Global professional services group Ernst & Young (EY) has announced on July 19, 2018, its acquisition of Andy Crypto-Asset Accounting and Tax (CAAT), a cryptocurrency accounting and regulatory compliance technology solution from Elevated Consciousness, a San Francisco startup that specializes in developing crypto asset solutions. EY announced through its Americas Tax Innovation Foundry.
Why CAAT and why now?
CAAT is an accounting tool that integrates with crypto exchanges and wallets, giving clear and high-level insights into past transactions and holdings inventory. The tool is likely to be very useful to large institutional traders and investors who cannot use conventional accounting and tax solutions within the cryptocurrency market.
Ownership of CAAT gives EY a clear competitive advantage as it aims to attract investor clients who are on the cusp of entering the crypto markets, in line with its drive to expand its blockchain-related service offerings. Earlier in 2018, EY launched the “EY Blockchain Analyzer” program following this strategic goal.
Giving his thoughts on the acquisition, EY Global Innovation Leader, Blockchain, Paul Brody said:
“Tax strategy, planning, and execution will be a key part of everything we build across our solutions, from supply chain management to software licensing solutions. We plan to integrate the CAAT tool into our blockchain analyzer portfolio to develop one of the industry’s broadest sets of technology and process services in tax and assurance.”
On her part, Kate Barton, global vice chair of EY’s tax services, explained that EY sees cryptocurrencies and blockchain as “transformational forces” that have the power to alter how business is done permanently. Barton said:
“CAAT positions us as a leader in serving a variety of companies adopting crypto-assets in an evolving regulatory environment.”
The big Four Warm up to Crypto
BTCManager reported in December 2017 that the so-called global “Big 4” accounting firms namely Ernst & Young, PwC, Deloitte, and KPMG have begun getting into cryptocurrency regarding client briefs and invoice payments. In November 2017, PwC Hong Kong accepted payment from a client in bitcoin and established a blockchain partnership with Northern Trust. This followed in the footsteps of EY, which became the first globally recognized accounting firm to accept bitcoin payments earlier in 2017.
In May 2018, PwC purchased an interest in VeChain SEA, a blockchain service provider based in Singapore. Two years before in 2016, Deloitte installed a bitcoin ATM in its Toronto office expressing their belief in the importance of learning about the technology and getting used to it.
While banks and institutional investors have sometimes sent conflicting signals about their intentions toward the cryptocurrency market, the Big 4 have managed to stay ahead of the curve by correctly anticipating the growth and increasing adoption of cryptocurrencies.
The latest move by EY is likely to set off similar moves by its competitors as they scramble to position themselves for an expected windfall that will take place as institutional investors get into coin markets. By providing necessary professional services like accounting and tax consultancy for market participants, the group of accounting firms is thus reprising the famously successful “49-er” model of gold rush capitalism.
The CAAT platform was developed by a team of blockchain developers and entrepreneurs led by Elevated Consciousness Inc. CEO VJ Anma, who designed the platform.