by Westpac has been quite successful so far and shows encouraging results.
The Rest of the World – Mostly Major Players
Asia is an important continent as far as Bitcoin and digital currency are concerned. However, Asian countries are also strict in terms of government influence over financial institutions. As a result, there are not too many Asian banks openly experimenting with blockchain technology. Singapore’s DBS Bank recently held its first Bitcoin hackathon for developers to create banking services more accessible to unbanked by using blockchain technology.
Countries such as The Netherlands, where Bitcoin adoption has been thriving for quite some time now, see major banks embracing blockchain technology. ABN Amro, ING and Rabobank are “investigating potential implementations of blockchain technology”. One area of particular interest is making banking operations run 24/7 in the future.
Estonia, on the other hand, is hardly ever mentioned when Bitcoin talks are taking place around the watercooler. LHV Bank is looking at blockchain from a different perspective, by issuing colored coins to serve as a cryptographically protected certificate of deposit. In the future, LHV Bank hopes to offer free peer-to-peer fiat transfers through an in-house developed mobile application.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock