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Services giant Deloitte, one of the so-called ‘Big Four” accounting firms in the world has officially opened a new blockchain lab in Dublin, established to cater the clients in Europe and the Middle East.

Announced yesterday, the new EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, Africa) blockchain lab is based in Dublin’s “Silicon Docks” district, a neighborhood that is home to a number of technology and Fintech startups as well as industry giants like Google and Facebook.

The firm’s existing blockchain team of 25 developers and designers based at Deloitte Ireland HQ in Dublin will move to the new blockchain lab. Deloitte says it will double the existing team to a total of 50 blockchain-exclusive engineers by the end of the year.

Deloitte’s blockchain team in Dublin at the launch of its blockchain lab.

In statements, David Dalton, financial services partner at Deloitte who is heading the Dublin lab effort sees blockchain technology to impact industries beyond finance.

He stated:

We are still at the early stages of the adoption of blockchain technology. But it is becoming increasingly clear that this technology is transforming the infrastructure underpinning financial services and other industries. It is bringing dramatic improvements in efficiency and customer experience.

The new blockchain lab is a part of Deloitte’s global blockchain development “Grid”, a collection of formal blockchain-exclusive labs installed by the firm around the world. Earlier this month, the firm opened its New York blockchain lab. More global labs are expected to be announced this year.

Blockchain Development

Deloitte is investing heavily in researching and developing blockchain applications for its clients. The firm claims to have developed over 30 blockchain-related prototypes in areas such as digital banking, cross-border payments and rewards solutions. Further, Deloitte’s ‘global blockchain team’ now consists of over 800 professions across 20 countries, the firm claimed. The efforts of one of those teams came to light in late 2016 when Deloitte’s Rubix – a team of professionals exclusively developing blockchain applications – helped install a bitcoin ATM in its Toronto offices in Canada.

“We thought it was really important to show people who to get access to bitcoin,” said Rubix strategy lead Illiana Oris Valiente, “because it is really the entry point to understand the broader implications of blockchain.”

Meanwhile, Deloitte’s existing blockchain development team has already seen a successful proof-of-concept blockchain trial in collaboration with the Bank of Ireland, the country’s central bank. The test proved that blockchain technology could be implemented as an accessible data layer that can be added to existing systems.

With the launch of the new lab, Irish politician and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor claimed Ireland’s financial services industry to be a “huge success story”.

She further added:

Blockchain is attracting significant worldwide attention due to its range of potential applications in the wider Financial Services area and it is great news that Ireland will be at the heart of this exciting development, helping to push out the frontiers, for our mutual benefit.

Other blockchain-based projects by Deloitte include a consultation by the People’s Bank of China toward the development of a central-bank issued digital currency and a joint development effort with the city of Rotterdam in Netherlands to develop a blockchain to record lease agreements.

Images from Deloitte and Flickr/William Murphy.