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    By Jamie Redman,

    Big Four accounting firm EY (Ernst & Young) has just announced its Switzerland branch will be accepting bitcoin. Furthermore, the professional services company will install a bitcoin ATM in the main building of its Swiss office.

    EY Switzerland Will Accept Bitcoin for Services

    220px-ey_logo13EY Switzerland says the firm believes in the digitalization of emerging technology and innovation. Early on, the company bolstered blockchain technology in its written research findings for clientele. This January 2017 Switzerland’s EY customers will be pay for auditing and advisory invoices with Bitcoin. After adding bitcoin support, the company will install the bitcoin ATM in one of its offices in Zurich.

    The company explains the automated teller will be accessible to both EY employees and Swiss residents in the area. The Switzerland branch will also give employees an EY wallet app that enables “excellent protection against unauthorized access within the EY system environment.” The main point of the new services and ATM is to drive digitalization awareness to EY employees and clients.

    “We don’t only want to talk about digitalization, but also actively drive this process together with our employees and our clients,” explains Marcel Stalder, CEO of EY Switzerland.  “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.”

    Educating Clients on the Transformative Digitalization Processes

    EY Switzerland says as a financial professional services firm it advises and supports educating clients about transformative technologies. The company says that some customers are already creating “end-to-end products” which require advisement on new processes, risks, regulatory policy, and tax guidelines. Virtual currency solutions and blockchain technology have been on the forefront of innovation and EY has been eyeing this trend for quite some time.

    Daniel Haudenschild, EY Partner Advisory Financial Services says that EY’s innovation laboratory the “EY Garage Lab” is developing smart contract products with clients. “In combination with digital currencies, the benefits of such products, including low transaction costs and automated processing, can be fully realized,” he added.

    EY Will Help Keep Switzerland’s Digital Hub Thriving

    bitcoin2ewt-256EY wants to help progress Switzerland’s leadership as a digital hub. The country is well known for being friendly towards cryptocurrency innovation and blockchain protocols. EY Switzerland is the founding member of Digital Switzerland a group that supports digital innovation in global markets. The firm is also co-sponsoring the World Web Forum 2017 next year in Zurich, and will be presenting EY developed blockchain solutions.

    Additionally, EY Switzerland is collaborating on research with the University of St. Gallen and the ETH Zurich. The research will be focused on transforming the financial industry by exploring services that provide long-term value to clientele. The groups will initially identify areas and solutions in regards to “client interaction and advisory services.” Finally, the last step will be developing and testing solutions with clients in the company’s fintech lab.

    EY isn’t the first Big Four firm to add a Bitcoin ATM and educate clients and employees on the decentralized cryptocurrency. Deloitte’s Toronto office also recently installed a Bitcoin ATM and is educating employees. Iliana Oris Valiente, the business development manager and co-founder of Rubix, Deloitte’s blockchain team, told, “It’s the best way to illustrate the power of the technology.”

    However, EY Switzerland is taking it a step further by allowing clients to pay for invoices with Bitcoin and utilizing an EY custom wallet. There’s no doubt that big financial incumbents are taking Bitcoin seriously.

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