Smart contract auditing team ChainSecurity partnered with the Swiss branch of Big Four auditing firm PwC to enhance the services the global auditor provides.

In an email sent to Cointelegraph, a PwC spokesperson explained that no acquisition took place and multiple ChainSecurity teams joined the firm. 

Hand in hand

According to a press release published by the firm on Jan. 5, PwC hopes that, with ChainSecurity’s team, the firm will become “the world’s leader in smart contract auditing.” PwC Switzerland and Europe head and partner of risk auditing Andreas Eschbach said in an email to Cointelegraph:

“As an integral part of PwC Switzerland, the team of ChainSecurity will focus on accelerating PwC Switzerland blockchain audits, including technical audits of smart contracts and blockchain platforms as well that risk hedging services for customers with crypto assets.”

PwC’s manager and leader of the team of external communications Konradin Krieger explained further to Cointelegraph that no actual acquisition took place. He explained that “the core delivery and development teams from ChainSecurity joined PwC Switzerland.”

Krieger noted that Chainsecurity COO Matthias Egli and CTO Hubert Ritzdorf will be leading the firm’s Smart Contract’s Assurance team together. He also said:

“We expect market demands to increase quickly as blockchain becomes more mainstream and, as demonstrated with bringing in the ChainSecurity team, we are very invested in building up our capabilities around blockchain in a way where we are ahead of the market. We will continue to grow the team to anticipate these needs based on how we see the market developing.”

When asked about how the capabilities of ChainSecurity’s team will be employed by PwC, Krieger explained that the firm’s customers need a combination of technical and legal skills which can be provided by combining the two companies. He explained:

“While ChainSecurity previously was only able to offer their technical expertise, in connection with PwC Switzerland they can offer a more useful and more coherent service to their customers. [...] PwC's broad competences around regulatory concerns, ranging from data privacy over compliance to KYC/AML, enable the newly joint team to offer broader and more comprehensive services.”

The team

According to its official website, ChainSecurity spun off from the ETH Zurich university’s ICE center blockchain security laboratory and secured over $1 billion in funds so far from major blockchain projects. The team is comprised of PhDs and graduates from ETH Zurich with experience in cybersecurity, program analysis and machine learning.

Per the press release, ChainSecurity has collaborated with more than 75 blockchain companies. As Cointelegraph reported in January, the team also discovered a security vulnerability in an Ethereum update. The discovery resulted in the developers postponing the hard fork and prevented the vulnerability from being added to the blockchain.

The promise of smart contracts

Smart contracts are seeing wider adoption and ever-growing expectations regarding their potential. Last month, the vice president of blockchain products at event tickets distribution giant Ticketmaster discussed the value that smart contracts can bring to the ticketing industry. At the time, he noted that the firm wants to support 400–500 million smart contract-enabled tickets.

Still, much attention is being devoted to the security of such contracts, given how disastrous the exploitation of a flawed smart contract can be. One well-known example is the June 2016 The DAO theft, which saw about $60 million in crypto assets stolen through a smart contract vulnerability.