In an interactive branded paper on their website, Deloitte singles out blockchain as being the “Enigma. Paradox. Opportunity.” Deloitte, being an internationally recognized firm that provides audit, consulting, tax, and advisory services to some of the largest companies in the world clearly wants in on the potential action.
Discussion continues to swirl around Bitcoin and blockchain among heavy hitters in the financial space who are eager declare whether they are rooting for the alternative technologies to be adopted and mainstream or whether they’re just a fly-by-night fad. What’s evident in the discussion though is that it’s not as polarizing as one would expect because there are plenty of people who aren’t quite on board with Bitcoin still have their eyes on using blockchain technology for their benefit.
The paper is aimed at businesses and “public sector leaders” in helping them understand how blockchain will affect their businesses or government’s financial and operational processes. The paper also seems to set up Deloitte as having a brand new service segment to market to their already massive customer base who may or may not already be interested in getting involved with blockchain technology.
From the outset, the interactive nature of the paper is interesting to navigate at first, however, there are a lot of different links to PDF files, some of which are just one or two pages, others which are 25 pages long. This makes for a disjointed reading experience. Many pieces of content on the page could be missed altogether by an busy executive or public officer looking to get the scoop in a hurry.
The paper states in its preface that the goal is to:
“Help business and public sector leaders understand the cultural and organisational challenges that are inevitably brought by the use of blockchain technologies, and provides them with the insights they need to overcome them.”
The paper is broken down into 10 distinct sections, including an overview section, a quick rundown of blockchain technology for beginners and then into a reflection on value exchange. They follow with a breakdown of key challenges and talk about the realities many businesses and organizations will face in actually approaching blockchain technology from a short-term and long-term standpoint.
The paper follows with specific breakdowns of how blockchain technology can be applied to the banking industry, insurance industry, public sector and finally the media industry. Of course, what would a branded piece of content marketing be if there was a call to action at the end where Deloitte offers to help whoever’s reading this decide if blockchain technology is right for them with a quick consultation.
The overview is where you can download the report in its entirety. In this PDF, you’ll get the rest of the following “chapters” all in one place. It’s recommended to just go here first rather than download several smaller PDF’s.
In “what is blockchain and how does it work” they go into how a blockchain is different from the traditional third party systems that regulate and enable many transactions in current forms of banking as most people know it. This section makes sure to differentiate between Bitcoin’s blockchain and other types of blockchains, namely private ones, which Deloitte would likely prefer to help their clients with. They go on to mention altcoins like Litecoin as well as other blockchain technologies like Ripple and Ethereum.
“Blockchains come in many different types. As well as a Bitcoin blockchain, a number of other independent blockchains have emerged in recent years. None has yet achieved the same scale as Bitcoin but they do offer other benefits, such as increased speed, larger data capacities, different consensus methods or more advanced functionality.”
This section is where the paper asserts how and why blockchain can provide value to a variety of organization types. Through faster and more efficient processing of transactions, Deloitte sees the strength of blockchain technology in application.
They key challenges that Deloitte sees are generating awareness of the technology, how it will affect organizations and their culture. They also want to consider cost and efficiency and how that ties in with thinking about regulation and governance with emerging tech. Of course, security and privacy are obvious hot points for the world’s biggest companies to deal with as well.
It’s clear in the “from vision to reality” section that Deloitte does not recommend that businesses sit by the sidelines to see what will happen with blockchain technology from a distance before acting. As the paper says:
“Organizations that fail to create a vision and adopt a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude towards blockchain are unlikely to develop the expertise or break down the organizational and cultural barriers needed to work effectively with this new technology. Nor are they likely to engage their peer or stakeholders in discussions about how the technology may affect their industry at large.”
The next few sections in the paper are specific applications of blockchain technology to industries of interest to Deloitte. They mention the main case study for banking to be a reduction or elimination of many processing bottlenecks, which could save those banks untold sums of money in efficiencies. The shared trend of cost-cutting and increase efficiency with blockchain application continues with claims handling for insurance companies, asset registry for governments and royalty payments for the music industry. All of which would be game changers for their respective industries.
While this paper isn’t groundbreaking in any significant way in what it offers in content about blockchain technologies or how they’re applied to existing industries, it’s an eye opening statement from Deloitte, a major player in corporate consulting, that they too are ready to play ball with these new technologies and that they recommend businesses outside of just finance get their hands dirty with blockchain in 2016.
Images from Deloitte and Shuttersto1ck.