Deloitte, the multinational professional services provider has announced the setting up of an EMEA Financial Services Blockchain Lab, which will be a part of its fintech initiative “The Grid”.
The new firm will be based in Dublin and will employ a team of developers and designers to create strategic blockchain capabilities and proof-of-concepts into functioning prototypes to create ‘ready to integrate’ solutions and digital banking tools for financial services clients.
According to Deloitte, the setting up of the lab is the next step after a successful proof-of-concept trial that combined Bank of Ireland’s existing systems with the blockchain technology and the recently announced partnership of Deloitte with five blockchain startups – BlockCypher, Bloq, ConsenSys Enterprise, Loyyal and Stellar. With them Deloitte is already developing 20 working blockchain prototypes.
“Blockchain technology is disrupting the financial services industry for the better when it comes to transparency, efficiency, and improving trust,” said David Dalton, head of financial services at Deloitte Ireland. “There is significant demand from clients who are looking to use blockchain to speed up payments and transfer clearances, settlements, reconciliations, digital identities, and many other use cases. By bringing together the best of Deloitte experts and building upon our capabilities, we believe our lab will play a significant role in lifting blockchain use to a new level.”
The constant risk of fraud in the financial sector has prompted the banks across the world to start exploring the distributed-ledger technologies that underpin the cryptocurrencies. The supporters of the blockchain technology argue that it provides transparency and prevent fraud. Some large banks, such as Bank of America and HSBC Holdings, have already said they’re looking at blockchain for trade finance and other banking applications. Some central banks are also paying increasing attention to the new technology. Last week the deputy governor of the Bank of Japan Hiroshi Nakaso noted in a speech at a conference that “central banks around the world “will and have” to watch the progress and developments concerning digital currencies like bitcoin and its underlying technology, the blockchain.” Even the Bank of Russia, which has a firm stance against the cryptocurrencies, has set up a working group on blockchain technologies and their eventual implementation.
But while the banks are exploring the blockchain opportunities and leading blockchain companies such as bitFlyer and Elliptic raise funding of millions of dollars, hackers are exploiting vulnerabilities in the technology and are stealing bitcoins and ethers, also worth millions of dollars like they did recently with Gatecoin.