When it announced its ‘blockchain innovation lab’ earlier this year, UBS caused a ripple of excitement and trepidation.
It was a watershed moment: one of the world’s wealthiest investment banks was putting its money, and public image, behind blockchain technology. Not only that, but it would be experimenting deep in the financial heart of London.
Alex Batlin, the former engineer heading up the lab, told CoinDesk that while financial technologies like peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding platforms are on the rise, it’s blockchain technology that could be the biggest threat or opportunity for banks like UBS.
“In principle it’s probably one of the biggest confluences of technology and business right now.”
His mission over the next year is to figure out how best to “future proof” the bank and find a way for shareholders to profit from these rapid changes.
The ROI problem
Batlin describes the bank’s innovation process as “robust”, with business and technology departments engaging in a two-way conversation