Seamus Cushley, who runs PwC’s 25-strong blockchain research lab in Belfast, has calculated and unveiled that some $1.4bn has been invested globally in blockchain start-ups in the last nine months. Financial institutions all over the world study the technology to adopt it for financial services. The blockchain concept is seen as a way to achieve greater efficiency.
“There has been $1.4bn in blockchain investments in the last nine months which will give you a sense of the investment by mainstay brands”, says Cushley.
SiliconRepublic reminds that blockchain – the technology underlying bitcoin – consists of blocks that hold timestamped batches of recent valid transactions, which form a chain with each block reinforcing those preceding it.
Cushley, as director of fintech and digital EMEA, performed at PwC’s Business Forum in Dublin on Tuesday where he talked about the blockchain revolution, opportunities and challenges. He underlined that blockchain can be used to transform business offering quicker and more efficient solutions.
“Right now, organizations are studying how blockchain ledgers can be used to securely manage exchanges in everything from medical records, land registry holdings, digital identity [and] government [to] even the sale of diamonds. But when it comes to actual production, nothing at scale has happened yet as the banks are still investigating how they can best employ the technology”, says Cushley.
Indeed, it won’t take long until the blockchain will get widely used by financial organizations. There are multiple projects and trials nowadays aimed at blockchain analysis. Cushley cites 10 different proofs of concept that PwC has developed in the past year, including one for the Bank of England to understand how the technology can be used for digital asset assurance.
“There is fringe experimentation going on but people are on a journey. They will move from fear to understanding and a respect for its potential, and they are in the latter phase of that journey. There has been $1.4bn in blockchain investments in the last nine months which will give you a sense of the investment by mainstay brands. The challenge now is when, and not if, these technologies will start to take effect. But when blockchain comes to pass, the average man or woman on the street won’t know they are even using it”, said the expert.
Cushley placed emphasis on such start-ups as Circle that uses blockchain to allow users easily sending each other money over smartphones. The Irish-based start-up was founded by Sean Neville and Jeremy Allaire, and has so far raised $136m in four funding rounds from 19 investors.
“Dublin is home to some really good fintech start-ups. But where it really gets interesting is in the discussion around talent. Entire regions of Asia, including the city state of Singapore, are struggling to decide where to bet their investment in their talent pool; should it be in artificial intelligence or in blockchain?” explains Cushley.
The global investment that blockchain has seen recently proves that financial companies do see great potential in the technology and it is only a matter of time when the blockchain will become mainstream.