According to sources from Barclays, one of the UKs largest banks, both it and UBS are likely to be the first banks to begin experimenting with the new technology called Ethereum, which will be using bitcoin 2.0.
This new technology provides a distributed computing platform running with an open-source code which means greater transparency and easier development of new systems to run with it and has been created by the non-profit organisation Ethereum. In the same way as bitcoin its value token, which is known as ether, can also be mined on its network.
Although Barclays has confirmed that it would be interested in trialling the new Ethereum technology it did go on to say that in the initial stages it would only be used by a small number of actual users, somewhere in the region of 100 to 200 to begin with. Barclays went on to add that this was the very beginning of the process and that those involved in the trial phase would only be people that were using the technology to build the systems using it.
Barclays advised that the reasoning behind the trialling of the Ethereum technology was due to it having pockets of innovation throughout its whole banking system and that it was doing as much as possible to promote efficiency at its investment bank as well as trying to promote social good through its accelerators and innovation labs.
Due to the obvious risks involved in the larger banks it would not really be viable to test technology like this on a large scale initially, especially with the current debugging issues that go along with Ethereum in its early form. It did, however, acknowledge that having it running alongside existing systems in a limited way would be the best way to begin testing any next gen ledger technology.
When it came to banks looking to get in on the blockchain action the Ethereum platform would be ‘the only game in town’ according the Ken Kappler, the communications officer for Ethereum during his briefing shortly before the Ethereum Frontier launch.
Work is apparently underway for the possible introduction of permissioned ledgers which should make the Ethereum platform a more viable option for a large number of banks. If technology like this were to be implemented it is more likely that it would run alongside the platform rather than as a direct part of it due to it not being part of the roadmap they had created. Like the rest of Ethereum though the technology would also be non-profit.
A source for Ethereum has said that the value of technology like this for banks depends a great deal on them working together and being more open to this kind of technology but unfortunately at the moment they seem more interested in remaining competitive than embracing new ideas.