UK banking giant Barclays has reportedly signed contracts with two blockchain technology startups, further underscoring its interest in the emerging space.
According to New York Business Journal, the bank signed contracts with eight companies that graduated the 13-week Techstars program at its first-ever New York FinTech accelerator.
Derek White, the bank’s chief design and innovation officer, said, “This program, this day, is simply one manifestation of our commitment to lighting up fintech and connecting the local New York entrepreneur ecosystem. We’ve done it in London, invested heavily over the past two years to connect the ecosystem there, and we’re doing it now in New York City.”
The two blockchain startups are Wave and Chainanalysis. Wave is developing a digital shipping records solution based on distributed ledger technology. Chainalysis is working with the Barclays financial crime and security teams to help the bank perform transactions with Bitcoin and blockchain tech companies.
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Indeed, the bank previously announced a partnership with bitcoin brokerage Safello for the development of a bitcoin donation platform. Barclays has become an exception to the many banks intrigued by blockchain technology but whom have shied away from the unregulated Bitcoin currency.
“The announcement of Chainalysis and Wave today is fundamentally a game-changer for us,” said White.
Distributed ledger technologies are envisioned for both financial applications, such as securities settlement and currency transfers, as well as non-financial applications, such as land titles and intellectual property. A distributed and immutable record set can ensure entries are tamper-proof and error-free.
Out of the several dozen financial institutions disclosing their interest in blockchain technology this year, Barclays has been among the most vocal. Within the last three months alone, the bank revealed its consideration of the technology and expressed confidence in its future, opened two blockchain labs atop old bank branches, and has reportedly been exploring Ethereum.
Barclays announced the contracts at an event held at the newly-launched Rise FinTech lab in the Flatiron District. There were 470 attendees.