By Michael Moore
Blockchain has gained another significant backer in the European financial industry today after Deloitte revealed it will be opening a specially focused center for the technology.
Based in Dublin, the EMEA Financial Services Blockchain Lab will form part of Deloitte's fintech initiative 'The Grid', with the company looking to bring around 50 staff on board.
The launch and backing of a large entity like Deloitte should help push blockchain, which is the backhaul technology behind online transactions using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, further into the public consciousness.
Deloitte says that the newly-expanded team will consist of both developers and designers, who will look to investigate the potential capabilities blockchain can bring, after the company recently announced partnerships with five leading blockchain technology companies.
The team will also develop proof-of-concepts into functioning prototypes to create "ready to integrate" solutions for the firm's financial services clients, and work with leading technology companies that are looking to roll out blockchain-enabled solutions across different countries, giving more businesses access to the technology than ever before.
"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 and digital identity, 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."
Support for blockchain technology has been growing quickly across the United Kingdom in recent years, as an increasing number of businesses look to harness its potential to provide smoother and more secure online transactions.
Last month, the technology received a major show of support from the U.K. Government after Cabinet Office Minister Matthew Hancock confirmed it was looking into how the technology could be used to manage and keep track of the distribution of public money, such as grants and student loans.
This is despite the Bank of England raising its suspicions about Bitcoin last year, warning that the digital currency could pose a threat to financial stability in the United Kingdom should it see widespread adoption.