UBS will be opening a research lab in London this month to look into the potential of blockchain technology for banking applications.
The lab will be located in the Canary Wharf-based FinTech accelerator space Level39 and bring together technology experts from the bank and wider FinTech community.
Oliver Bussmann, group chief information officer at UBS, previously told Financial News that the blockchain had the potential “not only change the way we do payments but it will change the whole trading and settlement topic.” He described it as having the greatest potential to disrupt financial services by simplifying banking processes and making them more cost efficient.
Among the issues that the development hopes to solve are the need to analyze large amounts of data and better evaluate risk.
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Sources familiar with the industry have previously told Finance Magnates that several banks are quietly looking into how they can make use of blockchain technology. Some are even interested in bitcoin’s prospects as a currency or investment. But very few have publicly disclosed their interests, the sources said. UBS is now of these few, the hope being to get UBS more involved with the FinTech community and open up to external innovation.
“Fostering an open and collaborative environment between banks, start-ups and the investor community is essential to ensure we focus on promoting synergies between us, accelerate innovation opportunities and create real value for the industry.”
During the past year, several large institutions have launched initiatives to develop closer relationships with the FinTech and startup community, including Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC, BBVA and Citi.
The Ripple protocol has already been adopted by a number of small banks in the U.S., as well as the progressive Germany-based Fidor Bank.