There has been a sharp and sudden turn around by bankers and the banking sector when it comes to cryptocurrencies. It was less than four years ago when almost every bank, banker and financier was either laughing at Bitcoin or had never heard about it.
Today, it is almost impossible not to find a blockchain or cryptocurrency division somewhere in the major banks around the world. All of these banking behemoths have identified the once puny and pointless Bitcoin and its associated technology and ecosystem, is now a significant force for payments in the future.
This is a generalized perception, but there are cases that have cropped up that point towards this. The most obvious being the turn-around in JPMorgan. The Wall Street bank’s CEO Jamie Dimon once famously berated Bitcoin as a fraud only for the bank to bring out its own cryptocurrency a few years later.
Even in today’s world, 2019, a real turning point for Blockchain in banking, especially, we are seeing indications that bankers and financiers are looking to decentralized cryptocurrencies for what they can offer.
Speaking during the Sibos 2019 conference held recently in one of the world’s financial capitals, London, Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing turned attention towards the problems of the global economy, the serious challenges his and other banks are facing and emphasized the need to adapt to a rapidly changing environment.
This was in line with his bank losing one-fifth of its workforce in the ever-changing space. Sewing may not have mentioned cryptocurrencies directly, but his eyes on the future and the fintech space were noticeable.
More so Yawar Shah, chairman of Swift, which cryptocurrencies can be seen as direct competition to, was happy to point out their emergence and the role they will play.
“The financial industry is undergoing an extraordinary change, because of new entrants like Facebook’s Libra and the emergence of technologies like crypto assets,” said Shah.
Shah’s presentation was about the future of payments and recognized four factors that influence their development. Three of them, which include the emergence of crypto assets, changing technology, and competition from ecosystems, are in one way or another related to the growth, adoption, and expansion of cryptocurrencies.
While banks now look to find their way with cryptocurrencies, Blockchain, and even their versions of coins and tokens, it is exciting time we find ourselves in. Legitimacy has been given to space, but it remains to be seen how it can be shaped from here.