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UBS CEO More Interested In Blockchain Than Bitcoin

As UBS continues its exploration into blockchain technology, the financial institution’s (FI) CEO Sergio Ermotti told reporters at CNBC his views on the tool.

Reports on Friday (Oct. 27) highlighted Ermotti’s remarks on blockchain, as the CEO explained he has more faith in the future of distributed ledger technology than in that of cryptocurrencies.

According to Ermotti, he doesn’t particularly like cryptocurrencies.

“I think that needs to be defined,” he told the news outlet, “but I believe there is a future for blockchain technology, and technology will play a big role in changing and reshaping our industry.”

UBS is collaborating with IBM and other financial institutions to explore blockchain use cases. Their initiative, Batavia, focuses primarily on trade and trade finance. Earlier this month, UBS and IBM announced new FI partners joining the effort, including Commerzbank.

“Our strategy there is very simple,” Sergio Ermotti said of the Batavia project. “We try to initiate and get as many other financial institutions and clients into teams, like trade finance, with other banks, and IBM was a successful venture.” The executive added that efforts to deploy blockchain in financial services are aimed at helping FIs “operate and transact at a cheaper, more efficient level.”

The remarks were made after UBS Group released its latest earnings report.

Despite hitting a 14 percent increase in net profits for the quarter, the FI still missed estimates.

“I’m very pleased with the good results we saw across all our business divisions and particularly pleased with the fact that our investments in the last three years in the Asia-Pacific region, despite the very challenging environment, are paying off,” Ermotti told CNBC. “There’s a new billionaire in Asia every two to three days, so Asia continues to be a fantastic opportunity for us.”

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