BNP Paribas, the French multinational bank and financial services company, has launched a FinTech laboratory at its New York headquarters. The laboratory will work to apply blockchain solutions to employee problems. The FinTech lab takes 5,000 square foot on the 30th floor of BNP’s offices.
Six task forces are organized to work on AI and big data, in addition to blockchain. Bruno d-Illiers, BNP’s chief operating officer of commercial investment banking, emphasized that the laboratory is open to all the employees, not just management staff. “We don’t believe that innovation is just for the senior executives. We want to engage each and every staff member,” he said.
The laboratory team aims to provide correct information about the nature of such technology as blockchain. “Many people understand blockchain, but they don’t understand the impact it will have on our business model”, d-Illier stated.
BNP Paribas’s laboratory has already launched its first project where five groups were developing blockchain proofs-of-concept for two days. The jury will select the winner today.
Blockchain trials have also been conducted by BNY Mellon and Barclays. BNY Mellon has unveiled a test system that works alongside its existing transaction records system and uses blockchain to create a backup record of its brokerage transactions. The solution is called ‘BDS 360’ and serves as part of the broader blockchain program of BNY. The bank collaborates with other members of R3 consortium developing and adopting the blockchain.
BNY Mellon understands that financial institutions may not be so keen to switch wholesale to a new kind of infrastructure, so it offers to test blockchain solutions in the background. Suresh Kumar, BNY CIO, called the blockchain “a huge opportunity” and described their initiative as a way for the bank to test “the strengths and weaknesses” of the technology.
Meanwhile, Barclays and Israeli start-up Wave are the first organizations to execute a global trade transaction using blockchain technology. Barclays has recently undertaken a number of blockchain and distributed ledger initiatives. Last year, it signed a proof of concept with Safello to explore how blockchain technologies can be used in the financial services sector.
Barclays also strives to adopt blockchain for social payments in partnership with digital currency firm Circle.
“One of the biggest headaches in global trade currently is the vast movement of paper required to facilitate transactions, with multiple organisations in the chain. That is why we’ve been very keen to partner with Wave in using blockchain technology to save time and money for our clients, and potentially transform trade finance for businesses around the world”, Baihas Baghdadi, global head of trade & working capital at Barclays, said.