One of Australia’s biggest banks, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), will trial the peer-to-peer, online payment transfer system, Ripple, best known for its dealings with crypto currencies.
In a speech at the Australian Information Industry Association lunch in Sydney last month, the bank’s chief information officer David Whiteing said the company will use Ripple to transfer payments between subsidiaries. He also said he didn’t see why crypto currencies such as Bitcoin could not be added to the bank’s accounts.
“Bitcoin is a protocol which is now being replicated by non-asset based vendors like Ripple and others. We absolutely see that’s where it’s going to go,” Whiteing said.
The CBA has internally been testing crypto protocols and will soon begin a wider experiment with one of its offshore subsidiaries to explore the benefits of intrabank transfers using these protocols.
Whiteing’s keynote foreshadowed a broader re-evaluation of how people can store and exchange things of value at the bank, from Bitcoin to frequent flier points.
“I have a view that a bank account will become a storer of value, rather than a storer of currency value, so why can’t a bank account be used to store loyalty points,” Whiteing said. “We have multi-currency bank accounts today, with 15 currencies available on your phone instantly in real-time … It shouldn’t be that difficult for us to then add crypto currencies to it.”
With a similar vision of the future of banking he calls the “Internet of Value,” Ripple Labs CEO and co-founder Chris Larsen has also indicated he sees the future of financial systems as moving beyond dollars and cents, saying:
“Our mission is to modernize decades-old payments infrastructure with IP-based technology so value moves around the world as freely, easily, securely and transparently as information on the web today.”
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