UK-based banking giant Barclays has indicated that it is looking into using blockchain technology, highlighting its potential in a corporate communications paper.
Its author, Simon Taylor, is VP Entrepreneurial Partnerships and is a passionate advocate for blockchain and related technologies. In pointing out the growing attention the blockchain is gaining with financial institutions, he indicates that Barclays is part of the list as well.
More than a dozen financial institutions have disclosed their consideration of the technology, and it is possible than dozens more have yet to publicize their plans. Indeed, it can one day be adopted en masse and become the industry standard, especially through prospective solutions such as itBit’s mysterious “Bankchain”.
Taylor mentions several applications, financial and otherwise, envisioned for blockchain technology. Some unique examples, not often discussed, are for hard, physical applications; typically, we’ve been more accustomed to hearing about various distributed data-based solutions such as land records and securities ownership.
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The history of food items and the nature of the farms involved in their production is one interesting example. Another is for the diamond industry, where today, “different stages of a diamond’s value chain have tended to be disparate and paper-based.” Tomorrow, however:
“The diamond’s serial number is registered against the database (or ‘blockchain’) and users such as insurance companies or law enforcement agencies can access the entire history of a specific diamond, including details such as changes of ownership and insurance details. If a diamond is stolen and recovered on the other side of the world, this database can allow the police to determine quickly the history of the item and its insurance details. Everledger is live today with over 800,000 diamonds being tracked on their blockchain technology.”
Taylor does mention that much work is still needed to bring blockchain applications into reality, but ultimately, he assesses that it’s a matter of when, not if, this will happen.
About a month ago, Barclays partnered with bitcoin brokerage service Safello to work on a payments platform for bitcoin donations. The move was unique in that far fewer financial institutions have been willing to work with bitcoin as a currency, a far more controversial proposition.