Barclays is betting big on technology. The UK branch is activating its Android application next month with “touch and go” payments over its financial network. The app will become the first UK bank, NFC-enabled touchless system offered to citizens of the region. Since Apple Pay started servicing the United Kingdom many banks have been eager to jump into the contactless payment realm. Britain is showing great signs of increased popularity for cashless systems and Barclays wants a piece of this action. The finance provider is vesting its energy into a lot of new technology and jumping over many competitors. Cashless payments and distributed ledger technologies seem to be what this particular bank is after.
One move the bank is eying is financial tech applications and its associated protocol. With their initiative to push these ideas forward they’ve introduced Barclays Accelerator, a program designed to get financial tech startups off the ground floor. And Blockchain technology is one innovation the bank is heavily interested in within it’s accelerator program. Because of this interest, three block chain startups will be joining the Accelerator this spring, bringing distributed ledger technology to the Barclay testing grounds. Safello, Atlas Card, and Blocktrace all have the underlying Bitcoin technology infused with their services and they’re using the banks accelerator for their genesis. The technology behind Bitcoin has the bank excited and it shows. The UK bank now has two Bitcoin “labs” located in Notting Hill and Old Street London that welcomes bitcoin enthusiasts, coders, startups and blockchain investors. Derek White, the Digital Officer who runs the blockchain department at Barclays told Business Insider:
“As a heritage organization, we can either embrace disruption or be disrupted,”
— Derek White, Digital Officer, Barclays
Barclays sees that the use and growing popularity of these digital age tools are incredibly lucrative, because it’s the financial market people want. Cashless trades and cryptocurrency has become very popular in the British region. As the technology evolves within the likes of contactless cards and devices working with NFC technology, the bank is running with these applications at a fast pace. Barclaycard and its cousins PayTag and bPay bracelet have had a huge success in the UK. And Barclays has also noticed that Bitcoin and its surrounding industry leaders have been creeping steadily into the Kingdom. Bitcoin broker and exchange giant, Coinbase announced just last April that it was allowed to expand its services in the UK region. With this digital gold rush happening globally, Barclays investors and venture capitalists from the country are starting to see the distributed ledger’s true potential.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that Bitcoin is part of an even bigger story: financial institutions, including Barclays, are now considering how the technology underpinning digital currencies – the blockchain – could in itself revolutionize finance” — BarclaysCorporate.com
Currently the Barclay card’s app is for Android users only, and does not support Iphones. The company may decide to work with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay in the future, however the bank is deciding to make its own moves on its own terms. With all these efforts in contactless technology and heavily vested research with the blockchain technology, Barclays, UK seems to believe these innovations are very important. Disruptive technology is moving ahead and has created a flourishing new economy. According to the analysis service accenture, “London is benefitting from the FinTech boom.” With its innovating moves in the blockchain and contactless payment world, Barclays is on the prowl for entrepreneurs who are melding technology and finance into one.
Barclays is stepping into the notion that financial technology and cryptocurrency is the wave of the future. They are one bank who’s been toying with both Bitcoin related startups and discussing blockchain technology together. Users want these banks to take Bitcoin seriously as it’s the longest distributed ledger in the existence of the digital age.
Word on the street is a lot of banks are talking blockchain technology only. Bitcoin enthusiasts believe they are missing the entire appreciation and value of Bitcoin’s great network effect. Cryptocurrency is making headway and Barclays sees its dinner time. However, most ask “banks will come for the blockchain, but will they stay for the Bitcoin?”
What do you think about Barclays and Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below.
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