Paris-based investment banking firm AXA may begin using bitcoin in order to streamline the remittance market.
The firm is not the first to see the potential benefits of using cryptocurrencies to send payments around the world, but comments from AXA Strategic Ventures (the bank’s $223 million fund) suggest that it could become the first major financial institution to back bitcoin’s entry into the remittance market.
One of the major benefits that cryptocurrency enthusiasts have been quick to point out is the potential that digital currencies have for sending cross border payments. This is especially true when it comes to sending money to countries with an underdeveloped financial sector where much of the population is unbanked. In such regions, the only existing options are money-transfer services like The Western Union Company WU, which charge a large fee. Sending bitcoin payments would carry a much lesser fee and could provide a new option to expats working abroad and sending money to their families at home.
AXA In Talks
AXA’s Minh Q Tran said the company would like to further explore how bitcoin would function in the remittance market and that the firm is currently in talks with bitcoin-based remittance firms that are hoping to break into the industry. So far, AXA has yet to fund any cryptocurrency-related startups, but many expect that will come in the future.
Much like Barclays BCS and Citibank, AXA is also interested in exploring bitcoin’s potential in other capacities within the financial space.
Blockchain, the ledger-like technology that bitcoin runs on, has been touted as a viable way to facilitate many different transactions, something that several banks are looking into. AXA has said it is interested to learn how blockchain might improve transactions in real estate, intellectual property and insurance.