By Michael Moore
Barclays is to trial the use of Bitcoin in its branches and has agreed to a proof of concept (PoC) deal with Safello to explore how blockchain technologies could be harnessed in the financial services sector.
This marks the first time that a U.K. bank has announced such a deal with a Bitcoin company.
"At Barclays, we're embracing the digital revolution, exploring innovations early on so that we can help to shape their development and co-create the future of financial services with these startups," said Derek White, Barclays chief design and digital officer.
"We're leading the industry with new pioneering technologies, which will be paramount to helping us achieve our ambition of becoming the 'Go-To' bank."
Safello is one of 10 businesses signed up to the second series of the Barclays Accelerator start-up program, which sees the bank support new innovations in the FinTech sector.
This goes alongside the launch of a £100 million growth fund for U.K. technology firms announced last month, which could offer loans of up to £5 million to businesses which have already secured sufficient capital.
Barclays has a long history of integrating new technology into its business. So far this year, the company has launched a quick-scan app to speed up mortgage applications, and also announced plans to let users send money via Twitter using its Pingit service.
In December, the bank announced it would become the first U.K. bank to offer banking services via video call, meaning customers can now access services and speak to employees without needing to visit a branch, as well as equipping branch staff with iPads in a bid to deal with more customers face to face.