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US Leads in Blockchain-Related Job Offerings Globally: Report

A recent report from TNW shows that the U.S. leads the world in blockchain-related vacancies.

The United States is the world’s leader in blockchain-related jobs, according to a research by The NextWeb (TNW) published on March 8.

To prepare the report, TNW gathered information from job and recruiting site Glassdoor, finding all the job offerings that had the term “blockchain” in the job listing in countries around the world.

The results reportedly showed that the U.S. is leading the world in terms of blockchain-related jobs, having about half, or 2,616, of a total of 5,711 blockchain jobs listed on Glassdoor globally. The U.S. is followed by the United Kingdom, with 1,015 blockchain-related job ads, while India has taken the third place, with 257 vacancies.

Among the most common jobs posted on the site, “Blockchain Engineer” takes the lead. Such positions as “Senior Software Engineer” and “Blockchain Developer” are the second and third most popular job titles, respectively.

TNW also made a list of companies offering blockchain-related vacancies, wherein tech giant IBM reportedly offers the greatest number of blockchain jobs, and is followed by Big Four accounting firm Ernst & Young and software company Oracle.

In the top 10 companies, only three are reportedly related to digital currencies, which are Foris Limited, Crypto.com, and Wirex. Payment startup Ripple is on the 17th line, and blockchain software tech company ConsenSys is the 13th.

In February, recruitment company Hired released a report showing that the global demand for blockchain engineers is up by 517 percent year-over-year. The second-fastest growing software engineering role is security engineer, with 132 percent growth, and third is embedded engineer, up 76 percent. The blockchain engineer role also consistently stayed among the top-three most-paid software engineering jobs in the various cities covered in the report.

That same month, experts and industry players said that the adoption of blockchain technology is still in its early stages at the annual meeting of The Wall Street Journal CIO Network. Although enterprise blockchain technology has found its practical use, its new applications are not large scale, according to Christine Moy, executive director and head of the blockchain center of excellence at JPMorgan Chase.

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Widow of QuadrigaCX Founder Seeks Compensation for Creditor Protection Court Costs

Jennifer Robertson is seeking $225,000 in repayment for costs associated with QuadrigaCX’s creditor protection proceedings.

The widow of the founder of now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX has asked the court for $225,000 in compensation for legal costs, Bloomberg reports on March 4.

Jennifer Robertson, the wife of late QuadrigaCX founder Gerry Cotten, is seeking repayment for financing used to help the crypto exchange acquire court-approved protection from creditors. After $145 million in crypto assets went missing following Cotten’s death, Robertson provided interim financing for legal proceedings.

According to Bloomberg, Robertson paid CA$300,000 (~$225,000), which covered Big Four audit firm Ernst & Young’s (EY) appointment as a monitor to the legal proceedings, in addition to fees associated  with filing under Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) and appointing new directors. Currently, QuadrigaCX is reportedly overseen by Robertson and her step-father, Tom Beazley, as directors.

While the issue of repaying Robertson was reportedly discussed in court, the law firm representing QuadrigaCX’s affected clients, Cox & Palmer, took issue with the repayment. In a letter filed directly to the court, the firm argued that repayment should not be granted until EY has reviewed asset and transaction information from Cotten’s estate. Cox & Palmer states:

“In our submissions, the repayment contemplated by the cash flow is inappropriate until such time as the Monitor has reviewed the requested information and satisfied itself as to the source of funds used to fund the CCAA Proceeding.”

According to the Toronto Star, Supreme Court Justice Michael Wood has extended the proceedings for 45 days until April 23, and has approved the appointment of a chief restructuring officer to the exchange. He also directed the court monitor, Ernst & Young, to assure that fees for professional services will not be “out of control.” Any decision on repayments to Robertson was also deferred.

Last week, Ernst & Young found that QuadrigaCX’s cold wallets have been empty and unused since April 2018. The firm also discovered several user accounts that “may have been created outside the normal process by Quadriga” and that “[i]t appears that the Identified Accounts were created under various aliases.”

Recently, crypto research and consulting platform ZeroNonCense published a report claiming that QuadrigaCX stored a significant quantity of Ethereum (ETH) in other crypto exchanges, such as Kraken, Bitfinex and Poloniex.

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Ernst & Young Introduces Tax Tool for Reporting Cryptocurrencies

Big Four firm Ernst & Young has released a new product for claiming taxes on cryptocurrencies.

Big Four auditing and professional services firm Ernst & Young EY) has launched a tool for accounting and preparing taxes on cryptocurrency holdings, according to a press release published on Mar. 4.

The new tool called EY Crypto-Asset Accounting and Tax (CAAT) is designed to improve accounting and tax calculations for digital currency transactions by both institutional customers that have cryptocurrency on their balance sheets and individuals who trade crypto assets on a smaller scale. The service will be available for those who use EY TaxChat and to EY Private Client Services clients.

The EY CAAT can reportedly get information about cryptocurrency transactions from “virtually all” major exchanges, consolidate data from various sources, and automatically produce reports, including cryptocurrency-related Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax returns. EY says that it has registered a substantial growth in the number of customers that own crypto assets.

Last month, United States tax preparation software TurboTax Online reportedly partnered with CoinsTax, LLC to add cryptocurrency tax calculation to its services. The service will allow users to import trading data directly from major exchanges. Once calculated, capitals gains and income reports can be downloaded or uploaded directly into Form 1040 Schedule D.

In January, major American cryptocurrency exchange and wallet service Coinbase added resources for customers in the U. S. to claim crypto trades on their taxes through an integration with TurboTax. Users of Coinbase.com and Coinbase Pro will purportedly be able to automatically import transactions into a new, crypto-specific section of TurboTax Premier software.

Meanwhile, the U.S. state of Ohio became the first to allow businesses to pay taxes using the leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC). Businesses are allowed to pay 23 different taxes using BTC through an online portal that has been set up by the state treasury office.

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EY's Maritime Blockchain Insurance Tech Is Now Live

A group of companies piloting a blockchain-based insurance platform for the global shipping industry announced on Friday that the technology is now live in commercial use.

Dubbed Insurwave, the blockchain platform was developed by professional services firm Ernst & Young and software company Guardtime based on Microsoft’s Azure cloud-based technology.

As previously reported by CoinDesk, the Denmark-based shipping giant Maersk first joined the group in September of last year to deploy the solution in a pilot phase. Other notable participants in the test included insurers MS Amlin and XL Catlin.

The end goal, the group said, is to allow each party in the shipping insurance ecosystem to use a distributed ledger that would record shipment information and automate insurance transactions when needed, which touts an ability to bring efficiency and transparency.

The group expects the platform to execute over half a million automated blockchain transactions for more than 1,000 vessels over the first year of its use in a live, commercial environment.

Further down the road, EY said it also plans to extend the application to other types of business insurance, including global logistics, aviation and energy.

Today’s announcement also marks the latest effort by Maersk to actively apply blockchain technology in its operations.

Currently, the firm is also working with IBM to adopt a global trade digitization platform built on the Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 blockchain to record and transact cargo information along the global shipping supply chain.

Maersk shipping image via Shutterstock

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ICOs – Big Target For Hackers, E&Y Report

Thanks to Blockchain applications like Ethereum, initial coin offerings have become part and parcel of the cryptocurrency world.

As businesses integrate innovative ideas with Blockchain technology, they’ve been able to raise a large amount of capital through initial coin offerings (ICO) – much like companies that list themselves on stock exchanges in an initial public offering.

The popularity of cryptocurrencies has seen many investors look for the next best thing after Bitcoin and Ethereum prices skyrocketed over the past 12 months.

This has led to a number of ICOs receiving massive capital investments for their projects. But where there is wealth, there is bound to criminal interest – as a recent report from Ernst and Young suggests.

$400 mln in two years

According to Fortune, up to 10 percent of all the money raised by ICOs between 2015 and 2017 was either lost in the crypto ether or stolen in hacks. Putting a number on that amount, we’re talking $400 mln stolen by hackers.

In their haste to attract investors, companies launching Blockchain services often overlook the necessary security precautions needed to protect themselves and investors buying their tokens.

Ernst and Youngs’ report states that over $3.7 bln was raised by 372 ICOs during that time period. That is a massive amount of money for ‘start-up’ offerings, and it’s hardly surprising that hackers are looking for soft targets.

The report states that large ICOs are deemed to be soft targets for seasoned hackers:

“Hackers are attracted by the rush, absence of a centralized authority, Blockchain transaction irreversibility and information chaos. Project founders focus on attracting investors and security is often not prioritized. Hackers successfully take advantage— the more hyped and large-scale the ICO, the more attractive it is for attacks.”

You don’t need to scour the Internet to find stories of ICOs being pinched by hackers. A look back at Cointelegraph’s archives provides many examples.

As reported in August 2017, cybercrimes rose in tandem with the popularity of Ethereum, thanks to its smart contract system which allows developers to create their own decentralized applications on the Ethereum Blockchain.

These hacks have a compounding effect – as Ethereum’s Blockchain bears the brunt of the traffic from an ICO and even more so if there is a stress event around a hack as users look to get their funds out of the project.

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BNP, EY Complete Blockchain Trial for Internal Treasury Operations

BNP Paribas and “Big Four” accounting firm EY have completed a trial aimed to investigate the feasibility of using a private blockchain to improve the bank’s global internal treasury operations.

The blockchain system was put through internal testing by BNP’s ALM Treasury department earlier this summer.

According to a statement, the “successful” trial proved the potential of the private blockchain to drive operational efficiency by providing a more “integrated cash management approach” and allowing “greater flexibility and a 24/7 capability.”

The pilot demonstration reportedly helped BNP Paribas boost the “interoperability of the legacy systems combining the private blockchain with existing IT environment via software robots and APIs.”

According to Xavier Toudoire, the bank’s head of ALM Treasury IT strategy and architecture, private blockchain technology allows the development of different business and operational processes not previously possible due to distribution of data and trust among parties.

“Although it is still too early to determine how the technology will evolve and whether it is suitable for large-scale deployment, our pilot has demonstrated the clear strengths of private blockchain and its potential as one of the most effective ways to improve the existing internal processes between different businesses on an international level,” he said in the statement.

The pilot is the latest in a series of blockchain initiatives by various entities of the bank, including Cash without Borders launched by the bank’s Transaction Banking business.

BNP Paribas image via Shutterstock

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