Note from Editors:
Big financial companies concur that they cannot dismiss the distributed ledger technology behind #bitcoin. They either invest in Bitcoin startups or build their testing labs singly or in collaboration with companies. Early this year, Goldman Sachs connected with a $50 million funding round for Circle, a startup that enables person-to-person Bitcoin and other money transfers via an app.
by Laura Shin
It’s too big to ignore. That’s one thing the big financial companies seem to agree on when they look at the distributed ledger technology that underlies Bitcoin. Beyond that, however, their approaches vary. Some are investing in Silicon Valley startups, in effect buying themselves a front-row view–and maybe an option–on innovation. Others are setting up their own experiments with the technology or conducting joint tests with the startups.
When Coinbase, a Bitcoin currency wallet, raised $75 million in January, the New York Stock Exchange, international bank BBVA and USAA, a financial services company serving military families, were among the new investors, joining the likes of VC firm Andreessen Horowitz. In April Goldman Sachs joined a $50 million funding round for Circle, a startup that allows person-to-person Bitcoin and other money transfers via an app.
Swiss bank UBS opened a Bitcoin technology lab in London this past spring and is studying whether a common virtual currency could help banks settle transactions sooner.
In the experimentation camp Citigroup, through its Citi Ventures unit, is now testing three blockchains and a product called Citi Coin and is even discussing state-backed digital currencies with governments. Swiss bank UBS opened a Bitcoin technology lab in London this past spring and is studying whether a common virtual currency could help banks settle transactions sooner. Bank of New York Mellon, the world’s largest custodian, is exploring not only ways blockchain might be used to clear and settle payments but also whether it can be used to administer stock dividends. It’s also testing what it calls BK Coins for internal employee rewards. Visa, the big card issuer, has labs in both Europe and the U.S. that are studying aspects of blockchain.
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Curated from Wall Street’s First Bitcoin Forays: Buy Or Build
Note: Featured Image credit to BTC Keychain via Flickr.com