PwC Launches Software For Auditing Cryptocurrency Transactions

Neil Dennis

PwC, one of the so-called "Big Four" auditing firms, announced on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, the launch of a new software package capable of auditing cryptocurrency transactions.

An addition to its existing Halo suite of auditing tools, the new software can be used to provide assurance services for counterparties engaging in digital asset trading. 

Cryptocurrency Ownership

The software is capable of providing evidence of private key and public address pairing in order to establish ownership of cryptocurrency. It can also communicate with the blockchain to independently corroborate information about transactions and balances.

PwC - formerly PriceWaterhouseCooper - said it had already started leveraging its new Halo solution to support audits of its clients engaged in cryptocurrency activities.

The company added:

We are also working with companies, for whom we are not the auditor, to help them address the new opportunities and challenges of blockchain and cryptocurrency, including helping them to implement the processes and controls they will require in order to obtain assurance reports from their auditors.

Big Four Gaining Ground

All four of the large global auditing companies are gathering ground in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries, as opportunities provided by the growing government and regulatory scrutiny of the sector improve.

Indeed EY, formerly Ernst & Young, launched in March its EY Crypto-Asset Accounting and Tax (CAAT) tool that it rolled-out first to its institutional clients with crypto-assets on their balance sheets.

EY said in a statement at the time that it had seen significant increases in the number of clients that hold and trade cryptocurrencies.

Regulatory Scrutiny

Such tools are likely to become increasingly important as global regulatory scrutiny of the cryptocurrency market intensifies. Later this week the Financial Action Task Force will publish the results of discussions and issue recommendations that are likely to include the obligation to provide on request details of crypto-asset transfers.

James Chalmers, Global Assurance Leader at PwC, said:

It is important as companies continue to digitise we, as auditors, keep up with technology changes in the market, continue to develop audit tools that meet the needs of emerging technologies and serve the changing and developing demands of our stakeholders.

Bitcoin Hashrate Hits New Record as New ASIC Miners Brought Online

Neil Dennis

Bitcoin's hashrate - the computing power dedicated to mining the world's biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalization - hit another record high as thousands of new miners came online in the last few months.

Data from bitcoin mining pool BTC.com showed another milestone level passed. At block height 594,720 , the average hashrate jumped to 85.08 exahashes per second (EH/s), smashing the previous record rate of 77.08 EH/s on September 1.

Mining Difficulty

As ever more powerful mining rigs come online and compete for bitcoin rewards, the hashrate increases as the network's blockchain adjusts its mining difficulty to ensure the time to produce a single block remains the same - around 10 minutes.

On Friday September 13, the difficulty rate also hit a new record high of 11.89 trillion, up from the previous 10.77 trillion as measured on September 1.

Powerful new application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miners have an average hash power of about 55 terahashes per second (TH/s). Given that 1 EH/s is equal to 1 million TH/s it can be estimated that since June 14, when the hashrate stood at 53.03, the extra 33 EH/s may be accounted to around 600,000 new ASICs added to the total bitcoin mining pool in those three months.

Just last week, two new Bitmain ASIC models hit the market only to be sold out instantly.

 

Featured Image Credit: Picture Courtesy of Bitmain