Royal Bank of Canada Exploring Blockchain Loyalty Program

Royal Bank of Canada president and CEO Dave McKay issued new comments on the blockchain at a roundtable discussion today.

AccessTimeIconNov 12, 2015 at 8:53 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 11:59 a.m. UTC

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) president and CEO Dave McKay called bitcoin's underlying distributed ledger a "quantum innovation" during a roundtable discussion today.

At the RBC Capital Markets conference in New York, McKay discussed RBC’s ongoing experimentations with the blockchain, stating that the bank may seek to launch a loyalty program that uses the technology sometime in 2016, American Banker reports.

In his remarks, McKay indicated he believes the bank’s experiments with the blockchain need to be introduced with "caution", echoing statements made by the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) commissioner earlier this week.

"It is a brand-new technology, and what do we really know about it? How cyber-secure is it? We are going to learn a lot more about it," McCay said. "Given what is at stake, it is not something you can rush to market with and fix as you go. You want it to work."

According to American Banker, McKay suggested that RBC was currently looking for low-risk ways to introduce its customers to the technology, and that it felt a loyalty program was the best fit at this time.

He stated:

"It would be a nice hybrid step. A loyalty account is a good, safe currency to start with."

McCay was less interested in bitcoin’s use case as a digital currency, according to the report, noting that he doesn’t believe this application solves consumer problems.

Notably, RBC was one of 13 major banks that announced a partnership with distributed ledger startup R3CEV this September. R3 that has so far attracted 25 of the world's largest financial institutions.

As such, McKay stressed that a collaborative approach was perhaps the best way for the technology to reach mass market.

According to company estimates, RBC is the largest bank in Canada by assets and market capitalization, employing 78,000 workers and boasting $343bn in assets under management as of the end of 2014.

Image credit: rmnoa357 /


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.