TD Bank blockchain cryptocurrency
TD Bank by Mike Mozart via Flickr

A survey conducted by TD Bank at the 2018 NACHA Payments Conference found that despite the hype around cryptocurrencies in the media, payments professionals remain vigilant of cryptocurrencies and hold a strong view against their validity.

64% of the polled finance professionals said that they did not view cryptocurrencies as a legitimate form of digital payment. Yet, just 4% selected controversy around cryptocurrencies as the greatest challenge facing payments innovation today.

The payments industry is facing big changes, as technology continues to drive innovation. Technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence promise to improve efficiency and better server customers.

In fact, 20% of payments professionals polled by TD Bank predict AI and machine learning will create positive change in the industry, while 42% cited integration of real-time payment capabilities within online banking as the top technological innovation that will have the greatest positive impact on the industry over the next three to five years.

An overwhelming 74% said that integrating a mobile application for business banking would improve a client’s experience with its financial institution.

“One of the largest impediments to today’s payments industry is that change is happening faster than organizations can realistically accommodate it,” Rick Burke, head of corporate products and services at TD Bank, said in a statement.

A US patent application made public in March suggests that TD Bank is looking to use a public blockchain to digital track assets. The patent application is for “an apparatus for use in a digital asset tracking system [that] includes a storage device and a processor coupled to the storage device.”

“One advantage of blockchain-based ledgers is the public nature of the blockchain architecture that allows anyone in the public to review the content of the ledger and verify ownership,” the application states. “The decentralized blockchain approach also makes the system fairly robust in comparison to centralized server systems by allowing multiple distributed networks to verify the contents of a single ledger.”

The patent was actually filed in September 2016 and there is no word on whether TD Bank is still pursuing the idea.

Milos Dunjic, a cryptographer and associate vice president of payments innovation at TD Bank, said earlier this year that while blockchain held a lot of potential, the technology “is not mature enough yet,” and “lacks features that centralized institutions expect.”

Dunjic said during a fintech panel discussion in Ontario held on May 5 and 6 that blockchain is so far, “too slow, too expensive; we are definitely desperate for use cases that make a difference” to standard banking operations.

He added that although the bank is “rooting” for blockchain technology, “cryptos are not used for payments very much these days.”