Blockchain

The internet changed the way we share information. Blockchain is changing the way we transact.

“We’ve been reading about the promise of blockchain technology for several years now. Many skeptics are beginning to wonder if the “year of blockchain” will ever really arrive. Blockchain isn’t a cure-all, but there are clearly many problems for which this technology is the ideal solution. We continue to see banks, brokerages, insurers, regulators, and others actively testing ways to harness the benefits of blockchain. The journey has only just begun.”

Source: PwC’s Top financial services issues of 2018

 

What is blockchain and is your business ready for it?

Imagine being able to transfer value or prevent contractual disputes over the Internet-without going through a third party. Confidently. Securely. Almost instantly. Blockchain-based technology can help create this reality.

At a very high level, a blockchain is a decentralised ledger, or list, of all transactions across a peer-to-peer network. Blockchain is distinct from bitcoin, which is merely one application of the technology. Bitcoin has been a proving ground for the underlying blockchain technology. In a “trust less” environment since 2009, bitcoin has proven blockchain to be secure and resilient.

Ultimately, blockchain is a complex technology that has the potential to powerfully disrupt many aspects of how businesses and economies work; even how societies are organised.

We view Blockchain as potentially the most transformative technology innovation since the internet. We’ve developed the strategic and implementation capabilities necessary to help organisations take advantage of this transformative technology. Our global team of experienced business, technology and regulatory leaders can help you identify how blockchain can benefit your organisation and how to rapidly move these initiatives forward.

 

Blockchain can be used across multiple sectors and applications

Blockchain is one tool to consider when contemplating digital transformation. While the technology is profound, other solutions, such as cloud technology, may be more appropriate; the right conditions are needed for blockchain to be successful. Typically, at least four should hold true for blockchain to be an appropriate solution:

  • Multiple parties share data
  • Multiple parties update data
  • There is a requirement for verification
  • Intermediaries add cost and complexity
  • Interactions are time sensitive
  • Transactions interact (depend on each other)

How can we help you on your blockchain journey?

Blockchain strategy

  1. What does blockchain mean for my business, my industry?
  2. What blockchain based innovations are appearing?
  3. What should we be considering?

We have created a process that brings together executives, product owners, risk and regulatory specialists, business unit leaders, startups/emerging blockchain companies and strategy influencers in small, focused management workshops to identify the most appropriate blockchain actions for your organisation.

The workshop has a focused preparation phase. The business strategy, innovation priorities, and blockchain maturity of the organisation are analysed, and specific use-cases identified. Based on this, a highly customised 2-3 day workshop is conducted, focused on learning, exploring, and planning. Ultimately, the workshop leads to tangible next-steps to address real business problems using blockchain.

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Blockchain proof-of-concept and build

  1. What are the right blockchain initiatives to start with?
  2. How can we build on the learning from other blockchain innovators?
  3. What blockchain benefits do we need to test for our context?

We use our blockchain specialists and industry expertise spanning strategy, design thinking, economics etc. to help clients from an initial idea to proof-of-concept, and lastly, to enterprise-ready implementations.

We leverage our global network - including a use-case library, and specialist blockchain teams. We can also utilise Vulcan - the next-generation digital assets platform, built using blockchain - to accelerate the process. The outcome is a deeper understanding of blockchain's feasibility for your business, and a platform from which to build tomorrow's solutions.

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Operational risk and readiness assessment

  1. What are the risks of going live with a blockchain solution?
  2. What are the regulatory implications?
  3. How do we provide assurance on this technology?

Collaborative technology, such as blockchain, creates challenges for executives, management, regulatory bodies and assurance providers. In response we have identified 5 categories for consideration during a blockchain implementation and operation:

  • Executive Risk
  • Privacy and Security Risk
  • Process and Operational Risk
  • Assurance and Regulatory Risk
  • Program and Management Risk

This governance, risk and controls framework has been tailored to help organisations understand and identify their blockchain risks across these key categories.

Early involvement is key to ensure that risks are appropriately addressed. We will help you determine where you need to focus your attention and what you shouldn’t forget, from initiation to completion and beyond - building trust from day one.

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Consortium development

The way that multiple parties can interact on a blockchain enables industry level solutions that were previously not possible. We help to create consortiums amongst organisations who transact together, typically across industry verticals. We work with these consortiums to explore both how blockchain technology can change their industry, and also to create the mechanism for the required collaboration. 

These consortiums help drive efficiencies, cut costs and improve customer experience. PwC utilises a proprietary methodology, as tested in the Fundchain consortium in Luxembourg, to identify and deliver the right solutions. We work with individual organisations, and the consortium collectively, to train, ideate and develop proofs-of-concept that address real business needs. 

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ICO support

An initial coin offering (ICO) or a token sale is when a company sells a pre-defined number of digital tokens to the public in a limited period of time. The ICO market grew very rapidly during 2017 and has been a new avenue for blockchain based start-ups and projects to get the funding needed to launch their projects.

To help organisations navigate this fast-changing sector, PwC provides a comprehensive ICO solution. We provide clients with the right skills and competencies to launch and operate a successful digital token and ICO. From KYC/AML controls, tokenomics, tax implications to strategy and product design - we provide end-to-end ICO support.

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Contact us

Andy Wilson

Partner/Director, PwC South Africa

Tel: +27 (0) 11 797 5626

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