Swedish-based digital currency startup Safello has signed a proof-of-concept deal with UK bank Barclays to examine what advantages FinTech solutions could offer the financial institution.
Making the announcement during the June 22 demo day for the Barclays Accelerator program, Safello is celebrating the deal to explore blockchain technology with the major bank. The startup will work closely with staff from the bank. Safello CEO and Co-Founder Frank Schuil said:
“[The blockchain could be used] at first as a way to optimize existing operations, [then later] as a complete new infrastructure to handle all kinds of financial transactions and p2p interactions.”
Speaking to Cointelegraph, Schuil explained what this proof-of-concept signing with Barclays means for the company:
“Safello has always been on the forefront of cooperation with the traditional financial players. This solidifies this direction in a major way and it serves as a open invitation to other traditional financial players that are looking at blockchain. In that sense, there is no greater validation than doing a proof of concept with Barclays.”
The accelerator program Safello took part in saw 10 startups spend 13 weeks working with staff from Barclays, with access to some of the bank's internal data, to prepare a pitch for the bank's decisionmakers. Such tech programs are proving popular among banks, with Deutsche Bank announcing three innovation labs in the EU and U.S. earlier this month.
Going further into depth about how the Safello sees its tech as potentially helping the financial institution, Schuil described how he sees the blockchain offering advantages for banks immediately within existing operations, and further into the future:
“There is a good understanding that blockchain technologies provide a frictionless and low-cost platform of international payments and beyond. The adoption of these technologies will go through different phases. At first as a way to optimize existing operations, but over time as a complete new infrastructure to handle all kinds of financial transactions and p2p interactions.”
Commenting on the conclusion of the program, Derek White, Barclays' chief design and digital officer — a role that involves “embracing disruptive technologies” — explained why the UK high street bank is backing FinTech companies:
“Today is about celebrating the successes, partnership and an exciting future with some of the leading startups in the fintech ecosystem right now. At Barclays, we’re embracing the digital revolution, exploring innovations early on so that we can help to shape their development and co-create the future of financial services with these startups.”
Barclays is regarded to be one of the UK's “big four” banks, which between them serve just under 75% of the UK's consumer banking market. Safello was founded in Stockholm in 2013 as a digital currency exchange. It previously made headlines through its charity work, and fast verification system for Swedish customers.