Blockchain Uses and Opportunities

Blockchain Uses and Opportunities

Aprio’s Jagruti Solanki, at the recent 2019 Atlanta ACG Capital Connection, led a panel discussion on Blockchain technology and its uses for startups.

The panel discussion also classified some of the challenges the industry is facing.

Motive Partners’ Tommy Marshall stated,

“There is a tremendous opportunity in the middle market to take advantage of blockchain technology for creating efficiencies and eventually revenue.”

Began in 2011, headquartered in Atlanta, BitPay is the largest blockchain payment solutions provider in the world. The CEO and Co-Founder of the platform, Stephen Pair, stated some of the obvious use cases followed current in the payments.

Since its inception, the company has built tools to enable startups to conduct payments on the blockchain. They even support bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies.

Mr. Pair noted –

“For Middle-Market companies, about 40% of transaction volume at Bitpay (on about $1 billion in transactions) is involved in B2B transactions.”

Partner at Burr+Forman, Ed Snow, stated a veritable alphabet soup of regulatory firms interested in the industry.

“The SEC, IRS, and others view this relatively new technology for regulation. While this is not an agency, an important three letters to remember are the UCC. Commercial law views Crypto and the use of Crypto as property too. In fact, the bank can issue a lien against the assets including the Cryptocurrency.”

Snow noted –

“If you spend the currency that you purchased from someone else, it could have a lien that has not been released. The law has not caught up to this yet. If there are substantial assets, this could be an issue or risk in using blockchain.”

Jagruti Solanki shared another challenge from a regulatory standpoint,

“Another regulatory standpoint is the lack of guidance from accounting and tax guidance. AICPA FASB currently has zero guidance on how to account for token transactions.”

Kell Canty of Verady has a counterpoint,

“There is a lot of learning going on. It’s no longer the wild wild west that was five to six years ago. We are working with people like the AICPA and the SEC to apply for toolset for audit verification, assurance, and rights and obligations on these new assets. This is a fundamental change in terms of being able to use internet-based native cryptocurrency that is decentralized.”

Stephen Pair pointed out –

“If you are a law or accounting firm looking to be in the blockchain space, you will want to look into accepting blockchain as a form of payment.”

Mr. Canty noted –

“As a middle market company, you will want to look into the use cases of supply chain and international payments when using blockchain.”

Overall, the majority of the panellists hope to see the upside in the technology smoothing the supply chain transactions and making additional use cases in healthcare, education, and additional industries. They felt the regulatory landscape would catch up to the industry and that there are several opportunities for the Middle-Market.