USAA Researching Bitcoin Technology to Streamline Operations

USAA, a bank catering to members of the military, has created a research team to look into Bitcoin's blockchain technology.

USAA, a San Antonio-based bank catering to members of the military, has reportedly created a research team to look into Bitcoin’s blockchain technology.

In an interview with Reuters, USAA managing director of corporate development Alex Marquez said that the company and its banking, insurance, and investment management subsidiaries are interested in how such technology can decentralize operations such as the back office. He said:

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“We have serious interest in the blockchain and we think the technology would have an impact on the organization. The fact that we have such a large group of people working on this shows how serious we are about the potential of this technology.”

Marquez noted that the bank has no plans to get involved with bitcoin as a currency.

USAA joins a growing list of financial institutions that have revealed their consideration of blockchain technology to improve operations. UBS and Bank of NY Mellon announced such plans earlier this year. Reuters also cited David Johnston, managing director at Dapps Venture Fund in San Antonio, that in fact most large banks are testing such technology internally. He explained:

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“I would say that by the end of the year, most will have solidified a blockchain technology strategy, how the bank is going to implement and how it will move the technology forward.”

Sources familiar with the industry have previously told Finance Magnates that many banks have been quietly interested in the technology but have yet to make their plans public.

Some banks have also been already working with Ripple, whose protocol fulfills similar functions as those envisioned for the blockchain.

USAA, or United Services Automobile Association, started out in the 1920’s catering to members of the US military who had trouble securing insurance due to their perceived high risk. It serves 10.7  million current or former members of the military, with $130 billion in assets under management.

Notably, USAA was one of the leading investors behind Coinbase’s then record-breaking funding round of $75 million earlier this year.

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