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Deloitte Becomes Next of ‘Big Four’ To Invest in Blockchain

Professional services firm Deloitte has become the latest of the ‘Big Four’ to invest in blockchain technology, in the form of an equity stake in SETL.

SETL is a blockchain startup focusing on settlement, and part of the regulatory sandbox established in the U.K. by the Financial Conduct Authority to enable further research and development of these applications for the technology.

With Deloitte’s investment backing, analysts have now suggested this could accelerate efforts to develop a working model for banking settlement, with potentially profound implications for the future of banking.

The investment, of an undisclosed amount, is seen as the first foray into the sector by Deloitte. In so doing, it joins others, including Ernst & Young, who has recently made significant in-roads into blockchain development, and more specifically bitcoin, through its Swiss office.

Based in London, the company is among a new breed of startups investigating applications for the blockchain across a range of industries, including banking, shipping, agriculture and international development.

David Myers, speaking on behalf of Deloitte, said the investment represented the extent to which blockchain technology could reshape industries, as it continues to develop into further viable applications.

"Blockchain has the ability to transform the industry, and we have been investing heavily in real-world applications, such as identity management, cross-border payments, loyalty, trade finance and a number of others. By harnessing the capabilities of SETL's blockchain, we can provide our clients with even more practical and transformational solutions."

The investment comes after 12 months of close collaboration between Deloitte’s investment division and the team at SETL. Commenting on the deal, SETL CEO Peter Randall said this growth in blockchain innovations had the potential to completely reshape the financial services industry.

"Together, we have the opportunity to offer a unique blockchain service to a range of financial services companies."

The investment is the latest one from major corporations in both blockchain startups and private research projects into distributed ledger technology, all hoping to construct robust mechanisms for reducing transactional cost and time frames for payment settlement.