PwC, one of the world's big four accounting firms, said on Thursday (Hong Kong time) it had accepted its first bitcoin payment for advisory services provided by the Hong Kong office.

The announcement comes in the week when the virtual currency shot through the US$11,000 mark, but then lost 20 per cent of its value.

It is not immediately clear whether Hong Kong is the only branch within the PwC global network of offices that accepts bitcoin as payment. The firm said that apart from bitcoin, it would also accept other liquid, and established cryptocurrencies, especially from clients it advises in the broader crypto space.

For now, they include clients involved in token sales, crypto exchanges and launch of crypto funds.


"(This decision) is also an indication that bitcoin and other established cryptocurrencies have now developed into more broadly accepted forms of settlement," said Raymund Chao, chairman of PwC Asia-Pacific in a statement on Thursday night.

A source closed to the firm said that with cryptocurrencies becoming more widely used, the firm was also prepared to consider requests from clients that do not participate in the digital currency sector.

PwC's advisory work includes strategy consulting, technology advisory, risk management, governance and internal controls, taxation and accounting projects.

"As the firm works increasingly with companies in the digital asset and cryptocurrency space, it believes that accepting such payments will evolve into an element of doing business in the normal course," said the statement.

Global regulators are mixed in their positions towards digital currencies. They range from a complete ban in China and South Korea to a more regulated approach by the Hong Kong securities regulator, which will regulate any token sale in an initial coin offering with attributes similar to "securities" as defined by the securities law.

Bitcoin and Ethereum are two of the most widely recognised cryptocurrencies. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board Options Exchange have announced plans to launch bitcoin futures contracts, which will allow investors to hedge against movements in the currency.