The accounting services firm PwC has announced that it is testing a blockchain analytics tool, designed to track digital tokens since its launch in Initial Currency Offers (ICO).
PwC, which last November revealed that it has accepted bitcoins in exchange for consulting services, has said that the new software will help companies protect themselves from having their tokens misused in criminal activities.
PwC seeks to capitalize on the growing interest in ICO
PwC is a prestigious multinational audit firm, which has offices in many parts of the world. Right now it is one of the two largest audit companies worldwide.
Last November, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Hong Kong PwC office accepted Bitcoin as payment for consulting services, revealing that the company has been interested in digital currency and the underlying blockchain technology for the past three years.
The measure was considered a milestone for the companym and an indication that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have begun to have more widespread acceptance by traditional finance operators.
The partner of PwC China and Hong Kong, Eric Young, has said that with the new blockchain analysis software, the company seeks to capitalize on the growing interest of Asian companies in the manufacturing, retail and technology sectors, which seek to raise funds through Initial Coin Offering (ICO).
Some analysts believe that PwC is planning to take advantage of the migration of many companies to Hong Kong and Singapore, which have become privileged places for tokens emissions, since both have decided not to regulate the ICOs.
ICO issuers will be able to track their post-emissions tokens
Mr. Young has said that the new blockchain analytics tool, which is being developed by an emerging technology team that is made up of more than 80 people, will enable ICO issuers to track their cryptocurrencies from the moment of the emission, to avoid its use in illicit activities.
Blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger, which keeps records of all transactions that take place through a point-by-point network. In that regard, Young has shown that “While on the blockchain ledger one could track the amount of transactions that have been done using cryptocurrencies, there is still no way for an issuer of an ICO to trace its coins and know how these coins are being used.”
PwC has said that the company is focused on helping companies to better manage risks, and prevent their tokens from being transferred to entities or individuals linked to sanctioned countries, which will allow the company to take measures to prevent its use in illicit transactions.
Mr. Young promises that “With artificial intelligence incorporated into our backup engine, our solutions will allow customers to better predict to which jurisdictions the digital token could potentially circulate”, adding that “depending on the type of company and the type of business in which it participates, it could apply a high-risk rating to that particular jurisdiction.”
Innovation can strengthen PwC ties with new launches of ICOs
During the last six months, PwC has been working with companies seeking to launch ICOs, assisting them in designing their governance structure. That includes verification of the procedures of its clients, to comply with the legal practices and regulations in anti-money laundering procedures. In addition, they have been providing support and advice in litigation and structuring tax payments.
During a launch of ICO, the companies sell a fixed amount of digital tokens, as a way to raise funds for their projects related to blockchain, such as payment networks, games or finances. PwC estimates that in the first 10 months of 2017, about 3.25 billion dollars were raised through ICOs around the world.
The new blockchain analytics software from PwC could be a step to improve the negative perception that exists in relation to ICOs, which until this day do not have specific accounting standards.
This is a reason for cryptocurrencies to be seen with reservations, since from some sectors they are perceived as a tool to allow money laundering, and in some cases as a way to finance terrorism.