PwC Luxembourg is stepping further into blockchain and crypto-assets by accepting Bitcoin payments from its clients as from 1 October 2019, in a move acknowledging the needs of clients and the willingness of the Luxembourgish Firm to support the growing national crypto ecosystem.
Understanding the game, playing by its rules
Bitcoin is now ten years old and went through a very public rollercoaster-life cycle over the years since its inception. In it relatively short history it has gone from being a symbol of a revolutionary payment model to a dark-web preferred currency tag, all the while passing through breathtaking price fluctuations. It has been a tough childhood to say the least.
What is certain, however, is that Bitcoin kept its promise as the first peer-to-peer payment mechanism that cannot be compromised and is based on a decentralised trust model. Despite this technological breakthrough, bad buzz and structural challenges have added to its growing pains by acting as impediments to its mass adoption.
PwC Luxembourg, a firm whose purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems, acknowledges both the disruptive dimension as well as the current shortcomings of cryptocurrencies.
Looking beyond obvious challenges, the Luxembourg firm strongly believes in the underlying technology as a medium to long-term standard in the economy and strives to position itself as an early adopter. The move to embrace crypto-payments is also a strong reflection of carefully listening to the growing demand from the market and PwC Luxembourg clients and offering them a secure payment alternative reflecting the evolution of our economy.
Thomas Campione, Director, Blockchain & Crypto-assets Leader, PwC Luxembourg, states:
“As part of the Firm’s market assessment, what quickly became clear is that we could not continue to invest in the field, promote it, build solutions for clients and support their transformation while not also being exposed to it. Our role is to lead and it is only by being an active leader with exposure that we at PwC Luxembourg can understand the challenges inherent to the crypto world. It is very difficult to properly appreciate the challenges of AML/KYC-enhanced due diligence in a world made of public/private keys, with the complexity and risks of custodial solutions, or to comprehend the decentralised finance ecosystem growing “next door” without being exposed to it in its day-to-day activities.”
The Firm acknowledges the challenges of this move and has carefully reviewed its internal policies and procedures to meet the standards required by the crypto industry and closely collaborated with a local regulated exchange to provide the best payment experience.
PwC Luxembourg, blockchain & crypto-assets
This announcement from the PwC Luxembourg office is a building block of its strategy that revolves around proprietary global PwC-branded blockchain products, including a crypto-audit tool, smart trace, smart credentials, etc. It also offers professional support to market players who are considering the application of blockchain and crypto-assets to transform their business or create new ones.
Globally, PwC has more than 400 staff working on blockchain and crypto-topics supported by more than 100 technical team members focusing exclusively on blockchain technology as well as a Center of Excellence that hosts more than 20 blockchain developers who are all deeply connected through a very strong network coordination.
The local team, led by Thomas Campione, Director, PwC Luxembourg, mixes traditional business representatives (Assurance, Advisory and Tax) with pure blockchain developers and technical team members. The purpose of this team is to support existing and future clients in their blockchain and crypto-assets journey, to bridge between traditional and decentralised business, and between incumbents and blockchain and/or crypto-born players.
The need to grow the ecosystem and build skills
John Parkhouse, Territory Senior Partner and CEO of PwC Luxembourg, stated:
“The development of blockchain technology, and the emergence of a new decentralised economy supported by the rise of crypto-assets, are heavily reliant on an individual’s ability to understand the disruptive and pervasive impact of these new concepts. Even more importantly, it depends on the ability of the ecosystem to move synchronously. Upskilling will be key and the capacity to build and grow the ecosystem will be at least as important to harvest the true benefits of the technology. This is true whether it is about dramatic cost-saving through process streamlining, improvement of social capital due to new decentralized business models, or by unlocking hidden-value currently stuck in the economy through tokenisation.”