KPMG and Microsoft Launch Multibillion-Dollar AI Partnership, Unlocking Over US$12 Billion Growth Opportunity

In a landmark agreement announced on July 11, 2023, KPMG and Microsoft have pledged to reshape the landscape of professional services by placing Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the forefront of their operations. This significant expansion of their global relationship aims to modernize the workforce, ensure safe and secure development, and broaden the use of AI solutions across industries and society.

The collaboration involves a multibillion-dollar commitment from KPMG in Microsoft cloud and AI services over the next five years. This strategic investment is projected to unlock an incremental growth opportunity for KPMG exceeding US$12 billion, marking a significant milestone in the AI and professional services sector.

Microsoft’s cloud and Azure OpenAI Service capabilities will be leveraged to empower KPMG’s global workforce of 265,000. The aim is to enhance the speed of analysis and allow more time for strategic advice, helping over 2,500 joint clients of KPMG and Microsoft navigate the rapidly evolving AI landscape.

As part of the alliance, KPMG professionals will pilot Microsoft 365 Copilot and Azure OpenAI Service technologies with select business groups. This initiative is expected to accelerate digital solution development and enhance client engagements.

The collaboration will also infuse data analytics, AI, and Azure Cognitive Services into KPMG’s audit process, enabling its 85,000 audit professionals to focus more on higher-risk areas of the audit, sector-specific risks, and challenges. In the tax sector, the integration of Azure OpenAI Service and Microsoft Fabric into KPMG Digital Gateway will provide clients with more integrated and transparent access to their data.

This landmark agreement between KPMG and Microsoft signifies a major step forward in the integration of AI in professional services, promising to deliver innovative solutions and drive sustainable growth in the sector.

Microsoft’s AI Strategy

Microsoft’s AI strategy has been evolving since 2017 when the company shifted its vision from being mobile-first to AI-first, while maintaining its cloud-first approach. Since then, Microsoft has accelerated the integration of AI into its products and invested heavily in AI companies.

AI is now one of the hottest industries, with Bill Gates’ dream of “a computer on every desk” shifting to “everyone has an AI assistant”. According to a study by Grandview Research, the global AI market could grow by an average of 37% annually through 2030, becoming a $1.8 trillion market at the end of the decade.

The AI buzz seems to have been triggered by ChatGPT. Microsoft first invested $1 billion into ChatGPT owner OpenAI on July 22, 2019. This year, on January 24, Microsoft invested $10 billion in ChatGPT maker OpenAI. In addition, on May 11, 2023, Microsoft made a strategic investment into, and on June 29, Microsoft-backed AI startup Inflection raised $1.3 billion from Nvidia and others.

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Catheon Gaming Named Top Blockchain Firm in APAC Region

Catheon Gaming, an Australian-based blockchain gaming and entertainment company, has been named as one of the leading emerging giants in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, according to the latest joint first report by KPMG and HSBC.

On Monday, July 18, KPMG & HSBC published their joint report entitled ‘Emerging Giants in Asia Pacific,’ which took a look into a comprehensive analysis of new economy businesses (such as fintech, biotech, software as a service (SAAS), etc.,) across the region, which they consider are making a lasting impact on the global business landscape now and over the next decade.

KPMG and HSBC’s joint report ranked Catheon Gaming as one of the top 10 emerging giants in Asia Pacific, the No. 1 emerging giant in the blockchain sector in the region, and the No. 1 emerging giant in Hong Kong.

William Wu, Founder & Co-CEO of Catheon Gaming, talked about the development and said: “We are honoured to be selected by KPMG & HSBC as one of the 10 leading Emerging Giants in Asia Pacific. We are humbled that our efforts are being recognized, and we are proud to contribute to the growth of the region, which has given rise to some of the world’s most innovative and forward-thinking companies in the gaming and blockchain space. We have a firm belief that gaming will be the key driver in accelerating blockchain mass adoption, and we will continue our relentless drive to achieve this vision”.

The result came after KPMG & HSBC studied 6,472 technology-focused startups with valuations up to US$500 million in 12 key markets (Mainland China, India, Japan, Australia, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong (SAR), Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Thailand) in Asia to identify the top 100 firms most likely to emerge as potential unicorns.

Consideration for these lists was based on estimated valuations and venture capital obtained as well as KPMG and HSBS analysis on the future growth potential of such firms.

From this larger pool of companies, the report identified the leading 10 emerging giant companies for each of these 12 markets as well as the overall leading 100 emerging giants in Asia pacific. And out of that, Catheon Gaming was ranked as No.8 out of 100 emerging giants in the APAC region.


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Consulting Giant KPMG Gets into Metaverse Business

KPMG, one of the Big Four accounting firms, announced on Wednesday that it is entering into the metaverse landscape by establishing its first collaboration hub between its U.S. and Canadian units.

The hub, which KPMG U.S. and Canada intend to launch, is designed to enable the company’s employees, customers, and communities to connect, engage, and explore opportunities for growth across sectors and industries.

Cliff Justice, KPMG US’ leader of enterprise innovation, talked about the development: “The way we look at it, it’s not just augmented reality and virtual reality. It’s really the next iteration of the internet. It really encompasses everything that the internet would encompass, but it’s more interactive.” The executive stated that the metaverse is a market opportunity that re-engages talent and connects people across the world through a new collaborative experience.

The “hub” will be majorly centred around education, collaboration, training, events, and workshops. Justice said the firm plans to recruit staff to build and scale the hub more as time goes on. The company has long-term plans as it is looking at healthcare, consumer and retail, media and financial services as other potential use cases of metaverse, Justice pointed out.

The announcement also indicated that KPMG U.S. and Canada subsidiaries have started using Chain Fusion, a proprietary tool that assists in offering audit services for financial services, fintech and crypto-native firms.

The metaverse launch is not the first time KPMG has stepped into the world of internet iteration. In February, KPMG Canada directly invested in Bitcoin and Ethereum as part of its balance and bought digital art from the highly acclaimed World of Women (WoW) non-fungible token (NFT) collection.

During that time, the Canadian arm of the accounting giant stated the investment reflected the company’s belief that institutional adoption of crypto assets and blockchain technology would continue growing and become a regular part of the asset mix.

Metaverse For Business

Metaverse is emerging as the hottest buzz in the global tech market. Firms developing Metaverse are aiming to build new innovations and features that enable users to interact with each other effectively and efficiently in the digital world.

The Metaverse era represents an interplay among many factors including the use of internet services, augmented reality (VR), and virtual reality (AR). The metaverse uses augmented reality and virtual reality in a mixture with blockchain and artificial intelligence to create correct and scalable virtual worlds.

Companies across industries and sectors have already been seeking to incorporate metaverse components (such as extended reality headsets, blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), IoT and cloud technologies) into their business model as a means of connection and new sources of revenue.

Firms (such as Meta Inc., Nvidia, Epic Games, Microsoft, Apple, Decentraland, Roblox Corporation, Snapchat, Amazon, and others) embracing metaverse are at the forefront of transforming the digital world with immersive experiences in the future.

These firms are moving to use metaverse to develop immersive entertainment experiences for their customers, improve business operations, enhance customer experience, training and education experiences and work meetings, tap advertising, branding and marketing opportunities, and explore digital locations (such as digital representations of real estates).

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KPMG in Canada Acquires World of Women (WoW) NFT

KPMG Canada, a full-service Audit, Tax, and Advisory firm owned and operated by Canadians, have announced it has purchased a World of Women (WoW) Non-Fungible Token (NFT), marking its foray into the digital collectables world.


While the WoW NFT was purchased for remains undisclosed, KPMG Canada said the values represented by the WoW NFT collection resonates with its broad tenets.

“NFTs unlock a “channel for organizations to engage with their customers, while also underpinning innovation through the secure digitization of assets,” says Benjie Tho” as, Managing Partner, Advisory Services, KPMG in Canada. “This acquisition “reflects our belief not only in the continued growth of NFTs but in the value of WoW and its mission. Having now gone through the process, we are well-positioned to guide our clients around building a corporate NFT strategy, including acquiring, and safeguarding NFTs.”

Since NFTs started going into the mainstream, several global brands cutting across different industries have been tagging along with acquisitions of NFTs, or better still, launching some collections themselves. From Dolce & Gabbana to Nike and Marvel Studios, the number of corporate brands with a presence in the fast-growing NFT world has continued to multiply.

While many of these brands are looking to recreate new experiences for their customers worldwide, KPMG is optimistic that the purchase of the WoW NFT has equipped it adequately to serve customers looking to make an entry into this growing world. The company’s ambition for the blockchain ecosystem was preceded by an earlier acquisition of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) as reported by Blockchain.News.

While the KPMG International brand has dipped its feet into the blockchain advisory world in the past years, the move by the Canadian arm is arguably the most direct investment into the nascent crypto world by any of the bank’s independence.

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Canadian Arm of Accounting Giant KPMG Adds Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) to Corporate Treasury

The Canadian arm of Big Four auditing firm KPMG is adding the two largest crypto assets to its balance sheet.

KPMG in Canada says that allocating Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) to its corporate treasury is the auditing firm’s “first of its kind” investment in cryptocurrencies.

“We have just completed an allocation of crypto assets to our corporate treasury, our firm’s first of its kind investment in the asset class. This includes Bitcoin and Ethereum tokens, and carbon offsets to maintain a net-zero carbon transaction.”

The auditing firm says it acquired Bitcoin and Ethereum through the parent company of the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange.

According to KPMG in Canada’s managing partner for advisory services, crypto assets are a “maturing asset class” which will increasingly be adopted by institutions.

“This investment reflects our belief that institutional adoption of crypto assets and blockchain technology will continue to grow and become a regular part of the asset mix.”

KPMG in Canada, which already runs a crypto asset and enterprise blockchain services practice, is bullish on the wider cryptocurrency space as well.

The firm’s crypto assets and blockchain services co-leader, Kareem Sadek, says that KPMG in Canada expects to see a “lot of growth” in decentralized finance (DeFi) and other nascent crypto sectors.

“We’ve invested in a strong crypto assets 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.”

Some of the services that the auditing firm’s crypto-focused practice offers include crypto education workshops, compliance reviews, crypto asset attestations and financial auditing for crypto-owning organizations.

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$4K Ethereum by July? ETH price posts fastest recovery to date from 50% drawdown

The price of Ether (ETH) has pulled back to retest $3,000 support levels on Feb. 9 after Ethereum’s native token reached a three-week high.  

ETH price climbs to three-week high

To date, ETH price has recovered by roughly 50% after the ETH/USD trading pair bottomed near $2,150 on Jan. 24.

ETH/USD daily price chart. Source: TradingView

ETH price jumped on Feb. 7 in part due to KPMG, one of the world’s four accounting giants, announcing that the firm is adding Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether to its Canadian division’s balance sheet. Bitcoin rallied to over $45,500 in the wake of the news, its best level in almost a month. 

However, the Big Four accounting giant chose not to disclose the degree of its exposure in the Bitcoin and Ether markets. But KPMG did state that it is helping its clientele “navigate” the world of crypto assets.

Anthony Pompliano, partner at Pomp Investments, called KPMG’s move “incredibly forward-thinking,” noting that their involvement would strike confidence in their clients that might have been considering adding crypto assets to their balance sheets. Excerpts from his note published Tuesday:

“Over a long enough timeframe, it feels like corporate demand will continue to explode and these assets will benefit from persistent buys, along with long-term holders, for years and decades to come.”

ETH to $4K next?

Ether price recently logged its seventh 50% drawdown in history in what many called a new “crypto winter.” But the ETH/USD pair recovered half of its losses by rising from its bottom level of $2,150 to as high as $3,234 in less than three weeks.

ETH/USD daily price chart with Fibonacci-based support/resistance target levels. Source: TradingView 

This was Ether’s fastest recovery to date from a bearish cycle, compared to its average recovery time of 165 days, notes a new report by Arcane Research.

“ETH decreased 94% from its ATH during the 2018 crypto winter, compared to the 50% dip in March 2016, which recovered in just 67 days,” Arcane Research wrote, adding:

“Ethereum and the broader crypto ecosystem look very different from 2016-2018. Still, if history is any indication, and leaving out a new glacial period like 2018, we could perhaps see prices back in the $4,000 range as early as July 2022.”

Related: Ethereum eyes $3.5K as ETH price reclaims pandemic-era support with 40% rebound

ETH drawdown from ATH. Source: Arcane Research

Chris Burniske, a partner at Placeholder — a New York-based venture capital firm, also offered a bullish outlook for Ethereum albeit based on its expected transition this year to proof-of-stake from proof-of-work.  

“2H 2022 could be great for ETH if the merge happens on schedule and the market structure of the asset goes through a huge shift from PoW to PoS.”

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.