Banco Santander recently created a digital investment unit, which will ensure that the bank is using the latest technology offered in the Financial Technology sector efficiently. The team will be headed by John Whelan, who is currently the Director of the bank’s blockchain lab.
The assignments that are given to the team also include exploring the use of tokenized securities in debt capital markets, derivatives and other products.
Santander is known in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space for being an early adopter of the technology. They have partnered with Ripple, and have stated on previous occasions that they use Ripple’s xCurrent technology to process more than 50% of their transactions over the last fiscal year. Santander’s executive chairman, Ana Botin stated:
“We are covering 50% of all FX payments that Santander does annually [with Ripple]. It works really well because we have been testing it for 2 years. Its safe, its compliant.”
Santander has a service known as OnePay FX, which takes the form of a mobile application. The app allows users to view the total cost for a cross-border transaction while sending money and provides a receipt upon the completion of a transaction. It utilizes xCurrent, which functions on Ripple’s blockchain to provide cross-border transactions with end-to-end tracking.
They announced earlier this year that they have plans to utilize blockchain within its capital markets business. This is towards the aim of changing how the securities they manage are issued, traded and settled.
Notably, the bank seems to be diving into the blockchain space with enthusiasm, as it was recently included as a member of the we.trade consortium. It is also a part of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, a consortium which connects various companies and service providers with Ethereum subject matter experts.
On the move towards creating a new unit for the progress of technology in the sector, José M. Linares, Santander’s Senior Executive Vice President stated:
“The wave of digitalisation that is occurring in the financial industry is accelerating. Our clients expect this to result in better solutions, lower costs and new categories of products and services that enable them to access capital markets more efficiently than ever before. We want to offer our clients what they expect from us”.