In April, Bitcoin Magazine reported that UBS was planning to investigate blockchain technology in a new innovation lab based in London. The innovation lab located in Level39, Europe’s largest technology accelerator space for finance and cyber-securities, focuses on exploring the role of blockchain technology in financial services.
“Our innovation lab at Level39 will provide a unique platform to explore emerging technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrencies, and to understand the potential impact for the industry,” said UBS Group CIO Oliver Bussmann.
UBS, a Swiss global financial services company with its headquarters in Basel and Zürich, Switzerland, provides investment banking, asset management and wealth management services for private, corporate, and institutional clients worldwide. Operating in more than 50 countries with about 60,000 employees around the world, UBS is the biggest Swiss bank and is considered as the world’s largest manager of private wealth assets, with more than 2.2 trillion Swiss francs (CHF) in invested assets.
Now UBS has launched a call for ideas to the financial technology community.
”Today is a very exciting day for UBS,” writes Bussmann on Linkedin’s Pulse. “We have launched the UBS Future of Finance Challenge, a competition which is open to entrepreneurs and startups around the world with potentially disruptive technological ideas and solutions to support the transformation of the banking industry.”
Entries can be submitted by entrepreneurs and startups with revenues of less than $3 million USD, which have received less than $10 million USD in funding and were incorporated on or after January 1, 2010. The closing date is September 23, 2015. UBS is offering the regional and global finalists cash prizes and accelerator places worth more than $300,000 USD and more than 300 hours of dedicated coaching from UBS mentors and partners.
“We recognize there is a lot we can learn from entrepreneurs and startups,” says Bussman. “Hence why we were so pleased to be the first global bank to move into Level39 in London. Ultimately our ambition is to help shape a more open and collaborative financial services industry and to jointly develop new solutions for our clients.”
The Future of Finance Challenge is divided in four main categories where technology can transform how the bank works and what it delivers for its clients: Secure Banking, Client Experience, Superior Offering and Banking Efficiency. In order to address these challenges, UBS suggests a long list of innovative approaches and potentially disruptive technologies that might be relevant. The list includes a wide range of currently hot technology buzzwords, including some that are (at this moment) only weakly related to the business of banking, such as immersive virtual reality environments and quantum processing.
Bitcoin Magazine readers and Bitcoin companies interested in participating in the UBS Challenge will be especially interested in these technologies mentioned in the UBS call: blockchain applications, blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, data analytics, digital identification, digital marketplaces, digital vault, distributed ledgers, mobile technology, security and privacy verification and smart contracts. It seems likely that, by leveraging these technologies in combination with the others mentioned in the UBS call, participants will be able to come up with innovative ideas and solutions for UBS and the banking industry.