Capital One, a US bank holding company, that specializes in credit cards, loans, and banking, has posted a job opening on their website for a position in “quantitative analytics” to study developing technologies in the field of finance and monetary theory. One of these new technologies that prospective employees are expected to research is Bitcoin. The company stated that they were looking for people with various skills in coding, software development, database management, etc. to research technologies that are at the forefront of “the next wave in disruption” in the financial industry. Prospective employees should have the following qualifications:
-Curious. You ask why, you explore, you’re not afraid to blurt out your crazy idea. You probably have a diploma and an impressive GPA, or you dropped out of college, taught yourself and routinely win Kaggle competitions.
-Wrangler. You know how to move data around, from a database or an API, through a transformation or two, a model and into human-readable form (ROC curve, Excel chart, map, d3 visualization, Tableau, etc.). You probably know Python, Java, R, Storm, Julia, SQL, Matlab, Mahout, or think everything can be done in a Perl one-liner.
-Do-er. You have a bias toward action, you try things, and sometimes you fail. Expect to tell us what you’ve shipped and what’s flopped. -Fearless. Big, undefined problems and petabytes don’t frighten you. You can work at a tiny crack until you’ve broken open the whole nut.
-Bachelor’s Degree in quantitative discipline (Statistics, Math, Computer Science, Engineering), or 2+ years industry experience
-1+ years’ experience in R, Perl, Python, Java, or other languages appropriate for large scale analysis of numerical and textual data
-1+ years experience with data mining, machine learning, statistical modeling tools and underlying algorithms
-1+ years’ experience with relational databases and SQL
As we can see from the desired qualifications, Capital One is looking for people who already have knowledge about technologies such as Bitcoin or are at least capable of learning about them. Capital One even explicitly mentioned Bitcoin in a short list of technologies that they are looking to research:
“On any given day in the Lab you’ll be… Investigating the impact of new technologies like Google Glass, Leap Motion, smart watches, Bitcoin, and iBeacons on the future of mobile banking and the financial world of tomorrow”
It is clear that Capital One is interested in learning about technologies that could revolutionize our current payment systems, or, as we can see from their curiosity about Bitcoin, replace the current monetary system altogether. However, the past has shown that Capital One is not exactly friendly towards Bitcoin, or its users, given the fact that the company shut down the account of a company because they simply mentioned Bitcoin. So this new desire to research Bitcoin and other related technologies raises the question: what is Capital One planning to do with the technologies that they are currently researching?
No one can know the motives of the Capital One leadership, as they have not released any statement on what they plan to do with the research they will compile on Bitcoin, and the other listed technologies. But given their past hostility towards Bitcoin, one could guess that they aren’t planning on adopting the blockchain technology outright. Could they possibly be developing their own competing crypto-currency that would work exclusively within the Capital One financial ecosystem? We have no way of knowing that presently. It is possible that their research might not even produce the information that they are looking for. If they are planning to compete directly with Bitcoin, and other crypto-currencies, by overhauling their own digital payment system, then they have a lot of work to do.
But let us assume that, after Capital One hires these quantitative analysts to study Bitcoin and related distributed network technologies, the financial titan decides to actually adopt Bitcoin as a means of payment. A company of that magnitude accepting Bitcoin as a viable means of payment would be monumental, it would be a huge step forward it the progression of the Bitcoin economy. Capital One could integrate Bitcoin into their credit card system, and have a Bitcoin debit card much like Xapo’s Bitcoin card. They could even offer highly secure methods of Bitcoin storage for its customers. Moreover, Capital One could participate in Bitcoin mining, bringing a whole new wave of legitimacy to the Bitcoin community. If these things were to happen, Capital One would see a huge influx of new customers, eager to partake in the company’s Bitcoin services. If such an advance were to be made, the purchasing power of Bitcoin would skyrocket. If a major financial institution like Capital One were to announce that they would be accepting Bitcoin as a legitimate means of payment, and were planning to integrate Bitcoin into its own payment systems, there would be a buying frenzy on the Bitcoin exchanges. Bitcoin would have officially entered the mainstream investment community.
These possibilities are merely speculations, however. It seems very unlikely that a financial institution, such as Capital One, that benefits so greatly from the inherently fraudulent nature of central banking and fractional reserve banking would adopt and integrate a currency that poses a direct threat to the very existence of these institutions. Much like the various central banks who have come out against Bitcoin, and other crypto-currencies, Capital One will likely conduct this research and skew the findings in a way to highlight any of the potential, or imagined, negatives of decentralized currencies and distributed, peer-to-peer payment systems. Technologies as revolutionary as Bitcoin threaten the wealth and the way of life of these powerful and influential bankers. If central banks fear, and are vehemently opposed to, Bitcoin we should not expect the banking establishments whose profitability is directly dependent on central banking policies to take kindly to Bitcoin. Sound money and free markets are not conducive to the agendas of the banking giants; Bitcoin has the potential to destroy the very foundations of the world’s banking industry, and they are terrified.
If you would like to review the job posting on Capital One’s website, you can find it here.