Various banks around the world are experimenting with Blockchain technology, which can only be seen as positive news for the future of Bitcoin. One Dutch bank is taking things a bit further, as they are looking into using Ethereum’s concept for their own needs. A smart cash wallet is allegedly in development, which could combine the banking infrastructure with distributed ledgers.
Rabobank Embraces Disruptive Blockchain Technology
As much as some Bitcoin enthusiasts would like to see things differently, virtual currency is not here to overthrow the banks overnight. In fact, most banks and other financial institutions are showing some level of interest in leveraging Bitcoin technology for their own needs. With little to no innovation in the financial sector over the past 60 years, Bitcoin has shaken up things on a large scale.
Rabobank, one of the largest Dutch financial institutions with an international presence, is embracing the challenge presented by blockchain technology. In fact, Chief Information Officer René Steenvoorden strongly believes that implementing new technologies is the only right way forward.
Over the past few months, several in-house projects have gone into the development stage, categorised under the “SHIFT” banner. One of the first applications to be introduced to the world will act as a Whatsapp competitor for group payments; additionally, this application will support coins, loyalty cards and coupons as well.
The decision to start exploring fintech was not made on a whim, as Rabobank wants to solidify relationships with startup companies in The Netherlands. Doing so allows all parties to test new developments in fintech, while creating a testing group for potentially viable concepts and ideas. So far, the results are overall positive and various projects will explore the usage of multi-signature security and programmable money.
“We are experimenting with budgets, for example: if you say this part of our common wallet can only be used for supermarkets, we can program that into the money like a smart contract. That then becomes very interesting because our customers maybe want to have that kind of control of their kids let’s say. You want to give them some kind of payment method without them being able to spend it on all kinds of silly things.” – René Steenvoorden told the media in an interview.
Focusing on Ethereum Due To Convenience
One of the technological advancements Rabobank is keeping a close eye on is the Ethereum project. The reason for this is simple: it would save the company’s engineers and developers a ton of work when it comes to creating interfaces and infrastructure. However, Rabobank remains open-minded towards all types of virtual currency, as it is difficult to predict which protocol will get the upper hand in a few years from now.
Even though Rabobank is working hard on their own smart wallet project, bringing additional features to the table is at the top of the priority list. This is one of the reasons why the bank is working with startups, especially those who are exploring the possibilities of blockchain technology.
“To see where blockchain applications are going, we need to be out there, work with startups. We are looking into pilots that evaluate sidechains and private chains next to the blockchain and learn how do we best apply this technology. So Shift is our satellite operation with that agility – can we program money, can we work with smart contracts?” – Han Veldwijk, Rabobank executive in residence, told DigitalMoneyTimes.
Innovation in the banking sector is far more uncommon than most consumers would like to think. Banks have been among the first to work with computers and they have always relied on developing new technologies in-house. Now that the lines of battle have shifted, any outside help from startups active in the fintech world is more than welcome.
Images courtesy of Rabobank, Ethereum, Shutterstock