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Trust unbundled: The promise and threat of blockchain

Posted on Monday, September 18, 2017 by Gary Hunt

By Gary Hunt, senior content editor

In recent weeks we’ve discussed how blockchain technology isn’t likely to cause immediate changes in accounting, how it might improve security and why it might be a source of anxiety for some CPAs.

In the conclusion of our conversation on blockchain technology, Ryan Watson, CPA, principal at Upsourced Accounting and Xero ambassador, said it “unbundles trust.”

“It's this idea that we have these organizations whose job it is to be a clearing house for trust,” Watson said in the latest episode of OSCPA Spotlight. When it comes to the accounting profession, “what is ultimately our jobs from an assurance perspective around the public markets? It's adding a layer of trust.

“And so, the promise of blockchain is that it unbundles trust in a way that says we don't need a third party to come in and validate that this particular thing occurred,” he said. “The technology does that by default.”

Sounds scary. So – again – we refer you to Episode I and Episode II of this discussion. But a new development that offers, as Watson said, “a higher degree of validity than a notary” is nevertheless likely to spark change.

Watch this episode now to hear Watson explain why he thinks the idea of unbundling trust around accounting transactions “holistically” is unlikely, and “is a bridge too far.” Also, catch Watson’s presentation, “The Connected Advisor: ReTooling with Technology,” this fall at the OSCPA accounting shows in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus.

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