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Barclays Bank Confirms Talks With Regulators to ‘Bring Bitcoin Into Play’

· June 26, 2017 · 1:30 pm

British multinational bank Barclays has confirmed they have been in talks with UK financial regulators, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), to see how they can “bring Bitcoin into play.”


Consulting Regulators and Fintech Firms

Speaking with CNBC, the bank’s UK chief executive, Ashok Vaswani, confirmed that the company had been in talks with both regulators and fintech firms in order to determine how the bank can safely bring cryptocurrencies to their customers.

While the conversation with CNBC did revolve around Bitcoin, in particular, it is important to note that Vaswani made it clear that they were looking at blockchain technology as a whole.

UK chief executive, Ashok Vaswani

According to Vaswani:

We have been talking to a couple of fintechs and have actually gone with the fintechs to the FCA to talk about how we could bring, the equivalent of bitcoin, not necessarily bitcoin, but cryptocurrencies into play.

He also discussed the importance of caution with regard to cryptocurrency integration:

[It’s] obviously a new area we’ve got to be careful with […] We’re working on it, [it’s] not ready for prime time, we’ll get there soon.

Not Barclays’ First Bitcoin Rodeo

Barclays’ move comes on the heels of recent news that JP Morgan Chase is planning to integrate Zcash with its blockchain platform as well as Chase’s announced inclusion in the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. This is not the first time that Barclays has dipped its toes into the cryptocurrency pond, however.

In April 2016, Barclays became the first British bank to partner with a digital cryptocurrency firm when they backed social payments app Circle, which allows users to send and receive payments via text message. Circle operates in part on Bitcoin’s blockchain and it offers the cryptocurrency as a payment option as well.

Barclays implements smart contracts

Barclays made use of smart contracts to facilitate derivatives trading last year and has also invested, via incubators, in numerous companies making use of blockchain technology. One of the most notable of these is the Africa-based startup Consent which uses the blockchain to log medical records.

Where Investors Go Banks Follow

As Bitcoin continues to show record breaking gains, the interest level from retail investors is at an all-time high. With this increased interest, it should come as no surprise that banks are starting to sit up and take notice. With Bitcoin boasting YTD gains of near 200% – and Ethereum over 3000% – banks are realizing that cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are here to stay.

Bitcoin YTD gains

Barclays and JP Morgan Chase are hardly the first banks to embrace Bitcoin and the blockchain, however. Other banks that have made inroads include:

  • Banco Santander
  • Citi Bank
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Standard Chartered
  • UBS

Bitcoin is now being offered in investment portfolios at both Hargreaves Lansdown and Fidelity Investments, demonstrating a clear willingness to cater to this increasing demand. Fidelity Investments seems to have taken a keener interest in the technology, where others remain cautionary.

Ultimately, questions as to the direction Barclays will take are still unanswered, but the important thing is that they are talking about it, investing in it and researching possible opportunities.

What do you think about Barclay’s venture into cryptocurrency and blockchain technology? How can this benefit their customers? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Barclays, Shutterstock, Twitter

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Circle CEO: “Blockchain Will Sooner Disrupt The Mobile Payments Industry”

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Barclays

An exciting partnership between Barclays and Bitcoin exchange Circle could lead to a slew of new features and innovations in the digital payment industry. Moreover, this is very positive news for Bitcoin as well, as the European bank is letting Circle use their existing infrastructure to provide real-time conversion from GBP and EUR to Bitcoin, and vice versa.

Also read: How to Implement the Blockchain in Financial Institutions

Circle – A New Era Of Bitcoin and Banking?

Up until this point, very few banks have been keen on the concept of Bitcoin, although they all seem to see high value in the underpinning blockchain technology. In fact, consumers have had their bank accounts shut down in the past due to a link with Bitcoin, which was of particular concern to enthusiast sin the United Kingdom.

But all of that is about to change, by the look of things, as the new partnership between Circle and Barclays can be seen as a milestone for the digital currency. Circle users are now able to send and receive GBP transfers to other users on the platform, as well as convert between USD and GBP without any additional fees.

It is well worth noting the UK Treasury was one of the biggest advocates for this solution, as it is a “significant milestone” to have Circle available to customers in the United Kingdom. Quite a strange statement from an institution that could see Bitcoin as a potential threat, but it is more than welcome news for sure.

But there is more, as Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire hinted at a future expansion of supported fiat currencies. In fact, he mentioned how support for EUR transfers will be coming later this year, and how plans are set in motion to bring Circle to Asian markets as well.  If this were to happen, exciting things are bound for Bitcoin and digital currency enthusiasts.

Jeremy Allaire continued by saying that:

“The blockchain will sooner disrupt the mobile payments industry, which really is a “blank slate” for innovators. Payments are the next thing to be commoditised as a free service”

Barclays is one of the many banks working on bringing common standards for blockchain technology to the table. Once such a protocol is put in place, it should become a lot easier to bridge the gap between Bitcoin and traditional finance. Moreover, all of the participants would be able to benefit from the advantages of blockchain technology.

Are you excited about this partnership between Barclays and Circle? What will this mean for Bitcoin in the UK? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: FT

Images courtesy of Circle, Barclays

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Circle CEO: “Blockchain Will Sooner Disrupt The Mobile Payments Industry”

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More Signs of Trouble in Asia: Barclays to Cut Investment Banking Jobs

Source: bitcoin

Barclays

Reuters reports that Barclays Bank will announce investment banking job cuts across Asia sometime next week. The news publication’s sources said that these jobs cuts will include closures in South Korea and Taiwan. 

Also read: Grantcoin Makes Regulatory History in the US, Plans to Launch Two New Charity Programs 

These rumored cuts come after the Asian region’s failure to produce sustained growth in the post-2008 economy created a difficult business environment for investment bankers in Asia. In addition to these suspected cuts, Reuters reported on Monday that Barclays will close its Indian equities business as part of its Asian cost-cutting measures.

Barclays’ Asian cuts include eliminating corporate finance and advisory positions in South Korea and Taiwan, along with equities sales and research staff in the region. In total, Reuters’ sources expect Barclays to cut at least 50 Asian jobs.

Bitcoin Unfazed in the Midst of Asian Turmoil

This report comes in the middle of wide economic uncertainty in the Asian region, mostly due to China’s faltering economy. China struggled for much of 2015, and the developing country suffered a massive stock market crash on Monday, which effected markets across the globe.

Bitcoin is usually affected by financial worry and speculation coming from Asia — specifically China — due to the large population of bitcoin miners and traders in Asia. However, the recent turmoil has not seemed to faze the bitcoin markets, which have been chugging along in the low $430s for the last week. Even on Monday, the day of China’s stock market crash, bitcoin trading remained fairly quiet, with exchanges across the globe showing sideways activity.

What does this mean for Bitcoin? Are traders and speculators waiting for additional information from China and Asia before acting, or is there something else going on in the trading community that is making speculators ignore Asian financial troubles? It is possible that traders currently have more of their attention on internal happenings in the bitcoin community rather than the outside economy. The bitcoin community is gearing up for a block reward halving this year, with many believing that the diminished growth in the bitcoin supply will push the price upwards as demand continues to grow. Additionally, the block size debate shows no signs of coming to an end in 2016, and the issue will become more urgent as new blocks are expected to start hitting 1 MB sometime this year.

These two major issues in the bitcoin community may have traders holding onto their coins in anticipation of internal activities that will affect the digital currency more than developments in the global economy. Bitcoinist will continue to follow the situation in Asia and report on any change in the bitcoin markets that may be related to the current financial landscape in the region.

What do you think of Barclay’s rumored cuts in Asia? Let us know in the comments below!

The post More Signs of Trouble in Asia: Barclays to Cut Investment Banking Jobs appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

More Signs of Trouble in Asia: Barclays to Cut Investment Banking Jobs

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