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BBVA Bank Throws Clout behind Bitcoin Use with Video Tutorial

By: Belén Marty - @belenmarty - Aug 11, 2015, 5:32 pm

Bitcoin has garnered another feather its cap. BBVA, an international bank headquartered in Spain, has given a de facto endorsement with a video tutorial on how to use the cryptocurrency.

First released on August 5, the video encourages viewers to learn what bitcoin is and its potential uses. It provides both the basic information and how an individual can get hold of his first bitcoin and hold it in a digital wallet.

The Innovation Center of BBVA made the video available in Spanish via their Youtube channel, but with English subtitles, presumably to market themselves to new business owners.

“BBVA’s Innovation Center is a key part of the digital transformation of the BBVA Group,” the website explains. “Our open and collaborative model promotes interaction with the innovation ecosystem, particularly entrepreneurs, startups, and developers.”

Bruce Fenton, executive director of the Bitcoin Foundation in the United States, told the PanAm Post that this might be the first tutorial video ever produced by a bank. He cautions people that the video has a couple of security flaws, such as the recommendation that users to store their wallet in Dropbox, but overall he says it is “great that more banks are getting interested in this technology.… The more players in the industry the better,” given the network effect, and he gladly welcomes everyone.

What about Regulatory Hurdles?

Juan Llanos, a specialist on the international regulation of monetary transfers, says that regulatory pressures on banks make him doubtful that any will adopt bitcoin for in-house use.

“What they may end up adopting is some kind of blockchain technology.… I don’t think the focus will be on the monetary aspects of cryptocurrencies, only the underlying tech.”

Llanos believes that the first opening for banks with the cryptocurrency will be with the simplification of processes and supply chains, to reduce back-end costs — as opposed to any customer uses at this point

He then speculates that the tutorial video might be related to a common “fear of missing out,” an effort to remain relevant to firms forging new paths.

“Some banks are genuinely interested in innovation and have redesigned their structures to be able to fight the innovator’s dilemma, the empirically tested hypothesis that large organizations are unable to adapt to new trends due to the need to protect the status quo.”

Before the advent of bitcoin, Llanos explains, the post-2008 trend towards “unbundling” — breaking up of services — was already a big enough threat. “Now that blockchain tech seems to be on the cusp of creating the next generation of payments, asset management, clearing, and settlement, they’re genuinely concerned about being disrupted. As they should.”

Finally, Nubis Bruno, co-founder of bitex.la and someone who shared the video among the bitcoin community in Argentina, said that BBVA might be seeking to be the first in line in blockchain-related technology, but he says they also might be waiting for favorable regulation to adopt it.

Fergus Hodgson contributed to this article.

Belén Marty Belén Marty

Belén Marty is the Libertarian Latina, a journalist based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has lived in Guatemala, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States and is a former candidate for local office with Argentina's Libertarian Party. Follow @BelenMarty.