You might remember that back in March, we brought you a round-up of the most incisive insights from the latest piece of “research” on bitcoin by Citigroup. The report included the claim that bitcoin could become “the currency of choice for international trade”, and that more illicit transactions took place using credit cards than using bitcoin (it turned out the banks’ top analysts had mistaken basis points for percentage points).
But we are of course not the types to think that one bad crypto apple means the whole bunch is rotten. So as you can imagine, it was with our usual wide-eyed credulity that we opened the latest report on “Corporates using crypto” from Deloitte.
Unfortunately, though, our characteristic receptiveness was soured the minute we saw the title and subtitle Deloitte was using in its accompanying article: “The rise of using cryptocurrency in business: Considering the benefits of crypto”. By the time we read the introduction, we trusting Alphavillains were feeling downright cynical:
Probably time to pause here already. Deloitte chose to open their entire report, in a section whose opening question is about why you would “consider using crypto”, with the fact that 2,300 US businesses accept bitcoin. Now while if you have not much sense of numbers that might seem like a relatively large one, it should probably be put in the context of the total number of US businesses out there.
According to the US Small Business Administration there were almost 31m businesses in the US in 2019. If 2,300 of those accept bitcoin, that would represent about 0.007 per cent of the total, or about seven in every 100,000. We imagine that many of these 2,300 businesses — perhaps most — are crypto- or blockchain-focused. So to say that “many retailers accept bitcoin” is possibly somewhat misleading. And what are these “operational purposes” crypto is used for that they refer to? They never explain. Still, compelling opener!
After the intro, Deloitte gets down to business: “What can crypto do for your company?” (emphasis ours):
Now we don’t want to suggest this report has been written by a bunch of crypto bros, but has this report been written by a bunch of crypto bros? Do they consider themselves “cutting-edge”? Do they think crypto has something to do with central bank digital currencies (it really doesn’t, apart from the word “digital”)? Real-time and accurate revenue-sharing while enhancing transparency to facilitate back-office reconciliation can be furnished, they say? Um, OK.
Then we’re furnished with more rationales:
Yes, you see unlike more traditional Treasury activities, crypto enables simple and secure money transfers, and strengthens control over the capital of the enterprise (!??). Naturally of course it is also should replace cash on balance sheets, because it is guaranteed to not depreciate.
The whole thing reads like a sales pitch for Crypto Limited, not a serious report from one of the big four accounting firms. Paragraphs like this are strewn in throughout:
After more fluff you come to the concluding paragraph:
It’s a shame that there was no section in this report that focused on what the risks or negative aspects of crypto are. Still, we’re sure that none of the authors of this report have any kind of vested interests here. Just doing their jobs as honest citizens and putting the cold hard truth out there aren’t they. So remember: lean in and see more fully the potential benefits of crypto!