The CEOs of two major European banks have today emphasised how blockchain technology can revolutionise the banking industry.
Talking to CNBC at the Money 2020 fintech conference today in Amsterdam, Ralph Hamers - CEO of the Dutch ING Group - was keen to stress that the banking industry is getting on board with the new technology - commenting :
"So, if you look at blockchain… I think the banks are really working on this now because the potential is so huge and if the top five, six global banks would put their minds to it and agree on a standard, you could force (that) standard onto the globe… And I think that you can actually then get to a timeframe of five or six years in which this will work"
While cryptocurrencies have largely been seen by their proponents as a challenge to the traditional banking system, the blockchain technology that undergirds digital currencies has recently been viewed by banks as a positive for the industry - insofar as decentralisaiton is seen to reduce inefficiencies and help prevent fraud.
In this vein, Chief Executive of Spanish banking group BBVA - Carlos Torres Villa - was also enthusiastic about the new tech:
“We believe there is huge promise in blockchain, it’s early times in the technology…It really brings trust in relationships in ways that were not possible for…It really reduces the need for intermediaries, things can go faster, more transparent, more efficient.”
Adding that the bank was already putting the tech to real-world use through its €75m loan to Spanish tech company Indra:
“We did the first bilateral negotiation and execution of a loan, with Indra…entirely in the blockchain with a private ledger and then published that onto the ethereum ledger, it’s [these] kinds of experiments that we’re doing to test out the tech that has such great promise.”