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PwC has a new cryptocurrency auditing tool… and actually, it sounds alright

More assurance for blockchain firms

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One of the Big Four financial auditing and business services firms, PwC, wants to lend a hand to cryptocurrency businesses and help them keep track of their blockchain transactions.

In an announcement released yesterday, PwC says the addition will be made to its suite of auditing tools called Halo. The auditing firm believes it is now well-positioned to provide audit and assurance services to clients that hold and transact in cryptocurrency.

At the moment, the system only works with Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Diamond, Litecoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and the ERC20 token OAX. There’s no mention of more coins being added in the future.

While PwC hasn’t stated what kind of clients will make use of the system either, it’s clear it will be useful to cryptocurrency exchanges, and traders alike.

Given the swathe of hacks and collapsed cryptocurrency exchanges in recent years, it certainly sounds like a system that would have benefited a number of businesses. (QuadrigaCX, anyone?)

According to the announcement, the new tool can “provide independent, substantive evidence of the ‘private key and public address pairing.’” PwC says it will also, “securely interrogate the blockchain to independently and reliably gather corroborating information about blockchain transactions and balances.”

If you ask me, that just sounds like fancy auditor speak for a system that tracks cryptocurrency payments, ownership, and accounts, and puts it all in one place.

“It is important as companies continue to digitize we, as auditors, keep up with technology changes in the market, continue to develop audit tools that meet the needs of emerging technologies,” said  PwC’s global assurance leader, James Chalmers.

By its nature, cryptocurrency is easy to lose track of, especially if you misplace your seed phrase, make lots of transactions, and use a variety of different platforms.

For large legitimate corporate entities transacting in digital assets, PwC’s new tool will likely be of interest. And if it helps prevent the random loss of user funds, then it sounds like a benefit for consumers too.

It’s usually one of the Big Four auditing firms that gets called in when cryptocurrency businesses go insolvent anyway, so in someways, this tool sounds like it might save them from future work.

Of course though, with auditing and assurance comes the loss of pseudonymity, so there might be some trade off.

But considering the above, I think the tool sounds like a good thing.

Published June 20, 2019 — 11:55 UTC