Following a successful Coinbase integration pilot, the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) has expanded its bitcoin integration to allow all account holders to connect and view their Coinbase accounts, alongside the rest of the USAA accounts and financial services, on USAA.com and the USAA Mobile App. The news marks the first consumer-facing bitcoin integration to be widely adopted by a Fortune 500 financial services provider.
USAA integrated Coinbase as part of a pilot program triggered in November 2015. The integration, led by interest in bitcoin among USAA’s membership, allowed a selected group of employees and members to connect and view their bitcoin balances on Coinbase from the USAA online portal and mobile app.
According to Jon Cholak, the lead investment associate for USAA’s Corporate Development team, USAA is traditionally “very good about getting in front of emerging technology trends,” noting that the company’s integration with Coinbase puts it “at the forefront of the financial services industries.”
USAA explores blockchain technology
USAA, a San Antonio, Texas-based financial institution, provides insurance, banking, investments, retirement products, and advice to 11.2 million current and former members of the US military and their families.
In January 2015, the firm participated in Coinbase’s US$75 million Series C funding round alongside the New York Stock Exchange, BBVA Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Andreessen Horowitz, among many others. The move, according to USAA’s head of corporate development Victor Pascucci, was a part of USAA’s policy of keeping pace with emerging technologies.
Besides allowing members to monitor their bitcoin balances via the Coinbase integration, USAA is also exploring how it could potentially implement blockchain technology into the organization to make processes more efficient.
In an interview with Reuters, Alex Marquez, managing director of corporate development at USAA, indicated that his company had created a large team researching the potential of blockchain technology to help USAA decentralize its operations such as the back office.
“We have serious interest in the blockchain and we think the technology would have an impact on the organization,” Marquez said. “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.”
What do you think of USAA’s bitcoin integration? Will it drive bitcoin to the mainstream? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Image courtesy of frankieleon, via Flickr; Coinbase.