Barclays sets up new blockchain-focused venture capital fund to catch up with rival Santander

New Venture Fund by Barclays

On Monday, Barclays announced Barclays UK Ventures, which aims to develop new disruptive technology to be implemented by Barclays for customer services. This appears to be in response to Santander, who announced their app One Pay FX on April 12 which is powered by Ripple blockchain technology.

This comes after Coinbase was allowed to open a bank account with Barclays, avoiding the need to use an Estonian bank, although Barclays currently still has a complete embargo on any business associated with cryptocurrency.

Barclays UK Ventures will be run by Ben Davey, formerly Barclays’ Group Head of Strategy, who will also join Barclays UK’s Executive Committee. Mr. Davey's team will focus on opportunities that can grow Barclays UK and will have a mandate to pursue innovative and disruptive themes.

The fund will leverage "the latest technology and digital innovations" to create "new customer propositions and services that can be delivered quickly to the market." It will work closely with third parties through partnerships or by taking equity stakes in fintech and other non-financial technology companies.

Ben Davey, CEO of Barclays UK Ventures, said: “Barclays has a history of generating great innovative business ideas and at BUKV we will focus on incubating those ideas and accelerating them into meaningful new business lines.

"We intend to drive this initiative by building a strong team of technologists, developers and entrepreneurs within BUKV, mandated to operate independently of, but in partnership with, our core operations."

Barclays is a well-known international bank, based in the UK and US, which operates in over 40 countries and employs 80,000 people.