Deloitte Unveils New Blockchain Project ‘Mercury’ at Consensus

Professional services firm Deloitte has unveiled its new blockchain project, dubbed Mercury, at the Consensus conference in New York.

One quad of the so-called ‘Big Four’, the announcement marks one of the most significant Deloitte projects in the blockchain space, with potential to radically overhaul trade finance arrangements across a number of industries.

The move comes alongside announcements from the firm that it would partner with two successful blockchain development consortia, Hyperledger and the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, as it joins the collaborative cross-industry efforts to develop underlying blockchain technology.

Mercury is a trade finance protocol, designed to explore alternative forms of credit between supply chain partners, including through the use of smart contracts, which could have significant implications for the future of trade financing arrangements.

The new protocol is already in testing phases, with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority partnering with Deloitte to create a testing environment for the Mercury infrastructure, with a number of Asian banking giants already on board with these efforts.

Deloitte principal Eric Piscini said that while the system was already in development, their plan is to extend the network further, with a view to incorporating more partners throughout the global supply chain.

"This is the expansion on that foundation. We need participation in Europe, Asia and to expand the platform."

Trade finance is one of several areas that have been suggested as one of the most important beneficiaries of blockchain technology, with smart contracts set to streamline the process and reduce costs significantly.

Deloitte’s project has been interpreted as a sign that wider adoption of this type of system could be nearing. With tests already well underway, the system could transition into more mainstream use over the coming months.

It represents one of the first projects of its kind to reach this stage of development, despite extensive work on this particular use for the technology to date.

Developments will be keenly watched by analysts, and in particular by those now engaged in traditional trade finance arrangements.

With the removal of administrative and paperwork burdens, and the inbuilt immutability of the blockchain system, it looks likely that Mercury could play a pivotal role in shaping the adoption of blockchain technology.