Global mega bank Barclays announced today that it will start acknowledging the controversial digital currency Bitcoin towards the end of this year.
The UK-based international financial services organization affirmed that Bitcoin has the "potential to change financial services" and has officially entered into partnership with an unidentified Bitcoin exchange and plans to start the trial by the end of this year.
It has previously been conducting trials into the digital money in London-based labs and engaging in business with startups in the space. Now it intends to test the cryptocurrency, reflecting both the size of the Bitcoin market and the trend towards alternative digital currencies.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, chief design and digital officer at Barclays, Derek White, said, "Barclays is enabling the Bitcoin exchange to help charities accept Bitcoin."
While the bank initially plans to take a philanthropic approach make no mistake that its entry into the market is game changing and will likely be followed quickly by other big banks who are never keen to miss a lucrative business opportunity.
The statement pointed out this fact and said that the company is not the only one in the banking industry that is taking its first step towards embracing Bitcoin. The bank specifically mentioned that rival UBS is working with the database or "blockchain", which keeps a record all Bitcoin transactions, as are a number of Wall Street firms.
Once niche, Bitcoin appears poised to enter 2016 as a legitimate currency that could be the world’s first truly universal unit of money.