Blockchain startups are luring more and more executives from the traditional world of finance. The latest is Ben Ingram, who is leaving the Australian arm of PwC, an accounting powerhouse with over 200k employees and a $36 billion annual revenue, to be the new CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Bitcoin.com.au.
Big Four accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers has lost its group executive of digital strategy after he announced he’d be joining the Melbourne-based trading venue in charge of developing crypto-based financial products.
In addition, Ingram will be responsible for scaling bitcoin.com.au’s trading exchange functionality and enhance its global expansion.
Ben Ingram is convinced cryptocurrency has a transformative impact on most industries, expecting the technology to redefine operating models by streamlining businesses, while also reducing cost and risk.
“We’re in the early-stage development of a new protocol. I think the core premise of distributed ledger technology (DLT) has very obvious widespread appeal. Even if the tech capabilities at present aren’t capable, I think humans will prevail. We know this tech doesn’t have a dead-end. While the evolutionary path hasn’t been fully determined, I think there’s enough evidence that there is a path,” he told Business Insider.
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Big Four’s pro-crypto push
With such growing interest in the emerging asset class, the signing of MIngram is not an isolated case in the new stage of cryptocurrency era. Crypto-linked startups are seen to attract financial gurus from the mainstream financial and professional industries.
Last week, Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange that was founded by the Winklevoss twins, has brought on a former New York Stock Exchange executive to take on the role of its first chief technology officer.
Ingram parts ways with PwC although it was the second mega professional services company to offer its clients the possibility of settling their invoices in Bitcoin.
Meanwhile, the pro-crypto push may not only aim to lower transaction costs for its advisory services but seems part of a wider strategy to promote the developments of digital products. Specifically, PwC is taking it a step further by advising customers about crypto funds and investments, cryptocurrency exchanges and fundraising through token sales, or ICOs. This will include advisement on new processes, risks, regulatory policy, and tax guidelines.
Also, other professional services have been eyeing this trend for quite some time as Bitcoin, and other established cryptocurrencies have now been more broadly accepted as forms of settlement.