Bitcoin has a future in international banking, says SWIFT panel


It seems the correspondent banking sector is excited about the potential of Bitcoin to speed up and simply international transactions.

At a panel meeting organised by SWIFT, the transactions processor for the banking industry, industry figures said that they are looking at how the cryptocurrency could open up opportunities to perform payments overseas without having to set up a specific branch in that country.

“We really can’t close our eyes,” said Cheryl Gurz, managing director of the emerging technology department at Bank of New York Mellon Treasury Services.

“If we as traditional correspondent bankers don’t keep looking and determining where [cryptocurrency technology] will take us, new entrants will completely take our space. What is the technology that is enabling Bitcoin currency to move effectively with more visibility and at lower costs. How can we take that into our current systems and make them more efficient, faster, cheaper and more transparent?”

Having dominated the market with little competition, SWIFT is now under pressure to innovate and is looking to Bitcoin as a possible route. Political tensions with Russia mean that the country is keen to sever links with the US banking system and, in particular, to cut its dependence on systems such as SWIFT and create its own alternative.