Commbank has given a major hat tip to crypto-currencies

CBA CIO David Whiteing.

Since taking on the top tech job at the Commonwealth Bank last year, CIO David Whiteing has had his work cut out for him.

Immediately he set about establishing a plan to open up the bank’s APIs and went in search of duplicated processes to streamline CBA’s tech department but this month he said there’s a lot to be done if the nation’s largest bank wants to maintain its reputation as one of the most tech-forward ones too.

Speaking at the Australian Information Industry Association lunch in Sydney, the AFR reported that Whiteing revealed the bank had launched an internal trial to use crypto-currency exchange Ripple to transfer payments between its subsidiaries. He also flagged that the notion of what a bank account is and the type of wealth it holds, including frequent flyer points for example, is about to change.

“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 in the same way that you can use the slider on a Qantas website to decide whether you are paying with points or dollars?” Whiteing said.

“We have multi-currency bank accounts today, with 15 currencies available on your phone instantly in real-time, so it is not that difficult for us to take that technology and make that a loyalty point store. It shouldn’t be that difficult for us to then add crypto-currencies to it, and whatever other means of payment transfers people might want.”

Last month Ripple closed a $28 million series A round. Investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures and IDG Capital Partners.

There’s more here.

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