British bank Barclays appears to be the latest to enter the blockchain arena, with Barclays UK announcing a new ventures unit to study “disruptive technology”.
The announcement appeared to dance closely around the blockchain topic without directly pointing to cryptocurrency, explaining its mission to innovate in pursuit of “disruptive” themes within the newly created Barclays UK Ventures unit.
According to the announcement, the unit would “accelerate the growth of new business lines… working independently of traditional units” and “develop new customer propositions around major areas of disruptive technology”.
“We intend to drive this initiative by building a strong team of technologists, developers and entrepreneurs within BUKV, mandated to operate independently of, but in partnership with, our core operations,” explained Ben Davey, CEO of Barclays UK Ventures.
Notably missing from the announcement were key terms connected to cryptocurrency, although a sheepish reference to startup operations was unsurprising. It could have been a cautious move, given that it was only two years ago when legal charges were brought against the bank after failing to deliver on hefty claims on a separate venture.
Allegations that the Barclays company had rigged the stock market, committed market manipulation and price tampering, were silenced with a USD 70 million settlement paid by Barclays to the state of New York and to the Securities Exchange Commission.
Even with the existing controversy surrounding the technology, banks will be keen to get a foot in the door in the cryptocurrency space, especially when financial leaders like Mastercard recently began a blockchain exploration initiative.