Yesterday, PwC and Swiss blockchain security firm ChainSecurity announced that ChainSecurity’s staff are joining PricewaterhouseCoopers Switzerland (PwC). We believe this is an “acquihire” but await confirmation from PwC. ChainSecurity provides technical audits of smart contracts and blockchain projects and will add to the portfolio of PwC, one of the Big Four accounting and consulting firms.
ChainSecurity is a spin-off from the ICE Centre, an R&D lab at ETH Zurich, a leading university in Europe. It is ranked 13 in the World University Rankings, tied alongside UC Berkeley. The firm has over 75 blockchain companies as clients including stable coin issuer Paxos, and blockchain protocols Polkadot and Zilliqa.
The firm develops custom security solutions for blockchain projects, identifies vulnerabilities and verifies the functional correctness of smart contracts, blockchain platforms, and protocols. Previously, the ChainSecurity team discovered a vulnerability in an Ethereum upgrade, preventing a major breach in January 2019.
With the acquisition of ChainSecurity, PwC Switzerland aims to position itself as a leading smart contract assurance provider.
“As part of PwC Switzerland, the ChainSecurity team will focus on accelerating PwC Switzerland’s blockchain audits, including technical ones, checks of smart contracts and blockchain platforms as well risk protection services for customers who own crypto systems,” said Andreas Eschbach, Partner and Leader Risk Assurance Services at PwC Switzerland.
The founders of ChainSecurity are all alumni of ETH Zurich. They have led the security working groups of the Crypto Valley Association, the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance and the Swiss Blockchain Federation. Additionally, the firm started the Swiss Blockchain Security initiative in May 2019.
With the development of new applications, blockchain security is becoming a priority for companies. A few months ago, a survey revealed several vulnerabilities in the Ethereum blockchain.
Last year, Nomura Holdings and Digital Garage invested in blockchain security firm Quantstamp, and established a limited liability company in Japan.
IBM is also exploring the sector, and its X-Force Red security team is working on a blockchain security testing service.
Meanwhile, PwC is also piloting other blockchain applications around the world. It has launched a software solution to provide cryptocurrency audit services.