The CEO of Swiss banking giant UBS has become the latest mainstream financial figure to get behind blockchain, describing the technology as “almost a must” for businesses.
In an interview with CNBC, CEO Sergio Ermotti spoke of the technology as a way of improving efficiencies, and therefore slashing costs, for businesses across a number of sectors.
With direct reference to the finance industry, he said the key to staying relevant in the years to come would be embracing new technologies, like blockchain.
“Our industry will continue to be under pressure, in terms of gross margins. It’s no doubt. The only way you can stay relevant is not only by being strong in terms of capital, in terms of products, the quality of the people you have, advice you give to clients. You need also to be able to price it correctly.”
Later in the same interview, Ermotti described blockchain as “crucial and disruptive, and (as) changing as regulation was in the last 10 years.”
Blockchain technology, which powers cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether, is already having a significant impact on a number of industries, with companies from a diverse range of sectors researching, developing and testing applications of the tech.
By improving efficiency across a range of different business processes, blockchain technology is expected to allow for significant cost savings, both in the financial sector and far beyond.
The comments from Ermotti mark the latest significant endorsement of blockchain technology. Of particular note is his role in the mainstream financial world, expected to be one of the main beneficiaries of blockchain in future, and a core industry for driving forward innovation.
It follows a pattern of comments from the CEO, who told media back in October that he was more bullish on the technology than even on the cryptocurrencies made possible by it.
UBS is also known to have already been involved in developing for blockchain, including its work with IBM on Batavia, a trade finance platform powered by distributed ledger technology.
With blockchain becoming ever more relevant to business, Ermotti’s most recent comments could shed some light on the direction of travel for the mainstream financial sector toward embracing the potential of blockchain.