The three largest banks in the Netherlands—ABN Amro, ING and Rabobank—are investigating whether to use blockchain technology for their payments systems.
Mark Buitenhek of ING told the Dutch media outlet RTL Nieuws that the current payment system has always operated through banks and central banks, which monitor all commands and ensure that operations run smoothly.
This method has been the same for 30 years, stated Buitenhek. "We have spent the last twenty years operating on what we had put down in the seventies and eighties."
The technology underlying Bitcoin could speed up the money transfer process, and the fact that network runs continuously may benefit financial institutions, which could also operate continuously, even during the nighttime and on weekends.
Robobank’s Wiebe Draijer stated, "In this industry, there are many developments going on. It is interesting to see if such an innovation has a future."
ABN Amro also expressed optimism, and a company spokesperson said the bank is examining the technology behind Bitcoin for their own use.
Earlier this year, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), the Netherlands' Central Bank, wrote a critical article about Bitcoin, but shared optimism regarding blockchain technology. A DNB spokesperson told RTL Nieuws:
"The DNB agrees that banks should examine how they can improve their payment systems. We have no objection if they also look at the technology behind Bitcoin."
Multinational retail chain Spar joins 'Arnhem Bitcoincity' project
Last week, Dutch retail chain company Spar announced that its outlet located in the city of Arnhem, the 'Spar Arnhem Centraal,' became the Netherlands' first supermarket to embrace Bitcoin.
The rather new supermarket, which opened in March, is located between Arnhem Central Station and the city center, according to an official announcement.
Spar Arnhem Centraal joins 40-plus businesses that have taken part in the 'Arnhem Bitcoinstad' initiative aiming to turn the Dutch city into a Bitcoin hotspot.
The retailer's acceptance marks the first franchised supermarket in the Netherlands to accept Bitcoin, which could likely encourage other supermarkets in the country to follow the lead. The company stated the expansion of the newly adopted payment method to other franchises would depend on the first store's results.
Initiated in May, the Arnhem Bitcoincity project holds the ambition of enabling local customers to pay their everyday expenses using the digital currency. In October, the city became the site of the world's densest concentration of merchants accepting Bitcoin.
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