Over the past few days, news has spread that KPMG has bought Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) to add to its treasury.
KPMG buys Bitcoin and Ethereum: the truth
However, the news deserves some clarification.
First of all, it is worth noting that this is official news, communicated directly by the company.
We have just completed an allocation of cryptoassets to our corporate treasury, our firm’s first of its kind investment in the asset class. This includes Bitcoin and Ethereum tokens, and carbon offsets to maintain a net-zero carbon transaction: https://t.co/32hsKbnGuC
— KPMG Canada (@KPMG_Canada) February 7, 2022
The official press release expressly states that KPMG in Canada has added Bitcoin and Ethereum to its corporate treasury.
It also reports that the company’s capital allocation in cryptocurrencies
“reflects the firm’s commitment to emerging technologies and asset classes”.
However, the necessary clarification is that this is not KPMG‘s parent company, the British firm based in the Netherlands, but the Canadian subsidiary in Toronto.
The Canadian branch’s profile on KPMG‘s official website states that the company has a long history in the country, and provides audit, tax and consulting services, like the parent company.
The Canadian company is called KPMG LLP, and is incorporated under the laws of Ontario. It appears to be a member of KPMG‘s global organisation as an independent associate firm affiliated with KPMG International, itself a private British limited liability company.
The official release also specifies that each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity.
Therefore, it is incorrect to claim that KPMG bought Bitcoin and Ethereum without specifying that it is neither the KPMG group nor KPMG International, but only the Canadian affiliate of the group.
It is not known what the official position of the parent company is with regard to this decision of the Canadian affiliate, not even with regard to cryptocurrencies in general, but there are those who speculate that the entry into the crypto market of KPMG in Canada could open the door to an entry of other companies affiliated with the group.
The words of Benjie Thomas
The words of the Canadian Managing Partner of KPMG in Canada, Benjie Thomas, are particularly interesting in this regard. Indeed, he stated:
“Cryptoassets are a maturing asset class. Investors such as hedge funds and family offices to large insurers and pension funds are increasingly gaining exposure to cryptoassets, and traditional financial services such as banks, financial advisors and brokerages are exploring offering products and services involving cryptoassets. This investment reflects our belief that institutional adoption of cryptoassets and blockchain technology will continue to grow and become a regular part of the asset mix”.
The latter notion is likely to spread to the group’s other affiliates if it proves true.
The news has triggered a number of criticisms from many “classic” bitcoiners, who frown on such traditionalist institutions entering the crypto markets, which were mainly big players in the old financial system. With mass adoption, however, this is simply inevitable.