Category Archives: PwC

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PwC: 84% of Companies Active in Blockchain but More Trust Needed

A new report out by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) illustrates the degree to which companies are now seeing blockchain as an essential business tool.

The report shows that out of companies surveyed, 84% were actively involved in blockchain technology in some way. The PwC 2018 Global Blockchain Survey included 600 company executives for 15 different regions.

Everyone is talking about blockchain, and no one wants to be left behind,” reported PwC, adding, “In reality, companies confront trust issues at nearly every turn… As with any emerging technology, challenges and doubts exist around blockchain’s reliability, speed, security and scalability.”

Some 45% of executives said that trust was the only issue that might prevent it moving forward, along with regulatory uncertainty, and compliance and intellectual property concerns. Other research from Cowan suggests that it make take up to six years for acceptance and widespread adoption.

Bloomberg read the PwC figures from a completely different perspective, suggesting that “most companies aren’t diving into blockchain”, pointing out that out of the 600 companies surveyed, “only 15% of them have a live project and only 10% are piloting blockchain’s use”.

Bloomberg suggests that the reason that many companies haven’t leapt in wholeheartedly and adopted blockchain is down to the cost of replacing current systems. Plus companies need to be convinced that there are significant advantages over their existing systems which at this stage is difficult to prove. Graine Mcnamara of PwC explained:

“It’s a little bit stunning how stagnant it is. A lot of people took a few steps and are pausing before the bridge. They might be having a hard time articulating the ROI.”

What must be a considerable selling point to companies is the fact that major players such as Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Deloitte, JPMorgan and HSBC all have blockchain initiatives either in progress or planned for the future. It is likely that as these initiatives prove their worth the industry will take a more active interest. The interest shown by Facebook this year is likely to add to this impetus.


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$13.7 Billion Raised so Far as 2018 Shatters ICO Volume Record

PwC, in collaboration with Crypto Valley, has released a report titled ‘Initial Coin Offerings: A strategic perspective‘ that analyzes ICO activity from 2013 through June 2018. The report found that 2018 has shattered the yearly ICO volume record, with USD 13.7 billion raised in 2018 so far.

In 2017, only USD 7 billion was raised by ICOs, and from 2013 to 2016 less than USD 300 million was raised. Since the introduction of the ICO around 2013, approximately USD 21 billion has been raised by 1,158 ICOs.

This year, there have been 537 ICOs so far, a rate of about 100 new ones per month. There is still six months to go in 2018 but already it is near the total amount of 552 ICOs in 2017. The ICO market has been rapidly accelerating as it has become a lucrative way to raise capital, creating a new paradigm of fundraising that is outside of the normal financial system. They are disrupting the venture capital industry to the point that venture capitalists have taken the perspective that if you can’t beat them join them, as hybrids of ICOs and venture capital fundraising are becoming common.

The study found that the United States, Switzerland, and Singapore are the hubs for ICO activity on their respective continents, but the United Kingdom and Hong Kong have seen a quick acceleration of such activity. Hong Kong is in a particularly favorable situation since China has banned ICOs but Hong Kong has an autonomous government, so Chinese companies that want to do them are flocking there. The Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands, territories of the United Kingdom, actually hold the worldwide records. Gibraltar, Malta, and Liechtenstein are creating laws friendly to these in an attempt to become ICO hubs in the future.

By far, the biggest ICOs are EOS at USD 4.1 billion and Telegram at USD 1.7 billion. Other top-ranked ICOs don’t come close at USD 320 million or less. In total, there have been 3,470 ICOs announced, but only 1,158 ICOs have successfully closed their funding rounds.

Legal difficulties due to rapidly increasing government regulations are the primary reason that many have failed. The United States has declared that almost all ICOs are securities and have to get permission from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Other countries with high amounts of ICO activity have a regulator in charge of reviewing them to protect investors.

Overall, the study found that ICOs have become more mature and established in 2018 after going through a less structured hype cycle in 2017. The study says the best practices are transparency, lock-up periods for tokens, interactive purchasing protocol, careful adherence to regulations combined with proper registration and a minimum of aggressive promotion. Other good strategies include combining with venture capitalist funding, structuring fundraising rounds according to actual capital needs, cybersecurity, staggering the release of funds to the development team over a period of time, and a focus on building the community and ecosystem.


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Researchers Claim That Recent Cost of Crypto Mining Figures “Pulled out of the Air”

Earlier this week, a study published by Dutch researcher Alex de Vries concluded that Bitcoin mining uses almost as much electricity as the entire Republic of Ireland, but Standford lecturer Johnathan Koomey says his figures are wrong, reports NBC news.

The recent claims that cryptocurrency is draining nation’s power supplies have been compared to concerns in the 1990s when some experts predicted that half of the US electrical grid would be needed to power the then-burgeoning internet, which was later proved to be highly exaggerated.

Koomey’s Berkley Lab proved these calculations wrong at the time, and then again in another study in August 2011 concluding that the data centers used less than 2 percent of the nation’s electricity.

Dutch researcher, Alex de Vries who made the new claims last week, seems to have ignited yet another argument over exactly how much power is being used in excess as a result of the adoption of new technologies.

Koomey asserts, “For two decades, people have been eager to overestimate electricity use by computing…My concern is that we simply don’t have adequate data to come to the strong conclusions that he’s coming to.”

The rise in popularity of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has sparked numerous concerns regarding the energy required by thousands of computing systems that power virtual currencies, and De Vries is certainly not the first to comment on it.

De Vries estimates that the Bitcoin network consumes “at least 2.55 gigawatts of electricity currently, and potentially 7.67 gigawatts in the future.” He also writes that figures will gravitate towards a figure of 8.2 gigawatts by as early as the end of 2018, as energy supplies are further called on to mine cryptocurrencies.

It is these figures that De Vries and other experts in the field contest, suggesting the numbers were simply “picked out of the air.” Koomey argues:

“There may be some basis for them, but it’s a very unreliable way to do these kinds of calculations, and nobody who does this for a living would do it like that. It’s odd that someone would.”

Christian Catalini, an assistant professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, who researches cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, pointed out much of the problem with these kinds of assertions is that data is not actually taken from miners. The very nature of the process often demands that those mining value their privacy, making energy consumption data hard obtain, and therefore to calculate, plus the equipment miners use is varied:

“The main challenge is that this gear is scattered across the globe and faces different prices. This debate keeps popping up, but it would be great if someone did some data sharing with the miners and got some good estimates.”

Bitcoin mining, whether individually or through a mining pool. is often set up in order to keep costs to a minimum, and frequently mining is conducted in such places as caves, energy-rich areas or low-cost countries, in order to reduce costs and maximize user profit. These variables make it hard to ascertain how much global energy is actually being used.

De Vries has responded to counterclaims to those made in the PwC report by his critics, suggesting that, “Right now, the information available is pretty poor quality overall, so I’m hoping that people will use this paper as a foundation for more research.”

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