Barclays decision paves road for U.S. banks to accept bitcoin

Barclays will soon begin accepting bitcoin for certain transactions, according to a DailyMail report over the weekend.

At the moment it’s unclear if the payment option will be available to all Barclay’s customers. But based on the U.K.-based bank’s earlier bitcoin experiments, what starts in The Old Smoke could be destined for The Big Apple.

According to the report, Barclays now has 75 people looking into bitcoin and by the end of the year a partnership with an unidentified “bitcoin exchange” will let the bank’s customers make charity donations using the cyrptocurrency.

Though the name of the partner wasn’t mentioned, in June Barclays invested in Stockholm, Sweden-based Safello, a bitcoin exchange that graduated from its London FinTech accelerator.

At the time of the investment, we were anticipating Barclay’s eventual launch of similar accelerator in New York City, and the likelihood that a bitcoin startup might be accepted here as well.

A month later, when Barclays announced the class of 11 startups at its first New York FinTech accelerator, one company, Swiss-based Chainalysis, was using the blockchain technology behind bitcoin to help with compliance issues.

In April, New York City-based investment bank, Goldman Sachs led a $50 million Series C in Boston-based Circle, another bitcoin company, joining other big players including The New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq, and Fortress Investment Group which are experimenting with the cyrpto-currency.

But if Barclays’ New York City contingent indeed follows London’s suit by accepting bitcoin it will be one of the very earliest major banks to do so.

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