Dutch Bank’s Innovation Chief Dismisses Bitcoin

The head of innovation at ABN Amro has said the Dutch state-owned bank wants to stay away from bitcoin.

Sep 30, 2015 at 10:23 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 11:53 a.m. UTC

The head of innovation at ABN Amro has said the Dutch state-owned bank wants to stay away from bitcoin, but is interested in blockchain technology.

, Arjan van Os, the head of the bank's innovation centre, cited the bitcoin's associations with drug trafficking and illicit activities as the reason behind the bank's decision to distance itself from the digital currency.

He said:

"We want to prevent bitcoin's poor image reflecting on what we do with the blockchain, it's underlying technology. We see many opportunities [in the blockchain]. Bitcoin itself is outmoded."

His comments follow an article, titled 'The Next Big Thing' and published on the bank's website in which he explained the basic principles of distributed ledgers and posed the question of how banks could remain at the forefront of innovation.

"[Blockchain technology] has been tested, it is proven that it works and is used. However, the degree to which it is applied is still limited ... This is the time when we need to gather as much information as possible, should try all possibilities and should form networks of financial institutions, FinTech companies, start-ups and software experts ... We must be prepared to assume a new role in the financial sector. The digital world is indeed constantly in motion," he wrote.

Blockchain trend

Van Os' comments come amid an increasing interest in blockchain technology from some of the world's biggest banks and financial institutions.

Just yesterday, distributed ledger startup R3CEV announced the addition of 13 new banking partners – including Bank of America, BNY Mellon, Citi and HSBC – bringing the total number of banks involved in its project to 22.

Further afield, the chairman of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) recently addressed blockchain's potential to transform the financial system during a speech made at Australia's Carnegie Mellon University.

Earlier this year, Nasdaq OMX Group Inc made the headlines as reports suggested it was exploring how a blockchain-based solution could change the way in which shares are sold and transferred manually.

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