12 Coolest Brands in Banking 2017 Page 2

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3. Ethereum: Smart Contracts, Trust, and the Internet 3.0

pexels-photo-171198Creating a new kind of internet–one where the users control their own data, where code upholds business deals, and where the 2.5 billion people who are globally unbanked can become part of the wider financial world–is not an easy thing, but it is why Ethereum was created.

“It’s the computing platform of the decentralized world,” Amanda Gutterman, CMO for ConsenSys told Bank Innovation. ConSensys is a blockchain firm which specializes in Ethereum projects. “The internet as we currently use it was built with some faulty assumptions. Ethereum is the platform where you can build the Internet 3.0,” she said.

Banks and financial institutions are exploring Ethereum’s potential through projects like the “enterprise ethereum” group, which includes members like JP Morgan, Santander, and Microsoft.

This year, the financial world began to better appreciate the potential of smart contracts (bits of self-authorizing code that can better insure trust and transparency), when it comes to things like copyright or patent law; Ethereum also made waves for its potential in securing the digital identity of its users.

Some of the projects currently being built on Ethereum include uPort, a project where each user receives a cryptographic key to their own data, and they decide how and when to share it.

4. Zelle: New Year, New Name, New App

Zelle-corporate-e1472222396269At some point, the jokes about Zelle’s name will stop being funny–probably around the time the company’s new app appears on the market, decked out with instantaneous P2P features displayed in Zelle’s signature purple. (The name, apparently, is short for “gazelle.”)

The app, which was branded as a “Venmo-killer” approximately five seconds after its launch, is the new flagship product of the third-party service–available for customers of participating banks and other partners–which was known as clearXchange until late 2016.

Currently, Zelle is partnered with these participating banks (among others): JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup — as well as Ally Bank, BB&T, BECU, Capital One, Fifth Third Bank, FirstBank, First Tech Federal Credit Union, Frost Bank, Morgan Stanley, PNC, USAA, and U.S. Bank.

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