KPMG Canada Adds Bitcoin, Ethereum to Balance Sheet

Key Takeaways

  • KPMG Canada has invested in Bitcoin and Ethereum.
  • The firm cited its commitment to innovative technologies and asset classes.
  • The accounting firm did, however, take measures to offset the carbon footprint of the Bitcoin and Ethereum transaction.

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KPMG Canada has added Bitcoin and Ethereum to its corporate treasury. This is the first time the firm has invested directly in cryptocurrencies. 

KPMG Canada Wades Into Crypto

KPMG Canada, a member company of KPMG International, Ltd., has bought both Bitcoin and Ethereum.

KPMG Canada, one of the nation’s largest employers, has added the two largest cryptocurrencies to its balance sheet. The firm cited its commitment to emerging technologies and asset classes as reasons for its allocation. 

As part of KPMG Canada’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) commitments, the audit, tax, and advisory firm emphasized that its investments included “carbon offsets” in an effort to achieve net-zero carbon transactions. In fact, a governance committee for the cryptocurrency allocation was established to these ends, where “rigorous risk assessment” processes were carried out to review possible regulatory or reputational risks. Tax and accounting implications were also considered.

In addition to its Bitcoin and Ethereum allocations, the firm has further plans related to digital assets and technologies. According to Kareem Sadek, Advisory Partner and co-leader of Cryptoassets and Blockchain Services:

“We’ve invested in a strong cryptoassets practice and we will continue to enhance and build on our capabilities across Decentralized Finance (DeFi), Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), and the Metaverse, to name a few. We expect to see a lot of growth in these areas in the years to come.” 

Echoing this pro-growth sentiment for the crypto space, Canadian Managing Partner, Advisory Services, Benjie Thomas, expressed that the firm’s allocation to Bitcoin and Ethereum was a reflection of the firm’s “belief that institutional adoption of cryptoassets and blockchain technology will continue to grow and become a regular part of the asset mix.” 

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned BTC, ETH, and several other cryptocurrencies. 

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Valkyrie Capital Bitcoin Mining ETF to Debut on Nasdaq

Valkyrie Capital’s Bitcoin Mining ETF focused on renewable energy has been approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and it’s set to go live Tuesday on the Nasdaq under the ticker “WGMI”—a crypto community acronym for “We’re gonna make it.”

The Valkyrie Bitcoin Mining ETF primarily is focused on companies that use at least 77% renewable energy. According to the application filed at the end of January, 80% of the ETF’s assets are focused on companies that earn at least 50% of their total profits from Bitcoin mining, which requires massive amounts of energy as the network’s “miners” compete to solve complex puzzles to earn BTC and help secure the blockchain.

The Valkyrie Bitcoin Mining ETF’s largest holdings are Argo Blockchain, Bitfarms, Cleanspark, Hive Blockchain, and Stronghold Digital Mining. 

In a recent interview, Valkyrie Capital CEO Leah Wald said investors have “an increased focus and desire to gain exposure to Bitcoin miners.” Wald also cited the exodus of Bitcoin miners from China to places like upstate New York and Washington state as another reason behind the ETF. 

Per the SEC filing, former Guggenheim Partners Managing Director Bill Cannon is Valkyrie’s head of ETF portfolio management, and Steven McClurg—founder of blockchain company Theseus Capital—is Valkyrie’s chief investment officer.

Valkyrie’s Bitcoin Mining ETF is the latest in a wave of ETFs focused on cryptocurrency. Earlier this month, Grayscale announced its “Future of Finance” ETF focused on crypto and fintech companies.

But not all recent crypto-focused ETF attempts have been successful—the SEC last month rejected applications from Fidelity and First Trust Advisors and Skybridge for spot market Bitcoin ETFs.

Corporate interest in cryptocurrency appears to be on the rise, with accounting and auditing firm KPMG’s Canadian division just announcing it’s invested in both Bitcoin and Ethereum.

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ENS dumps director of operations in condemnation of homophobic tweets

True Names Limited, the nonprofit behind distributed domain protocol Ethereum Name Service, announced it would be ending its contract with director of operations Brantly Millegan after many uncovered his previously posted anti-LBGTQIA tweets.

On Feb. 6, the decentralized autonomous organization of Ethereum Name Service, or ENS, asked users to weigh in on what actions, if any, should be taken against Millegan in regards to a May 2016 tweet in which he said “homosexual acts are evil” and “transgenderism doesn’t exist.” The DAO said some had proposed suspending Millegan from his leadership roles at ENS, voting to remove him as a director of the ENS foundation, and asking him to step down from his position.

Though the DAO did not officially vote on any resolution as of the time of publication, ENS founder and developer Nick Johnson announced earlier today that True Names Limited had terminated Millegan’s contract given his position was “no longer tenable.” Twitter also deleted the homophobic tweets and suspended Millegan’s account, preventing him from tweeting, liking, and retweeting content. 

“Many of you were hurt by Brantly’s comments over the past 24 hours, and we strongly believe that ENS should be an inclusive community,” said Johnson. “Going forward we’ll continue to do everything we can to ensure that remains the case.”

Before losing access to his Twitter account, Millegan stood by his 2016 statement, implying it was in accordance with his Catholic faith. He later claimed in a Discord discussion that he had “never excluded anyone from ENS” based on their identity or beliefs.

“I don’t think it’s practical or moral for the web3 industry to exclude the many traditional-minded Christians, Muslims, jews, and others who agree with me,” said Millegan on Discord.

However, the 2016 tweet does not stand alone in terms of controversial statements. Millegan reiterated his views on homosexual acts in a 2018 thread over birth control on the social media platform, calling them “gravely immoral.” In addition, a November 2016 tweet from the ENS operations director shows he posted a story from conservative news outlet National Review promoting a questionable narrative about racial bias.

“What I believe is the mainstream traditional Christian positions held by the world’s largest religion,” said Millegan on Feb. 5. “It’s not exactly fringe.”

It’s unclear how many within the ENS community were in favor of Millegan’s removal, but Johnson’s termination of Millegan’s contract suggests a significant number were in favor of doing so. Eleftherios Karapetsas, an ENS delegate, said in the governance discussion forum that Millegan should be given the opportunity to respond to the community outrage, but “if indeed he still truly holds the belief that a group of people should not have the right to exist, or harbors hate towards them I don’t believe that being part of the leadership of this project is appropriate.”

He added on Twitter:

“You can disagree with someone and still co-exist as long as neither tries to impose their views on the other person or hurt them for what they believe.”

Related: ENS’ director of operations says that DAO-based governance ‘has always been the plan’

Launched in 2017, the ENS protocol allows users to register domain names ending in “.eth” and direct them to Ethereum wallet addresses. The project distributed 100 million of its ENS governance tokens in a November 2021 airdrop.

Cointelegraph reached out to Brantly Millegan, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.