Consulting and advisory firm Deloitte opened a blockchain lab focused on developing proofs of concept into functioning prototypes in New York's financial district.
The solutions cultivated in the lab will be designed as "ready-to-integrate" for Deloitte's financial services clients.
The blockchain lab, its second so far, has a dedicated team of more than 20 blockchain developers who will work with teams from within Deloitte's network of preferred technology companies.
Eric Piscini, a principal with Deloitte Consulting, said one of the blockchain lab's goals is to help the industry move away from proofs of concept and actually start implementing the technology.
"With the technology not yet having reached widespread adoption, 2017 could be the make-or-break year for blockchain technology," Piscini said. "Financial institutions have the power and ability to move blockchain to the next level. To get there, companies will need to move away from churning out proofs of concepts and begin implementing solutions."
A Deloitte survey—which polled 308 blockchain-knowledgeable senior executives—released in December 2016, found about 12 percent of financial services executives said their firms deployed blockchain in production while 24 percent hope to have blockchain in production this year.
Deployment of blockchain is stronger in other industries Deloitte surveyed: 31 percent in technology, media and telecommunications, 30 percent in consumer goods and manufacturing, and 17 percent in life sciences.
The New York lab will mainly focus on projects for financial institutions but it will also work with other industries.
Deloitte noted that other industries exhibited strong interest in blockchain although the financial services sector still accounts for a significant amount of investment and activity. The consumer products and manufacturing industry, according to the survey, had the most bullish outlook on the technology, with about 42 percent of executives planning investments of $5 million or more for 2017. Financial services executives investing that much comprised only 23 percent of those surveyed.
Joe Guastella, a principal with Deloitte Consulting and global financial services consulting leader, said the blockchain lab is part of the company's strategic investments.
"Our ecosystem for education, ideation, strategy, application prototyping and development is there to support Deloitte's clients and practitioners across industries in harnessing the opportunities and capabilities that blockchain technology has to offer," Guastella said.
Deloitte opened its first blockchain lab in Ireland in May. It plans to open additional labs this year. The firm's blockchain team consists of 800 people across 20 countries. It has developed more than 30 blockchain-related prototypes that cover a wide range of uses like digital identity, digital banking, cross-border payments, trade finance and rewards solutions.
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