Just last week, distributed ledger startup R3CEV triggered a wave of excitement when it announced an additional 13 banks had joined its project to bring blockchain technology to Wall Street.
With a total of 22 banking partners, R3CEV’s announcement is the latest sign that blockchain technology is enjoying increasing popularity among the world’s biggest banks – some of which had gone public with their interest in it in the past – but the truth is that blockchain technology seems to have everyone talking.
Who’s said what and why? CoinDesk has rounded up some of the most interesting crypto-related comments made by figures from the world of finance.
1. Jamie Dimon
Jamie Dimon, the chairman and president of JP Morgan Chase reportedly worth $1.1bn, is notorious for his skeptical comments about bitcoin made during an interview with CNBC‘s Andrew Ross Sorkin, during which he told the reporter that the digital currency was “a terrible store of value” that could be replicated “over and over”.
In April this year, Dimon spoke about bitcoin again, commenting on the digital currency in his annual letter to JP Morgan shareholders:
“You all have read about bitcoin, merchants building their own networks, PayPal and PayPal look-alikes. Payments are a critical business for us – and we are quite good at it. But there is much for us to learn in terms of real-time systems, better encryption techniques and a reduction of costs and ‘pain points’ for customers.”
More recently, the financial bigwig spoke about bitcoin and its underlying distributed ledger during a 40-minute question-and-answer session at the Barclays Global Finance Services Conference.
During his talk, Dimon alluded to the fact that blockchain technology was enjoying increasing attention from many of the world’s banks. He said: “We have a study group on this whole thing. I think most of the banks do at this point.”
Blythe Masters, a former JP Morgan senior executive – who famously swapped Wall Street for a crypto startup earlier this year – has spoken about the potential of blockchain technology on various occasions.
Masters, credited with creating the credit default swap, said she had been initially surprised by the way in which blockchain technology could potentially solve many of the issues currently plaguing the financial system at Consensus 2015 – CoinDesk’s inaugural conference, held in New York.
Earlier in the year, Masters spoke at the Exponential Finance Conference and said:
“Distributed ledger technology does have the potential to be disruptive of certain business models. But it has at least as much potential to be enormously empowering of existing business models in terms of making them lower cost, more efficient and less risky.”
3. Mariano Belinky
Speaking to CoinDesk, back in April, the managing director at Santander InnoVentures – the megabank’s venture capital fund – shared his his opinion on cryptocurrency technology and commented on why he thought consumer adoption did not currently matter.
Like many of his contemporaries, Belinky emphasised the potential of bitcoin’s underlying distributed ledger:
“We shouldn’t be focused on the adoption of a digital currency. The underlying technology is a powerful one and I think that we will see adoption of that technology much sooner.”
Following this, Belinky told Business Insider that the bank had identified 20 to 25 use cases where blockchain technology could be applied.
4. Debra Brackeen
The global head at Citi’s Innovation Center also discussed bitcoin and its underlying technology during her session at Consensus 2015, noting that there had been a transition from speaking about the digital currency to now focusing on blockchain technology.
“I don’t know whether I would agree that banks have been quick to engage. If the world is moving faster than you, then that’s a big disadvantage. I think there is a general trend, specifically about blockchain. I think there is every reason for financial institutions and banks to be looking at this [blockchain technology].”
5. Alex Batlin
Swiss investment bank UBS surprised many earlier this year when it announced plans to open a blockchain research lab in London’s Canary Wharf district.
Alex Batlin, the former engineer heading up UBS’ London-based blockchain innovation lab, told CoinDesk:
“In principle it’s [blockchain technology] probably one of the biggest confluences of technology and business right now.”
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