Banks are waiting to see how regulators and fintech companies respond to blockchain and cryptocurrency, says expert and author Rebecca Harding.
Despite having a ‘healthy scepticism’ around crypto, she told Forbes, banks are putting a lot of resources behind the technology so as not to miss out.
Harding said: “A lot of banks are healthily skeptical about Bitcoin and blockchain. They see the need to invest in it to keep up with technological developments, but they’re waiting to see where regulators fall and are working closely with financial technology companies to make sure they’re not behind the curve.
“There is a lot of money being poured into [blockchain and cryptocurrencies]. Banks are at risk of becoming nothing more than large fintech companies, people in the industry tell me.”
Banks have so far been wary of crypto at best, and hostile at worst. In June, the FCA warned UK banks to prepare for ‘high-risk’ cryptocurrencies or else become victims of the inevitable rise of cybercrime the technology could bring about.
But, while Harding is optimistic about Bitcoin’s staying power, she warns against banks becoming too embroiled in the world and lose sight of what has made blockchain such a big deal in the financial landscape.
“Bitcoin is here to stay,” she added. “It’s important. But as traditional banks increasingly adopt the features of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies they can, it will become less appealing to fewer people.”