Fintech Firm FIS Is Ready If Bitcoin Trading Takes Off, CEO Says

LAGOS (Capital Markets in Africa) – The head of one of the largest U.S. financial technology firms said his company is ready to trade and settle cryptocurrencies as soon as banks demand it.

Fidelity National Information Services Inc., which provides technology to thousands of U.S. lenders, has also been experimenting with blockchain, the distributed-ledger technology that processes cryptocurrency transactions, Chief Executive Officer Gary Norcross said Thursday in an interview at Bloomberg’s New York office. FIS, as the company is known, can enable its software to be compatible with blockchain if the development is widely embraced on Wall Street, he said.

“To us, it’s just another currency,” Norcross said. “We process all the popular currencies today, so if cryptocurrencies really took off, we would trade and settle and process any currency that our customers wanted us to.”

Gary Norcross, FIS president, and CEO, discusses how banks are using financial tech with Bloomberg TV.

FIS provides software and other products to help banks with payments, investment banking, retail services and wealth management. Some big Wall Street firms just contract for specific services, while community and regional lenders often rely on FIS for their entire technology platform.

The rise of cryptocurrencies has everyone from regulators to top bank executives taking action. The price of bitcoin, the most ubiquitous of the currencies, has risen more than fivefold this year despite disapproval from JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon and tighter controls in China. As it becomes clear that the cryptocurrency conversation is not ending anytime soon, finance industry players are grappling with how to address it.

Founded in 1968 and valued at $31 billion, FIS is one of the oldest and largest fintech firms in the U.S. The Jacksonville, Florida-based company also is working with banks on how to incorporate artificial intelligence, Norcross said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. While those efforts could reduce some back-office jobs, it won’t happen quickly, he said.

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