Dutch banking giant ING Group is holding its second annual ‘Nationaal Bitcoin Congres’, hosted at its global headquarters in Amsterdam.
This year’s event revolves much more around Bitcoin’s blockchain and the potential it harnesses for applications besides the bitcoin currency. This is to be expected considering the noticeable shift of interest into the discipline during the past year, most notably from banking institutions, at least a half dozen of which are now exploring how blockchain technology can streamline operations.
ING, considered to be one of the world’s more progressive banks, produced a video presentation on Bitcoin nearly one year ago. In outlining its virtues and shortcomings, the bank suggested that if a new algorithm were implemented that balances supply and demand, the inventors would qualify for the Nobel Prize in Economics.
ING says that the conference brings together traditional players, innovators and disruptors, offering both a constructive and critical eye on Bitcoin.
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Brunon Bartkiewicz, ING Bank’s Chief Innovation Officer, said that innovation is at the core of the bank’s DNA, and therefore, the exploration of blockchain technology is only natural.
Among the 21 speakers are Arjeh van Ooijen, Senior Managing Consultant of Financial Services at IBM. His talk, “Blockchain – The next paradigm shift in information technology?”, highlights the progressive movement of technology providers into the financial space.
IBM is reportedly working on a blockchain-powered fiat currency system, seeking the cooperation of central banks. The company has also been working with Bitcoin and other cryptographic technologies in developing tomorrow’s Internet of Things, which envisions a world of smart, interconnected devices.
Among other notable speakers are Michael Maier, COO of Fidor Bank, arguably the world’s most friendly toward cryptocurrency, and several heads of Bitcoin startups.