Royal Bank of Canada Expands Experimentation with Blockchain Tech

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), one of Canada’s largest financial institutions with close to $343 billion of assets under management, has revealed that it is expanding its experimentation with blockchain technology.

In November of last year, RBC announced that it was implementing a distributed ledger loyalty points program for its customers, in order to get its clients familiar with the novel technology.

In a recent interview with CoinDesk, Linda Mantia, Executive Vice President of digital payments at RBC, indicated that the bank is interested in exploring the application of blockchain tech in cross-border remittance transactions and other parts of the financial system.

Mantia compares the invention of the blockchain and what it can do for the future of the global financial system, to what Amazon and eBay did for online commerce. A lot of hype has been generated around blockchain tech and VC firms have thrown millions into various startups, but Mantia says that only a certain percentage will survive in the long term:

“If you look at every major advancement enabled by technology, there’s always hype. Eighty percent of the money won’t make it, but the last 20% can be massive,”

RBC’s current loyalty points program allows outside merchants into the program and clients have the flexibility to choose where they want to spend their rewards. The idea is to get customers accustomed to the concept of alternative forms of currency, “We were moving pretty aggressively to let our clients think of it as another form of cash.” said Mantia.

In statements to CoinDesk, Mantia also said that the bitcoin blockchain has value as a type of “currency for the global economy”.

RBC is part of R3CEV, a consortium of banks interested in distributed ledgers and their uses cases in financial markets.


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