Why Barclays Is Banking On Bitcoin

For the past few months, Barclays’ name has been showing up in stories about bitcoin. And over the weekend, Barclays made it clear that its not backing down on its support for the digital currency.

While Wall Street banks in the U.S. debate the merit of the currency, it appears Britain’s High Street bank is ready to take its commitment to bitcoin to the next level. Barclays has already been testing the digital currency in labs in London, but the bank says its going to enable consumers to make charity donations using bitcoin.

With the help of private partnerships, Barclays plans to use this as a testing ground to see bitcoin’s potential in the payments industry. And according to The Sunday Times, a U.K.-based publication, Derek White, chief design and digital officer at Barclays, confirmed this move when he said, “Barclays is enabling the bitcoin exchange to help charities accept bitcoin.”

While the U.K. and London specifically may be viewed as the hub for bitcoin innovation, that doesn’t mean that banks in the U.S. aren’t warming up to the idea of talking about how bitcoin’s technology could innovate the financial industry. A New York Times piece last week reported that representatives from 15 different financial institutions met at Bank of America recently to review how the blockchain could play a role in the foreign currency exchange market.

Of course, with bitcoin’s volatility and connection to crime, that has some financial execs worried — including plenty who’ve voiced their support for heavily regulating the digital currency. But for now it appears financial institutions and their leaders are not dismissing bitcoin, particularly because of what the technology that powers it could bring to the financial table.

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