PwC appoints Patrick Spens to explore transformational potential of blockchain,distributed ledger technology and encryption

Published at 09:30 AM on 17 February 2016

PwC has hired Patrick Spens, the former regulator, hedge fund founder and city trader, to help consider the implications and possible applications for blockchain technology both in the financial services industry, and also to consider its wider potential and implications across all industry sectors, government and wider society.

The potential for blockchain, the technology that powers the crypto-currency Bitcoin, to provide secure storage and distribution solutions is already seen to have far-reaching implications for the financial services industry.

Patrick will augment PwC’s existing financial services proposition for blockchain. PwC hired 15 leading blockchain specialists in January to help it develop financial technology (FinTech) solutions as part of the firm’s plans to grow a world-class FinTech offering.

However, PwC sees blockchain as presenting far wider opportunities and challenges than just disrupting business models within the financial services sector. PwC has hired Patrick to lead work on the opportunities and challenges blockchain presents for clients across all industries and sectors and, indeed, its potential to tackle major societal issues.

As a member of the Whitechapel Think Tank steering group, Patrick has played a lead role in a cross-industry and public sector forum convened to understand the opportunities and challenges presented by distributed ledger technology, or blockchain. He has a track record of innovating and applying new technology. While at Citigroup, he set up the bank’s algorithmic trading unit.

Michael Rendell, PwC’s transformation and innovation leader, said:

“We anticipate growing demand from right across our client base for help understanding the implications and potential applications of blockchain, and Patrick is one of the UK’s leading blockchain experts. While still in its infancy, we see the potential for blockchain to disrupt and revolutionise the way organisations do things and want to be at the forefront of understanding the impact and applying this technology.”

Patrick Spens brings 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, most recently as head of market monitoring at the FCA. Prior to that, he founded hedge fund Copenhagen Capital in 2005 and before that was Head of Equity and Alternative execution trading at Citigroup for EMEA.

PwC’s decision to focus on blockchain technology represents not just the firm’s move towards developing FinTech solutions, as catalyst for change and innovation in the financial services industry, but its broader commitment to helping organisations with their digital transformation.

Blockchain technology, consists of "blocks" of data in a digital ledger, and is believed to be highly resistant to malicious tampering and, therefore, potentially lend itself to widespread uses. In efforts to promote greater transparency, the ledger also creates a single shared view of the blocks, which every participant in the network can access simultaneously.

ENDS


Note to editors:

About PwC
At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 208,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.pwc.com.
PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure for further details.
© 2016 PwC. All rights reserved


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About PwC

At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 208,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.pwc.com.

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure for further details. © 2016 PwC. All rights reserved

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