On Tuesday at the Consensus Conference in New York City, Deloitte announced a number of partnerships with companies in the blockchain space to develop 20 ongoing blockchain initiatives and prototypes, thereby signaling a commitment towards becoming an early mover in blockchain consulting services.
The “Big 4” firm is scoping and leading development for blockchain-related solutions that span across digital identity, digital banking, cross-border payments, loyalty and rewards, investment management and insurance sectors. The timing of Deloitte’s announcement coincides with a rising interest and research from banks towards implementing blockchain technology. Given the emerging nature of these services, Deloitte is hoping to learn best practices quickly in hopes of generating increased revenue.
Speaking to the initiative, Joe Guastella, a principal with Deloitte Consulting and U.S. and global leader of the financial services practice, remarked, “Blockchain is proving to be a major disruptive force in financial services. The industry prototypes and pilots have shown this, and we continue to focus on helping our clients to make blockchain a reality for their businesses.”
An eye-catching component of Deloitte’s announcement is the partnerships with blockchain companies BlockCypher, Bloq, ConsenSys, Loyyal (formerly known as Ribbit.me) and the Stellar Development Foundation. Due to a steep learning curve and relative shortage of blockchain developers at Deloitte and beyond to meet the growing demand from clients, such partnerships with industry players are mutually beneficial and will shorten the timeframe towards the implementation of these projects for Deloitte’s clientele.
The traditional nature of Deloitte’s client base means that the solutions being developed are not specifically limited to blockchains. Rather, blockchain equivalents such as permissioned or private blockchains appear to be on the forefront of development efforts. For example, the Press Release claims “BlockCypher’s platform runs Ethereum, Bitcoin and custom private chains at-scale.” Additionally, “Deloitte and Bloq are working together to deliver blockchain-enabled technology designed to improve integrity and security, and reduce costs in the $1.1 trillion insurance industry.” With strict regulatory requirements around the banking, investment, and insurance spaces, fully public and open blockchains are not in alignment with the regulatory frameworks, data accessibility, and consumer protection goals. Therefore alternative, privatized solutions are being developed.
Work seems to be ongoing with clients outside of the United States, too. This is encouraging as globally spanning projects leverage the global nature inherent within blockchain technology. Remarking on the partnerships, Mr. Guastella added, “These five blockchain companies are collaborating with Deloitte’s teams not just in the U.S., but across key geographies as well. Each complements our deep industry experience and, together, we are harvesting the benefits of blockchain technologies — developing new revenue models, improving cost efficiencies and creating innovative solutions across the globe.”
With PWC’s recent announcement of a Blockchain Practice in Northern Ireland, Accenture’s partnership with Digital Asset Holdings, and EY’s partnership with the Post-Trade Distributed Ledger (PTDL) Group, interest from professional services firms in expanding revenues by offering blockchain related services is rising quickly. As traditional players look to implement solutions, the services provided by professional services firms will likely prove invaluable towards advancing initiatives in the space. In Deloitte’s case, their ability to bridge traditionally oriented clients with blockchain-focused startups is a unique value proposition. Whether or not the private solutions are truly a “blockchain” remains to be seen as projects are completed and technical details are made public.
What are your thoughts on Deloitte’s announcement? Will more professional services firms open a blockchain practice in coming months or years? Share your thoughts below!
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Ryan Strauss is an avid writer and Bitcoin fanatic who has been involved with the cryptocurrency space since 2012. A 'crypto-industrialist', Ryan is also the author of #100DaysOfBlogging. Follow on [email protected]
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