EY Switzerland will become the first advisory firm in the world to accept Bitcoin.
Formerly known as Ernst and Young, the professional service company announced via a press release on Friday, that it would be integrating Bitcoin as part of a greater digitization process. All EY Switzerland employees will be issued Bitcoin wallets through a custom wallet app. This will also include a publicly accessible two-way Bitcoin ATM at its headquarters in Zurich.
As EY Switzerland CEO Marcel Stalder notes, the pro-Bitcoin push is necessary to get his company and employees familiar with Blockchain technology, which will likely dominate the future of the finance industry:
“We don’t only want to talk about digitalization, but also actively drive this process together with our employees and our clients. It is important to us that everybody gets on board and prepares themselves for the revolution set to take place in the business world through Blockchains, smart contracts and digital currencies.”
“Blockchains are a very quickly developing technology that can permanently change many sectors. In Switzerland’s role as an important financial and industrial center and to further its development as a digital hub, it is essential that it be a pioneer in this area.”
EY is third of the four largest accounting firms in the world, also known as the “big four,” which also includes Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG.
Switzerland fast becoming a hub of digital innovation
This latest integration by a major company serves to further solidify Switzerland’s reputation as a Blockchain-friendly nation. At SBB train station ticket machines all around the country, customers can buy Bitcoin to top up their wallets. The town of Zug, in the famed “crypto valley” which is home to several Blockchain-based startups, will accept Bitcoin payments for town services through the remainder of this year as part of a trial run to test the digital currency. Earlier this year, the Swiss parliament moved to deregulate Blockchain startups to exempt them from strict financial disclosure laws and spur innovation.
Switzerland long maintained a reputation as the global center for financial privacy because of legendary banking secrecy. With Bitcoin representing the next wave of financial privacy after Swiss bank accounts, it would make sense for Switzerland’s financial services to embrace leading technology to maintain a competitive edge in the industry.
The financial world races towards digitalization, prompted by Bitcoin
The success of Bitcoin, the great pioneer of Blockchain technology, has spurred a great push towards the digitalization of global finance. Several nations, including Ukraine, South Korea and Tunisia, have all begun plans to implement digital currency. Senegal has joined the ranks of nations sporting a digital currency, and may soon be followed by a host of other African nations. The IMF predicts that within five years time, banks around the world will likely adopt digital currencies into use.