Global services powerhouse PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has announced the assembling of a new global technology team studying Bitcoin’s blockchain.
The world’s largest professional services firm has recruited 15 leading technology specialists to ‘exploit and commercialize’ Bitcoin’s blockchain, a press release stated.
The now 15-member team is also expected to more than double over the course of 2016. Based in PwC’s Belfast office in Northern Ireland, the team could see a rise to over 40 digital and technology specialists this year.
The firm’s decision to invest in blockchain technology specialists is a “major step” in its endeavor to develop Fintech solutionsthat are quickly proving to be a “catalyst for change and innovation in the financial services industry,” the announcement confirmed.
PwC partner EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Fintech leader Steve Davies points to governments, banks and institutions looking at blockchain technology for their storage and distribution solutions. PwC’s move toward researching Bitcoin’s blockchain technology also comes from increasing interest and a demand from the firm’s clients to understand the technology, he confirmed.
So, as the blockchain juggernaut continues to gather pace, PwC will be well placed to service our clients’ needs at a global level.
The press release also made a marked point about the recent proposal put forth by the chief scientific advisor of the UK – Sir Mark Walpor, urging the government to embrace and trial blockchain technology in real world scenarios and the public sector.
The challenge facing the technology is the awareness, or the lack of it among leading asset managers, PwC points out. In an upcoming Global Fintech survey that polled 545 leading asset managers, Fintech businesses and even key players in fund transfer payment companies, insurers and banks, only 9% are very familiar with blockchain technology. Furthermore, 3 in 10 of those polled are not at all familiar with blockchain, the survey discovered.
PwC mentions the continuing debate of Bitcoin’s role as a mainstream currency and highlighted the underlying blockchain to be highly resistant to malicious tampering.
However, the media release also noted blockchain technology as what could potentially be the ‘single greatest advance in the FinTech sector in a decade,’ according to EMEA consulting leader and PwC UK executive board member Ashley Unwin.
Blockchain technology is worrying major players in the financial services industry as they don’t know where it will go or its potential to disrupt business models. However, in document delivery and settlement processing alone, it will offer significant cost reduction and efficiency gains.
The move to focus and explore the technology, from a multinational services firm — the largest in the world after recently beating Deloitte to the top spot — could mean significant implications and the spread of awareness among companies and firms everywhere for blockchain technology and its pioneer, Bitcoin.
A PwC wasn’t immediately available for a comment at the time of publishing.
Featured image of PwC building in Madrid from Shutterstock.