Tech 22 September 2017

Ed Drake

Swisscom launches new Blockchain entity

Swisscom, one of Switzerland’s biggest telecommunications firms, has announced the launch of a new entity to focus on blockchain technology.

The company, which is owned by the Swiss state, unveiled the new company, Swisscom Blockchain AG, this week, to focus on a range of blockchain services.

These will include support for companies organising ICOs, in addition to providing enterprise-grade solutions for larger scale applications.

The launch comes a matter of weeks after Swisscom joined the Hyperledger consortium, a group of over 150 companies working in collaboration to develop infrastructure for blockchain technologies.

In addition, Swisscom is a member of a Switzerland-based blockchain consortium, which includes Zürcher Kantonalbank and SIX, the country’s largest exchange operator. The consortium announced back in January that it had devised a protocol for OTC trading in ethereum, and is currently working on several other deployments of the technology.

The decision to launch a company specifically targeting blockchain is an escalation of Swisscom’s interests in the blockchain space.

Since joining Hyperledger, Swisscom has been notable in their optimism and proactive approach to developing blockchain solutions, a sentiment that continues to influence their strategy, according to senior executives.

Johannes Höhener of Swisscom said their aim is to provide the support clients need to escalate their own blockchain projects, through combining their increasing expertise in distributed ledger technology.

“We want to provide support as a catalyst with expertise, experience and implementation skills.”

The new blockchain unit will look to develop a range of apps, including developments specifically targeting off-exchange trading. The company is expected to build a team of up to 20 by the end of 2017, as they look to develop into a significant force in blockchain services.

The company has already secured its first few clients, drawing in companies from across the financial and insurance sectors, with interest from several others across the retail and manufacturing sectors.

Swisscom Blockchain AG will be 70% owned by Swisscom, with the remaining equity divided between the founding partners. EY Switzerland’s Daniel Haudenschild will move to head up the company, bringing with him several other members of the EY team, in addition to staff seconded from Swisscom directly.

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