PWC the first of ‘the big four’ to accept cryptocurrency transactions

January 30, 2018

Chris Algie

Head of Business Development

Many businesses are accepting cryptocurrency for their goods and services, showing that Bitcoin and many others like it are fast being embraced by markets and being seen as a legitimate form of payment whether it comes to purchasing a house or buying food from a restaurant.

However, eyebrows were raised toward the end of 2017 when PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) announced that it had accepted a payment in Bitcoin after providing its advisory services to a customer. While cryptocurrency transactions are nothing new, their acceptance by PwC is big news and represents something of a seismic shift in the market.

PwC is known as one of the ‘big four’ accounting firms alongside Deloitte, Ernst & Young and KPMG. Previously banks and other financial institutions have been sceptical regarding the growth of cryptocurrency, especially Bitcoin after its explosion in value. PwC accepting it as payment helps give a powerful vote of confidence to the legitimacy of the market.

Cryptocurrency transactions are becoming the norm

It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that PwC’s endorsement of cryptocurrency is a watershed moment. They could also have begun a trend that sees other financial institutions relax their initial pessimism and accept the growing potential of cryptocurrency, not just as payment for their own services but in a wider social context.

Eric Lonergan, macro fund manager at M&G spoke to CNBC at the start of 2018 to offer an interesting prediction about the future role of banks and cryptocurrency. Lonergan is firm in his belief that big, global banks are set to jump on the digital currency bandwagon and work to adopt currencies within the market such as Ripple, Ethereum and others.

“The technological innovation that’s going on is hugely useful more generally,” he says. “It will probably, actually benefit incumbents. I would not be surprised if the innovation that comes from digital currencies, cryptocurrencies, actually goes to the Visas and the Mastercards and the traditional banks because they’re picking up R&D for free.”

A train of thought that was supported recently by Carl-Ludwig Thiele, an executive board member of Germany’s central bank, Bundesbank. “What’s more relevant to us than Bitcoin is the technology behind it. We’re in discussions here with central banks from a large number of countries about our experiences,” he says.

Futureproofing your business for the digital currency revolution

In a short space of time, the collective narrative from large global financial institutions has shifted from one of deep caution and warnings of burst bubbles to acceptance and exploration of the technology behind digital currencies and the potential behind it.

Indeed, some banks in Switzerland and the United States are already selling digital currencies and working to adapt their traditional model to factor in cryptocurrencies. With that in mind, it pays for businesses and online platforms of all sizes and backgrounds to better prepare for a future where digital currencies are more commonplace.

Not only can it help to futureproof and prepare your business, but can also go a long way to attracting customers who are already out there purchasing goods and services with Bitcoin and others.

Find out more about the role digital currencies have to play in the future and how you can align your business with them by speaking to a specialist Fibonatix consultant today.