In April this year, Swiss banking giant UBS announced a research lab to study the technology behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Around one month ago, the bank revealed that it is experimenting with blockchain-based bonds as well.
And as of today, the banking institution has taken a giant leap forward and UBS’ Chief Information Officer is giving 1-on-1 mentoring to blockchain-based fintech startups in London, according to a recent report from Business Insider Australia.
UBS has a fintech-dedicated office space Level39 in London, where the CIO Oliver Bussmann doles out advice to nascent stage fintech businesses, Level39 head Eric Van der Kleij said.
Van der Kleij said: “He comes here and does 1-to-1 mentoring with startups to make sure that he is connected with the agility and the thinking. This is a global CIO with billions under his control, taking his time to come here to make sure he understands what the innovators are thinking at the sharp end.”
“He’s doing it with blockchain [companies] and others. He’s also doing it with companies using social media to provide better investing signals. One of his responsibilities is to improve the investment performance of the bank.”
Among the blockchain startups that are receiving personal guidance in Level39 include CodeStack and Tide Payments.
Apart from the blockchain startups, Bussmann is guiding social media analytics firms such as Datasift and Singular Intelligence.
Head of Level39, Van der Kleij thinks that setting up this lab in the world’s leading financial technology hub London is a strong signal in itself.
But the decision to set up a lab in London would have been simple: UK is, in fact, the most innovation-friendly place in the world. However, London’s image as a fintech hub has taken a hit with the latest report from Wired suggesting that the UK government may go ahead with the encryption ban. We are all waiting to see what follows from here!