Barclays becomes the first high street bank to accept Bitcoin

Another milestone in the mainstream acceptance of Bitcoin has been reached as Barclays, one of the world’s largest financial institutions and a major handler of interbank FX order flow, has partnered with a Bitcoin exchange in order to begin accepting virtual currency. The bank has plans to accept Bitcoin later this year, commencing with providing […]

Barclays FX

Another milestone in the mainstream acceptance of Bitcoin has been reached as Barclays, one of the world’s largest financial institutions and a major handler of interbank FX order flow, has partnered with a Bitcoin exchange in order to begin accepting virtual currency.

The bank has plans to accept Bitcoin later this year, commencing with providing the facility for retail customers to make charitable donations in Bitcoin, followed by full acceptance.

Currently, Barclays has not announced which Bitcoin exchange it has partnered with, however the bank considers the technological advantages which Bitcoin offers to be a potential means of reducing infrastructure costs.

Venture capital investors have provided Bitcoin technology companies with substantial funding this year, and the actual technology behind Bitcoin such as blockchain, and secure wallet solutions, is what is attracting the investments, rather than the actual currency itself.

The Bitcoin is really a vehicle for the technological advancements which could benefit the entire financial sector, hence record breaking investments earlier this year having been secured by firms such as 21 Inc which raised $120 million in start up funding.

Silicon Roundabout 

In congruence with Conservative chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne’s plans to move London away from its traditional banking roots toward becoming a global financial technology center, giving rise to the regeneration of previously industrial wastelands such as Shoreditch which has now earned the moniker “Silicon Roundabout” due to the number of financial technology startups that now inhabit the area.

Barclays has joined those startups, using a refurbished warehouse in nearby Whitechapel, East London, to host meetups between Bitcoin enthusiasts. The club-like nature of the Bitcoin fraternity has resulted in several meetups in various locations globally over the last two years, notable examples being BTC Global’s events in Buenos Aires, Argentina which amassed over 120 attendees each month during 2013, the year President Cristina Kirchner placed capital control laws in the Peso, and at Google Campus in Tel Aviv, Israel, where technology enthusiasts gathered every week for 6 months during the same year to develop peer to peer payment solutions and Bitcoin ATM technology.

Clearly, Barclays’ avantgarde approach is bringing the fraternity-esque nature of Bitcoin into the realms of financial institutions, thus combining them with synergy.

Featured image compliments to Mtaylor848 via Wikipedia.

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