Monday 7 March 2016 5:26 pm

UK banking and investment institutions are most knowledgeable and optimistic about bitcoin technology blockchain

Lenders may not have a reputation for being particularly tech-savvy – but it turns out UK banks are among  the most knowledgeable about blockchain, the technology behind bitcoin, according to results from a wide-survey conducted by FTI Consulting. 

The study, which targeted 772 respondents in the banking and investment sector from the UK, Germany, South Africa, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and the US, found almost two-thirds of respondents were aware of the distributed ledger technology and around a quarter were knowledgeable about it. 

Financial institutions in the UK seemed to know the most about the cryptocurrency technology, with 35 per cent having prior knowledge of blockchain, while respondents from Australia had the lowest level of knowledge at 14 per cent. 

Approximately 70 per cent of respondents said they believe blockchain will positively impact businesses, financial institutions and government income. This level rose to around 90 per cent for those who had prior knowledge of it before the survey. 

However, around seven in 10 also believe the financing of illegal activities and the ability to avoid regulations and taxes would also be positively impacted. 

When asked if their institutions, which ranged from global, regional, investment and retail banks, were prepared for blockchain, 19 per cent said they believe they were fully prepared for its effects. For those with prior knowledge, 52 per cent said they were fully prepared.  

"The name may be recognised by financial institutions, but less than half who have come across it have taken steps to investigate it further," Dan Healy, managing director and head of research at FTI Consulting, said. 

"Although some might perceive this to be in the early adoption phase, 6 in 10 who are knowledgeable of it believe it’s having a fundamental or high level of change on their organisation right now."