The Swiss bank, UBS, is a losing a key member of its administrative team in Alex Batlin, who lead the bank’s efforts in blockchain innovation.
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Blockchain Lead Leaves UBS
The news was first reported and confirmed by Financial News, which cites an internal memo dated August 17th.
According to UBS’ head of innovation Veronica Lange, Batlin left to “pursue an opportunity outside of UBS.” Batlin headed the bank’s innovation lab at level 39, which is a fintech hub in the business district of Canary Wharf. In that role he lead UBS’ Crypto 2.0 program, which explored the use of cryptocurrencies in traditional finance.
In the memo, Lange discusses the significance of Batlin’s work to UBS and how he laid down a foundation for them to successfully move forward without him.
“There is no change to our focus and approach on blockchain technology. We are reviewing the options for internal and external candidates to lead the next phase of the program and to extend our L39 lab activities beyond blockchain as we move forward. Alex’s dedication to the innovation lab and Crypto 2.0 pathfinder program has left us with a well-organized project pipeline and in a strong position to approach the next phase of blockchain technology acceleration and business development.”
This is the second time in one year that an executive has left the bank. UBS’ CIO, Oliver Bussmann, vacated his position within the organization in March. Bussman was also a big advocate of blockchain technologies and well-regarded within London’s fintech community.
Moving to New York
Financial News also reported that Batlin will be joining BNY Mellon, another bank located in New York City.
The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, or BNY Mellon, has also been an early experimenter of the blockchain. In fact, the bank announced they were working with IBM on a new project aimed at using distributed ledgers for securities lending technology. Additionally, BNY Mellon is also a member of the bank blockchain consortium R3.
While Batlin’s job title and start date is still unknown, it is likely that BNY Mellon hired the blockchain expert to keep up with emerging financial technologies. Afterall, custodian banks are likely threatened the most by the emergence of the blockchains because of their specialized niche.
Although it could be argued that all banks are threatened by the emergence of blockchains and cryptocurrencies, it seems as if custodians are the most immediately affected by the tech because they specialize in safeguarding financial assets and as record keepers — something Bitcoin already does quite well for a lot less money.
What do you think of Batlin’s departure from UBS? Let us know in the comments below!
Images Courtesy of UBS, BNY Mellon.