Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) has joined the ranks of cryptocurrency enthusiasts.
The Swiss banking giant will open a new research lab in London later this month to explore how the blockchain technology central to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be used for financial services, The Wall Street Journal reported today.
Other companies examining blockchain technology include Ripple Labs, headed by Prosper founder Chris Larsen; Bitreserve, a company headed by CNET founder Halsey Minor; and the Stellar Development Foundation, a nonprofit founded with Stripe's support by Jed McCaleb of Mt. Gox fame. A spokesperson for UBS Americas did not comment when reached for more information on the project.
The supporting blockchain technology behind cryptocurrencies has been seen as a way of increasing both the transparency and speed of payments, though work remains to be done on scaling and adapting that tech for non-cryptocurrency transactions.
Wells Fargo, Stripe's U.S. banking partner, also examined utilizing blockchain technology for its business during 2013 and early 2014, according to a lengthy February report by The New York Observer. According to the report, the bank took a step back when McCaleb's Mt. Gox exchange collapsed after losing hundreds of millions of worth of bitcoin in a cybertheft.