UBS Next invests in blockchain leader ConsenSys

Our USD 200 million strong strategic fintech initiative UBS Next has invested in ConsenSys, a software engineering firm for solutions in distributed ledger technology.

12 Apr 2021

We launched UBS Next in October 2020 to strengthen our engagement with the wider tech ecosystem by investing in and collaborating with innovative early stage fintechs and other relevant tech companies. With our first investment last October into venture capital fund Anthemis, UBS initiated a fruitful strategic collaboration with a global venture capital fund with expertise in fintech investing to accelerate deal flow origination.

This second investment now is into ConsenSys, a leader in Ethereum-based blockchain technology, in which UBS Next invests jointly with other major financial services firms. ConsenSys’ products are the primary points of access to Ethereum for developers, enterprises, and consumers. With this investment, we widen our access to distributed ledger technology and strengthen the existing relationship and collaboration between UBS and ConsenSys. Our investment is driven by our ambition to find new and effective ways to deliver our services to clients and to drive growth across UBS by applying cutting-edge technologies and solutions.

Our investment in Consensys adds proven expertise in distributed ledger technology to our UBS Next portfolio. This investment underscores our commitment to working with fintechs and the broader tech ecosystem to shape the future of banking for the benefits of our clients,

says Mike Dargan, UBS Head of Group Technology.

ConsenSys has grown into a leading blockchain company in less than a decade. Its founder Joseph Lubin was involved in the creation of Ethereum, a decentralized, open-source blockchain with smart contract functionality. It’s in particular the latter that hold promise for the financial services industry. Smart contracts are computer protocols that facilitate, verify, or enforce the negotiation and performance of some type of agreement. For example, a smart contract could be used to represent a financial contract that specifies counterparty responsibilities and automated value streams.

Being a stakeholder in ConsenSys and joining forces to co-develop customized solutions with their teams enables UBS to engage closely with emerging technologies and gain more profound expertise and insights, with the ultimate goal of delivering the best services and state of the art solutions to our clients.

“Through close and agile collaboration we expect to add value to our technology pipeline and engineer solutions that differentiate us” adds Mike Dargan.

Why UBS Next?

We launched UBS Next to identify new venture opportunities within the start-up ecosystem and to further enhance technology-driven growth. It is a next step for us to further engage with fintechs, to accelerate our innovation efforts and to shape the future of banking for the benefits of our clients. We believe that a lot of the innovation in the financial industry will be driven by the fintech ecosystem. Collaborating is mutually beneficial and allows us to be even more nimble in our innovation journey. Besides yielding a return-on-investment, UBS Next pursues mainly a strategic purpose focusing on enabling UBS key strategic priorities such as:

  • Co-develop digital innovation and ecosystem through collaboration, research and innovation pipeline management, facilitated by centers of excellence
  • Modernize and modularize technical estates leveraging new technologies, such as public cloud, microservices architecture, artificial intelligence (AI), and front-to-back automation
  • Find new and effective ways to engage with our clients and deliver our services, as well as evolving our business model to drive growth across UBS with cutting edge technologies and solutions.

UBS Next is primarily pursuing minority direct investments into early stage (mostly series A / B) fintechs and tech companies with strategic and financial relevance (i.e. direct business/client impact or catalyst for platform/process improvements).