Barclays becomes first UK bank to support Bitcoin

Barclays has been experimenting with Bitcoin in its London “labs” and now plans to trial the crypto-currency by allowing people to make donations to charities in bitcoin, The Sunday Times reported.

According to the paper, the bank has entered into a partnership with a “bitcoin exchange” and aims to start the charity experiment by the end of the year.

Derek White, chief design and digital officer at Barclays, said: “Barclays is enabling the bitcoin exchange to help charities accept bitcoin.”

The digital currency has been attracting interest from financial institutions recently: in May the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) launched the inaugural bitcoin index (NYXBT), giving the cryptocurrency some mainstream support.

At the end of July, new data revealed that by the end of 2015 the digital currency will have seen $800m invested into it.

The Sunday Times reports that Barclays has two locations that focus on Bitcoin and Blockchain research. One is in Notting Hill, situated above a bank branch, whilst the other is closer to the City in Old Street. The former houses 60 staff and the latter 15.

There is also a warehouse in Whitechapel that White says Barclays is using for “inviting start-ups, academics, the government, to work at the space to connect with others that are interested in the bitcoin and block chain community”.

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