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Spanish megabank Santander has been experimenting with blockchain technology. Its head of research and development will discuss applications of the technology at Consensus 2015

Twenty billion dollars a year – that’s how much banks could save on cross-border payments, compliance and securities trading if they used blockchain tech to move money and assets around the world, according to a report co-written by Spanish megabank Santander published last month.

Julio Faura is one of the Santander executives playing a crucial role in making that massive cost-saving a reality. He commissioned a report on bitcoin and banks last August, making waves because it was one of the first public instances of a big bank investigating the bitcoin space.

Faura is director of research and development at Santander, where he leads its efforts in innovation. He also works on the bank’s M&A deals and contributes to its venture-investing work in the fintech space.

julio-faura-headshot-2Julio Faura, innovation director at Santander

Faura knows high-tech and high-finance equally well. He started his career as a chip designer at semiconductor manufacturer SIDSA. He then moved on to consult for McKinsey, focusing on financial institutions in Spain, Europe and Latin America.

Faura landed at Santander in 2007 where he took on key roles in consumer finance, investment banking and technology and operations. As head of innovation at Santander now, Faura focuses on cryptocurrencies, mobile payments and e-commerce.

Santander is the world’s tenth largest bank, according to Forbesannual ranking, and it’s the largest bank in the Eurozone by market capitalisation.

Although Santander remains coy about its exact involvement with blockchain technology, Faura told Business Insider recently that the bank has a team working on the technology internally and that international payments is one area where blockchain tech shows potential.

The Spanish bank’s venture arm, Santander InnoVentures, is just as enthusiastic about blockchain technology. Its managing director, Mariano Belinky, has said the technology could “transform” banking.

Faura will discuss Santander’s involvement in the blockchain space at Consensus 2015.

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