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Banks need to understand blockchain technology and explore its long-term benefits, according to the head of group payments and operations at the Bank of Ireland and chairman of the European Banking Association (EBA) working group.

Speaking at EBA 2015, a networking and research event which gathers European payment professionals, Vincent Brennan told Finextra:

"We see [the blockchain] as a technology that while relatively novel and new is one that if you look into two years, five years or 10 years, would be very important for banks and now is the time to start understanding it and looking at what its opportunities could be."

During the interview, Brennan outlined the advantages of a decentralised ledger such as the blockchain in terms of foreign exchange remittances, faster payments and collateral management.

Brennan's statement follows the publication of the EBA's Crypto technologies, a major IT innovation and catalyst for change report, which highlighted the blockchain's potential to improve banking, reduce costs and improve product offerings.

Notably, the EBA's report, released earlier this month, largely dismissed digital currencies such as bitcoin, but acknowledged its application was essential to gain a wider understanding of crypto technology.

Vincent Brennan image via Finextra video.

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