PwC, an accounting powerhouse with over 220,000 employees and a $36 billion annual revenue, has made its first official investment in the blockchain industry. The company’s arms in Hong Kong and Singapore have each acquired a small ownership interest in VeChain, a blockchain-based anti-counterfeit and supply chain startup out of China.
The investment is thought to provide PwC with VeChain’s trust-based services through its platform, which will require the use of VeChain Tokens to access and perform transactions. VeChain’s platform has already been adopted by several established companies as part of their production system across various industries.
VeChain is a subsidiary of Chinese blockchain technology company BitSE, which was launched in November 2016 to create, manage and update shared data about products in the supply chain. PwC’s investment will help VeChain accelerate its deployment in Hong Kong and South East Asia, as well as offer the blockchain startup strategic advice.
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PwC is one of the famed Big Four tax and accounting companies in the world, which also includes Deloitte, EY, and KPMG. It was the second mega professional services company to offer its clients the possibility of settling their invoices in Bitcoin.
PwC isn’t the first Big Four firm to adopt Bitcoin payments as Ernst & Young (EY) already enabled its clients last year to pay for products and services using the decentralized cryptocurrency. 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.
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.
Commenting on the news, Raymund Chao, PwC Asia Pacific, and Greater China Chairman said: “We are glad to establish a deeper relationship with VeChain, which aims to build a trusted and distributed business ecosystem to help address long-standing challenges in supply chain management, food trust, and anti-counterfeiting areas. VeChain’s mission aligns with PwC’s purpose of solving important problems and building trust in society.”