Many lambast Bitcoin for “not being a real currency”. But, this doesn’t seem to be true.
Since Bitcoin started to show signs of life following 2018’s massive bear market, firms have expressed more and more interest in accepting the cryptocurrency as a form of payment. On Monday, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) — one of the “Big Four” companies — revealed that one of its regional divisions will be accepting payments made in Bitcoin, marking a small yet positive step forward in the adoption cycle of cryptocurrency.
We Accept Bitcoin, Says PWC
On Tuesday, PWC Luxembourg revealed in a press release that it is “stepping further into blockchain” by accepting Bitcoin payments from its clients starting on October 1st. Interestingly, the auditor didn’t mention the payment processor or exchange it is partnering with to make this integration happen, only calling it a “local regulated exchange”. PWC writes that this anonymity has been put in place to “provide the best payment experience” and to meet local regulatory standards.
While it isn’t clear how much actual demand PWC’s Luxembourg division will see for this solution, it asserted that it believes in Bitcoin’s future, hence its decision to accept it as a form of payment.
They called the cryptocurrency a “symbol of a revolutionary payment model”, touching on its status as the “first peer-to-peer payment mechanism that cannot be compromised and is based on a decentralized trust model”.
PWC Luxembourg also accentuated the potential of blockchain in today’s society, calling the “technology underlying cryptocurrency” a likely “medium to long-term standard in the economy”. John Parkhouse, the chief executive of the regional division, stated in a press comment that he believes blockchain technologies have the potential to allow for dramatic cost savings in business, improvement of social capital, and unlocking value “currently stuck in the economy”.
This, of course, isn’t PWC’s first foray into this nascent industry. Two years ago, a Hong Kong office accepted Bitcoin for its services. In June of this year, a PWC branch in China revealed that it would be participating in the “Walmart China Blockchain Traceability Platform”. This platform is looking to “implement a traceability strategy for products and pioneer the large-scale application of blockchain traceability” to give consumers more information about the products they are purchasing.
And most recently and most notably, the firm released an auditing software solution, Halo, that accommodate “entities engaging in cryptocurrency transactions.” This is likely to be important in the ongoing fight from regulators against crime involving digital assets, which are inherently hard to keep track of.
Not The Only “Big Four” Firm in Crypto
PWC is far from the first Big Four firm to have taken the cryptocurrency pill. Actually, the four firms at the top of the professional services industry — PWC, Deloitte, KPMG, and Ernst & Young — have all taken the plunge.
Case in point, Ernst & Young earlier this year released Nightfall, a privacy tool for Ethereum. The idea is to leverage zero-knowledge proofs to hide the details of transactions on Ethereum to give institutions using the technology some more privacy. This comes as some large corporations — namely JP Morgan — have opted to fork the Ethereum code to run their own chains, presumably for scalability and privacy reasons.
KPMG partnered with Microsoft, TOMIA, and R3 earlier this year to develop a blockchain for settlements for telecom companies. It also released a report in the midst of 2018’s bear market that cryptocurrencies are being institutionalized.
And Deloitte has made numerous entries into the industry, releasing different solutions for blockchain firms and mentioning cryptocurrencies on multiple occasions.
All of the Big Four firms have been taking different approaches. However, their decision to invest human and financial capital into blockchain solutions shows that they believe this industry has a future, despite what the countless cynics may believe.