CHICAGO — In a move that demonstrates its prowess auditing companies in the cryptocurrency industry, Grant Thornton LLP has announced that it audited more than $10 billion in cryptoassets during the first three months of 2019. Moreover, these audits covered 40 different cryptocurrencies across more than 100 million addresses.
Cryptocurrency companies face a growing imperative from investors and regulators to verify the existence and value of their stated assets. Grant Thornton is stepping in to help by marrying its proprietary cryptocurrency technology with its more than 90 years of audit experience and rigor.
“Cryptocurrency companies must contend with an auditing challenge that is at once simple and complex,” says Johnny Lee, national practice leader for Forensic Technology Services at Grant Thornton. “First, can you prove that you own and control the assets you are claiming as yours? And, second, do those assets really exist – and can you prove as much?”
These questions can be hard to answer since the audit trail for shared ledgers is not intuitive; shared-ledger coins are designed to consummate transactions, not necessarily to lighten the load for an auditor. Establishing a point-in-time balance for a given cryptoasset can be a tremendously intricate endeavor requiring an auditor to parse and index transaction histories in a sophisticated manner.
“We’ve accomplished that at Grant Thornton,” says Markus Veith, a partner in the Audit practice at Grant Thornton and leader of the firm’s Digital Assets practice. “We’ve spent four years developing technology platforms and auditing methodologies that allow us to create point-in-time balances for cryptocurrencies – and we’ve done it with a level of accuracy that satisfies strict auditing standards. The result is that we can independently verify what a company holds in various cryptocurrencies.”
Veith is referring to Grant Thornton’s proprietary hybrid-cloud audit platform, which allows Grant Thornton to provide a variety of solutions to its cryptocurrency clients. The platform houses complete archival copies of blockchains for 40 cryptocurrencies, including:
- Bitcoin Cash,
- All ERC20-compliant tokens,
- NXT, and
As Veith said, Grant Thornton has also developed proprietary methods for testing the ownership and existence of each of these currencies, with capabilities that often exceed what is possible using more widely available tools like public blockchain-explorers.
Further, to scale these capabilities to the rapid testing of tens of millions of addresses, Grant Thornton has developed proprietary forensic nodes for certain complex currencies like Ethereum, Ethereum tokens, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash – and many of the other leading Bitcoin-derivative UTXO currencies.
Lee concludes by pointing out that Grant Thornton excels because it can audit a variety of cryptocurrencies and test millions of addresses at scale. “We did it for 40 cryptocurrencies and more than 100 million addresses in the first three months of this year alone,” he says.
To learn more about auditing cryptocurrency and how Grant Thornton can help, visit https://www.grantthornton.com/auditing-blockchain
About Grant Thornton LLP
Founded in Chicago in 1924, Grant Thornton LLP (Grant Thornton) is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, one of the world’s leading organizations of independent audit, tax and advisory firms. Grant Thornton, which has revenues in excess of $1.8 billion and operates 58 offices, works with a broad range of dynamic publicly and privately held companies, government agencies, financial institutions, and civic and religious organizations.
“Grant Thornton” refers to Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL). GTIL and the member firms are not a worldwide partnership. Services are delivered by the member firms. GTIL and its member firms are not agents of, and do not obligate, one another and are not liable for one another’s acts or omissions.
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