Swiss investment bank UBS is set to open a London-based research lab to explore the application of blockchain technology in the financial services industry.
The innovation lab, due to open later this month, will be housed at FinTech accelerator Level39 in Canary Wharf – one of London's major business districts.
A group of financial technologists will lead the initiative, which attempts to bring together experts from both the banking and FinTech sectors to examine how traditional banking can drive business growth through innovation.
Oliver Bussmann, group CIO at UBS, said in a statement:
"Our innovation lab at Level39 will provide a unique platform to explore emerging technologies such as Blockchain and crypto-currencies, and to understand the potential impact for the industry."
"We are moving away from a purely in-house innovation strategy, optimising collaboration opportunities with the growing FinTech business, start-up and investor community in an open and transparent way," he continued.
The news comes after the Swiss banking giant published an extensive report in March last year outlining the widespread benefits bitcoin's technology could offer if it was co-opted by the traditional banking system.
Britain and FinTech
Level39, credited with being Europe's largest technology accelerator for the financial and cyber industries, noted the "far-reaching" potential of blockchain technologies on its website:
"[They] have the potential to enable participants to share financial transactions on a common public ledger and therefore enhance transparency and trust while significantly reducing transaction and processing cost."
The accelerator attracted media attention in August last year when George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, withdrew £20 worth of bitcoin from an Robocoin ATM at its London's office during the Innovate Finance conference.
— Innovate Finance (@InnFin) August 6, 2014
Guest speaking at the event, Osborne outlined ambitions for the UK to become the centre of FinTech, including the UK Treasury's programme of work to assess the benefits and risks of digital currencies.
He said: "My message today is simple: we [Britain] stand at the dawn of new era of banking. Now let's get on with it."
Image via Shutterstock.