PwC China, Xalts to promote tokenization, programmable assets in finance

The Chinese arm of professional services company PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has announced a new partnership with technology firm Xalts to explore tokenization and the concept of programmable assets.

According to a joint statement, the partnership will see PwC lean on Xalts’ expertise in an attempt to launch its asset management solution. PwC’s in-house technology team will be able to create a bespoke solution to connect off-chain systems with blockchain technology-based solutions using no-code workflows and an extensive smart contract library.

“As the velocity of money accelerates with real-time payments and stablecoins and CBDCs, the biggest challenges to wholesale adoption will be disjointed operational processes and systems,” said Xalts CEO Ashutosh Goel. “Our infrastructure solves this problem without requiring a large upfront cost and time commitment from clients.”

Given mainland China’s blanket ban on digital assets, it appears that PwC China will focus the bulk of its attention on Hong Kong, a region with a far friendlier stance toward digital assets. However, China is not wholly opposed to blockchain, but local authorities view applications in finance with skepticism.

PwC’s interest in tokenization comes on the heels of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s (HKMA) progress with Project Ensemble, its pilot involving wholesale central bank digital currency (CBDC). The pilot will include attempts by the HKMA to settle interbank deposits with tokenized deposits, with executives touting the project to inject “fresh impetus” into the local finance industry.

“This agreement allows PwC and Xalts to explore business opportunities within the blockchain tokenization space,” said PwC China Partner Peter Brewin. “PwC sees enormous potential for programmable assets to deliver important innovations for the financial services industry, including payment and finance.”

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A clutch on emerging technologies

PwC has set its sights on embracing emerging technologies to improve service delivery for its clients. As early as 2019, the professional services firm rolled out a blockchain-based auditing tool to assist enterprises in recording financial transactions.

The firm is also moving toward full integration with artificial intelligence (AI), striking new high-profile partnerships along the way. A deal with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) will see PwC set up an AI Excellence center in Saudi Arabia to improve adoption rates and equip residents with necessary AI skills.

Watch: Tim Draper talks tokenization with Kurt Wuckert Jr.

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