With blockchain having become ‘establishment’ in just a few short years the “Big Four” consulting firms are slowly eyeing ICOs (initial coin offerings) for growth opportunities. No matter what, ICOs are HUGE and rapidly changing the way capital is raised. So, with regulators and countries taking aim at controlling how ICOs are regulated (or even allowed) the need for advice on to do an ICO are peeking the interest of established consulting firms. Firms like Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young and KPMG jumped totally in the blockchain technology waters and are now dipping their toes into the shallow end of the ICO pool. AND, lets not forget the big gorilla in the room………IBM. Yup, they have their swim suits ready to dive in the pool too. Of course the consulting firm’s work initially does not focus on the U.S. (gee, wonder why) but rather in Asia and Europe where those areas are far ahead of the rest of the world. On one hand the interest of the “Big Four” brings credibility to cryptos and ICOs (which is needed) BUT the downside is that costs are going up to complete projects. Guess that also means more “quality” projects as well. Anyway, the ICO explosion is gaining some big names who see massive profit potential.
(Bill Taylor/Managing Editor)
“Initial coin offerings have raised billions of dollars for startups while attracting criminals and authorities around the globe. Now, the young market may get some help cleaning up from the Big Four consulting firms.
In recent months, the largest accounting firms have started — albeit cautiously — offering services specializing in the risky market for ICOs. The fundraising mechanism, where a company creates a new digital currency and sells it to the public, has become too big for the Big Four to ignore. ICOs generated $5.6 billion last year, driven by speculative investments, according to a report from research firm TokenData and Fabric Ventures, a blockchain investment fund.
The surge has caught the attention of regulators. China and South Korea banned ICOs outright in September. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issued subpoenas this year as part of a crackdown. Last week, the SEC said it halted an initial coin offering and alleged the founders “masterminded a fraudulent ICO.” SEC Chairman Jay Clayton called out problems in the ICO market at a conference on Tuesday as one of two issues he finds surprising and troubling. (The other was penny-stock fraud.)
Consulting firms may be able to help companies navigate a fraught market, or they could find themselves dragged into scandal. That’s why they’re moving hesitantly…”