by Diana Ngo
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has teamed up with Montreal-based blockchain startup Blockstream to help clients implement blockchain solutions and support the blockchain needs of companies around the world.
Blockstream’s technology and expertise will complement PwC’s new blockchain solution portfolio, a set of blockchain-related services ranging from organizing strategy workshops to designing and implementing systems.
Earlier this month, PwC introduced its new “blockchain team,” a group of 15 technology specialists the firm had freshly recruited to “exploit and commercialize blockchain.” The team is based in PwC’s Belfast office and is expected to grow to over 40 experts during 2016 as it continues “to expand, exploit and deliver technology and digital solutions to global clients.”
“There’s clear evidence that banks, institutions and even governments are looking at blockchain technology as a secure storage and distribution solution,” Steve Davies, PwC partner and EMEA FinTech Leader, said in a statement.
“Now there is growing interest and a real demand from our clients to help understand the implications of blockchain and how to respond to it.”
According to Ashley Unwin, PwC UK Executive Board member and UK and EMEA consulting leader, the impact of blockchain technology is still underestimated, although she believes that it could be the “single greatest advance in the fintech sector in a decade.”
“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,” Unwin said in a statement. “However, in document delivery and settlement processing alone, it will offer significant cost reduction and efficiency gains.”
PwC’s focus on blockchain technology comes in line with the firm’s plans to move towards developing fintech solutions and growing “a world-class fintech offering.”
Together, PwC and Blockstream will help businesses around the world evaluate cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies, and launch new applications for the Bitcoin protocol.
“As we kick off 2016, we’ll be working with Blockstream across our practice areas to bring joint expertise, thought leadership, training, pilots and full-scale implementations to market,” Dean Nicolacakis, Principal, FinTech Co-Leader, PwC, said in a statement. “Blockchain technology has the potential to open the door to revolutionary possibilities in multiple industries.”
PwC has already started introducing Blockstream’s technology to companies in the U.S,, Europe and Asia. These companies are exploring a number of financial and non-financial applications, Blockstream indicated in a release.
Founded in 2014, Blockstream’s core area of innovation is sidechains, or blockchains that are interoperable to each other and with Bitcoin.
In October last year, the company introduced Liquid, its first commercial Bitcoin sidechain.