Barclays, one of the leading financial institutions in the United Kingdom will soon be accepting bitcoin. This move will make Barclays the first UK based banking institution to accept the well-known digital currency.
The move on Barclays’ part comes as a surprise especially when the bank is known to have terminated customer accounts on multiple occasions for dealing with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. According to the announcement made by the bank, Barclays will be partnering with a bitcoin exchange to enable its people make donations to charities using bitcoin.
Barclays has been working with bitcoin based startups for a while now, and it also has a couple of labs where they are experimenting with the digital currency. Even though the current idea of partnering with a bitcoin exchange to enable bitcoin donations is redundant, the bank sees it as a way to make itself more relevant during these times where bitcoin technology is superseding the technology currently used in banking and fintech sector.
The lower transaction fee and immediate execution of transactions has made bitcoin an attractive option for individuals as well as nonprofit organizations. Banks are also looking at the possibilities of reducing their operating costs by including blockchain technology onto their everyday operations.
Barclays is also one of the banking organizations among the list of many banks who have started their own in-house research and development projects focused on bitcoin and digital currency technology. Currently Barclays has over 70 people who are working on bitcoin and blockchain technology.
Barclays has been keeping itself busy in bitcoin sector by using its Whitechapel based warehouse to host get togethers for bitcoin community members and bank officials. They are facilitating discussions between startups, academicians and government during these get togethers.
Another UK based initiative called Innovate Finance is also exploring bitcoin technology as one of the tools to foster innovation in fintech sector.