Microsoft Corp. has joined forces with KPMG International, one of the “Big Four” auditing firms, to launch “Blockchain Nodes.” These aren’t nodes in the familiar sense, but rather innovative workspaces for blockchain technology development.
Together, KPMG and Microsoft are creating prototypes that implement blockchain technology solutions at their joint Blockchain Nodes, which will be located around the world, with the first two in Frankfurt and Singapore. A future location is planned for New York.
These Nodes will draw strength from Microsoft’s years of “technical expertise” and KPMG’s “deep industry and blockchain application knowledge.” Combine that with both companies’ connections to the startup and developer communities, and you have a strong formula for success.
In September 2016, KPMG announced their Digital Ledger Services, a suite of services aimed at helping finance companies utilize the benefits of blockchain technology, regarding increased speed and security in transactions, and the streamlining and automation of back office operations. So KPMG is well aware of all the advantages the blockchain can offer. Eamonn Maguire, the global/U.S. leader for KPMG's Digital Ledger Services, said:
"The Blockchain Nodes will play a critical role in identifying new applications and use cases that blockchain can address. They will enable us to work directly with clients to discover and test ideas based on market insights, creating and implementing prototype solutions that use this innovative technology."
While both companies’ current focus is on the financial services sphere, they eventually plan to examine how business processes in other industries can be optimized by blockchain technology. Healthcare and the public sector are next on their agenda, with a potential expansion to other industries in the future.
With the Blockchain Nodes, KPMG is expanding their strategic alliance with Microsoft to further development on blockchain initiatives. The two companies have also collaborated to help clients move to cloud-based storage, and integrate disruptive, yet beneficial, blockchain technologies by leveraging Microsoft’s Azure platform, which can easily launch an Ethereum blockchain network, and KPMG’s comprehensive suite of professional services. Marley Gray, principal program manager of Azure Blockchain Engineering, said:
"Together with KPMG's experience in successfully transforming business models, we are pursuing innovative applications of blockchain technology that will help our customers worldwide achieve their strategic goals. The global availability of our Microsoft Azure cloud platform, the hybrid cloud architecture, and multi-tiered security address the specific compliance requirements of clients and help accelerate the use case process."
It seems a central goal of the companies' collaboration is to focus on developing blockchain-based prototypes for use cases specifically relevant to particular businesses. This is to ensure that no time is wasted developing a project that may have trouble integrating into existing systems. A tech giant teaming up with one of the world’s largest professional services companies shouldn’t have trouble providing bespoke fintech solutions that benefit their clients.
The Blockchain Nodes should only help to speed adoption of blockchain technology across several industries primed for disruption. This should be a boon to the entire fintech ecosystem.