Santander joined the Blockchain revolution becoming the first UK bank to use the tech for international payments, using blockchain technology from @Ripple.
Santander just stepped forward in the Blockchain revolution becoming the first UK bank to use blockchain technology for international payments, using Ripple, a technology the bank has supported for some time.
As the Fintech 2.0 revolution moves forward Blockchain seems to be in the forefront of the mutation in the financial industry.
These series of changes are causing major disruption for the banking / financial market, but also the digital technology and its impact in other markets, such as travel and entertainment.
Pre-digital business models and processes are being rendered obsolete, and billions of dollars of value are shifting to “new model” suppliers as we speak. Banks are aware of these changes and the opportunities and challenges they present. Many have decided they need to participate in this disruptive trend by actively supporting fintechs – the list includes Citi, Santander, UBS, BBVA, Barclays, NAB and Capital One, among others.
The R3 Consortium – Blockchain Financial Research
The R3 Consortium that leads a consortium of 42 financial companies in research and development of blockchain usage in the financial system, founded circa 2014 by David Rutter has been particular active leading the banking industry.
This R3 consortium aggregates top banks as of September 15, 2015it had 9 financial companies: Barclays, BBVA, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan,Royal Bank of Scotland, State Street, and UBS. On September 29, 2015 an additional 13 financial companies joined: Bank of America, BNY Mellon, Citi, Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Morgan Stanley, National Australia Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken, Société Générale, and Toronto-Dominion Bank.
These banks are conscious of the challenges of Fintech and special Blockchain are bringing to the financial / banking industry. They launched incubation and acceleration initiatives, and created investment vehicles to harness, foster and scale up innovation. While banks have disadvantages relative to start-ups, they also have advantages.
Being regulated is a burden in many ways, but it creates consumer confidence and can be a critical element to heal the terrible image of banks close to audiences. While the long history of banks and financial organisations brings legacy tech systems that are in many ways obsolete as we move with it, in the other hand it also builds trusted brands (albeit tested by the global financial crisis and the new fintech developments) and provides rich historic data, not to mention a banking licence and a sizeable head start in compliance initiatives.
Santander moves a step forward with a new offer to his clients with Blockchain
Santander is now the first UK bank to use the disruptive revolutionary blockchain technology for international payments, using Ripple, a technology the bank has supported for some time.
Santander Bank is one of the leading Fintech banks and advanced a step forward in a time when a lot of banks are still discussing / researching or trying to wait to see what is going to happen in the accelerated Fintech disruption and special Blockchain customers can now talk to their SmartBank app and ask about their card transactions, eliminating the need to manually search through statements to identify retailers and calculate spend.
In a phase one roll-out of the voice-assisted technology developed by natural language communications firm Nuance, iOS users of the SmartBank app can ask simple questions about their card spend such as:
- How much did I spend on New Year’s Eve?
- Show my transactions for the last week
- How much did I spend on Café Nero this month?
- Where did I spend the most money this month?
In a second phase, due for release later this year, customer will be able to fully service their accounts. This includes advanced features such as the ability to make payments, report lost cards, set up account alerts and answer a broad range of questions about spend.
Nathan Bostock, chief executive officer Santander UK says: “Technology is rapidly changing how customers bank and pay on the move. We want banking to be simple, personal and fair and we believe technology, like voice banking, will play a transformational role in the way we add value.”
Transactions appear in real time, retailers are highlighted by name, spend can be calculated by day, month or year and customers with a 1I2I3 credit card can also ask about the cashback they have earned. If users wish to know the total amount spent at a certain supermarket or store this year, the tool adds it up for them, saving them time having to trawl through transactions.
Sigga Sigurdardottir, head of customer and innovation at Santander says: “The more customers use it, the more intuitive it becomes. We believe it has huge potential to become an integral part of the future banking experience.”
Blockchain is better known as the network tech infrastructure that enables virtual currencies to pass through from sender to receiver. For banks and financial organisations, it can enable the transfer of data and value in a more accurate and faster way. All transactions are recorded uniquely that also helps to improve fraud protection.
Security and regulatory compliance are central to all activity undertaken at Santander and this app has undergone the same rigorous testing all new technology goes through ahead of roll-out, said the Santander bank team.