Blockchain technology is coming to banking, and its impact is going to be huge.

Harvard Business School predicts blockchain will do to banking what the internet did to traditional media.

The shift is already happening. There are already at least 1,853 patents worldwide today, across the information technology and financial sectors. Bank of America alone currently owns 43 blockchain patents, more than any other US company.

New partnerships between banks and their usually-hated fintech rivals are forming, thanks to the opportunities provided by new blockchain technologies. It’s widely known that Citibank is even trying to develop its own cryptocurrency.

How are banks using, or planning to use, blockchain technology? And what does the widespread adoption of that technology mean for consumers?

Examples Of How Banks Are Using Blockchain Technology

Nearly all banks with a global presence are exploring the use of blockchain. Here are just a few examples:

Bank of America

Bank of America filed for patents with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for blockchain uses in the security sphere. In its filings, Bank of America stated that it sought to build a new “cryptocurrency risk detection system” and a “suspicious user alert system”.

Goldman Sachs

Unsurprisingly, Goldman is focused on blockchain’s potential in the securities markets. It filed a patent for its own SETLcoin cryptocurrency to be used exclusively as a method to settle securities transactions.

BNP Paribas

BNP is also interested in blockchain’s potential uses in the securities markets. It signed an agreement with equity crowdfunding fintech company SmartAngels in an attempt to use blockchain to manage the entire financial securities lifecycle.


Santander is exploring blockchain’s potential to make international payments easier. It developed a mobile app that allows customers to transfer sums ranging from £10 and £10,000 between GBP, USD, and EUR using their phone.


Barclays is the first bank to use blockchain to conduct international trade. By partnering with a fintech startup, it was able to reduce the time for a transaction that usually takes a week or more, down to just four hours.

What Does Blockchain Mean For Banking Customers?

The near-instantaneous and entirely transparent nature of blockchain transactions is a game-changer for banks. Deloitte highlights the huge potential for blockchain to lower costs in customer facing interactions, as well as significantly ease the burden of regulatory compliance as critical factors driving adoption.

The savings generated by these efficiencies are expected to be passed on to customers in several ways:

Reduced Transaction Fees

Blockchain’s transparency decreases the friction and complication of processing transactions. For example, the ability to view all transactions on the ledger could lead to a significant reduction in overhead costs related to customer identification.

Faster Processing Times

Blockchain’s instantaneous nature cuts through the red tape associated with banking transactions. Elimination of countless middlemen in favor of a single, streamlined process online will significantly lower the length of time customers need to wait for transactions to clear.

Increased Security

The ability for anyone to verify transactions on the ledger is a significant improvement in security. One adaptation is the ability to silo information on a per block basis, giving banks the ability to tightly control access to that information, a safeguard that could help reduce instances of data theft.

The Future Is Now

The increasing adoption of blockchain by the world’s leading global banks is both a testament to, and a preview of, its inevitable disruption of the entire global and local banking sector. Blockchain already makes it possible for banks to give customers a faster and more transparent service while simultaneously reducing their own costs.

Innovations are constant and impactful, and improvements are being made every day. Given blockchain’s already known and emerging advantages, it’s only a matter of time before adoption is a necessity for any bank to remain competitive in the financial markets of the future.