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How Wall Street Is Embracing Bitcoin

Rather than shunning potentially disruptive digital currencies, the biggest names in the financial industry are looking at integrating the technology behind bitcoin into everyday use.

Bitcoin is a virtual currency that allows users to exchange online credits for goods and services. However, many see the real worth of the cryptocurrency being the technology behind the coin. Called the blockchain -this is a public and transparent ledger of all bitcoin transactions.

On Tuesday, 13 of the world’s leading banks joined a project to explore the possibilities behind using this type of distributed ledger in the mainstream financial world. Institutions like Bank of America, Citi and Deutsche Bank have joined others like Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan which had already signed up.

R3 is the New York-based innovations firm behind the program and aims to establish a set of standards for a blockchain that banks can use. Together with R3, the banks will research and experiment with shared ledger solutions to meet banking requirements for security, reliability, performance, scalability, and audit.

Niall Cameron, head of EMEA markets at HSBC called it an “exciting partnership” in a press release Tuesday and said that the bank was “pleased to be involved.” Satoshi Murabayashi, a CIO at Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group said that clients deserved a banking experience that comes with “enhanced security, low costs and minimal errors.”

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