Strategy

Bitcoin Reaches The Big Four As PwC Takes First Crypto Payment

Josh O'Neill, Assistant Editor, 1 December 2017

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The firm appears to be among the first of the Big Four to accept crypto payments.

Accounting and professional services behemoth PricewaterhouseCoopers said today it had accepted a payment in bitcoin for its advisory services, its first in a crypto-currency. 

The announcement came a day after bitcoin blasted through the $11,000 mark for the first time, reaching a new all-time high. Its value has jumped more than $3,000 over the past week. 

The rally has prompted questions over whether the first ever crypto-currency is a true store of value that can be used to transact or merely a speculative “commodity” toyed with by day traders. 

PwC’s Hong Kong operation said that it had accepted the payment because it is increasingly working with start-ups in the city-state involved in the crypto-currency and blockchain sectors. Blockchain is the distributed ledger technology that underpins bitcoin and all other crypto-currency transactions. 

“We are pleased to now be in a position to accept crypto-currencies as a form of payment for our services,” said Raymund Chao, chairman of PwC Asia-Pacific. “This decision helps illustrate how we are embracing new technology and incorporating innovative business models across our full range of services. It is also an indication that bitcoin and other established crypto-currencies have now developed into more broadly accepted forms of settlement.”

PwC joins a growing list of established companies that accept crypto-currencies as a valid form of payment, including Microsoft, online retailer Overstock.com and satellite television operator Dish Network. In Japan, bitcoin is widely recognised as a payment form and in Switzerland, certain cities allow residents to pay portions of their taxes using the crypto-currency. 

Yesterday, bitcoin was trading at over $11,350 at peak times, according to CoinDesk. It has surged more than 950 per cent this year, turning from what was once considered a niche product to a hot topic among mainstream investors and the media. 

Over the years, however, it has proved extraordinarily volatile, and has declined more than 50 per cent eight times since 2011. 

CME Group, the futures marketplace, has filed an application to launch bitcoin futures contracts, as has Nasdaq, which could give bitcoin merit on Wall Street.

Goldman Sachs is said to be weighing a new unit dedicated to trading crypto assets. 

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