Even as many large banks are actively resisting the digital currency revolution, some – like the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) – are embracing it in unexpected ways. According to RBS subsidiary NatWest’s head of technology, Neil Bellamy, the bank has recently been working with outside cryptocurrency firms and has created its own digital currency that is being traded and settled between RBS’ various banks.
The experiment is part of the banking giant’s broader strategy of embracing innovation by working with innovators, rather than viewing new technologies as threats. As part of that strategy, RBS has been operating innovation centers where businesses that create financial technology are able to test their products in an environment that is designed to simulate the real marketplace. That’s allowed the bank to test a variety of mobile pay systems and other financial innovations, as well as distributed ledger technologies.
According to Bellamy, NatBank and RBS as a whole view these new innovations as opportunities to better serve their customers. At the same time, the RBS strategy of working with tech innovators rather than just co-opting their technologies is a boon to the nascent industry as well.