One in four public companies expects to increase its digital asset investments in 2024, but complex regulations remain a significant challenge, a study by global consulting giant Deloitte has revealed.

Deloitte, the largest of the Big Four accounting firms alongside KPMG, Ernst & Young (EY), and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), polled around 500 C-suite executives involved in their companies’ digital asset management. The study was conducted last November, and the results were published last week.

A total of 25.4% of executives at public companies expect their digital asset investment to increase this year, Deloitte found. This was more than twice as high as their counterparts in the private sector, who expect a similar change at 10.5%.

While public companies have become involved in digital assets, it has been purely
speculative for most. The largest public digital asset holder is MicroStrategy
(NASDAQ: MSTR), which owns BTC worth $9.12 billion. Of the top 10 BTC holders, only Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), at $548 million, isn’t directly involved in digital assets.

Executives who don’t expect any changes this year were the highest at 53.2% in the private sector and 40% in the public sector.

The study also found that the respondents expected the digital asset-related challenges they face to increase in 2024. Specifically, half the respondents in the public companies believe regulatory complexity will pose the greatest challenge.

Lack of organizational leadership support for necessary changes was tied second with an inability to identify illicit digital asset use. The latter is becoming less of a burden as companies like Chainalysis and Elliptic develop advanced blockchain analysis tools.

In a separate report, Deloitte US urged lawmakers to formulate enabling regulations for the sector as it becomes more intertwined with traditional finance.

“The scale of exploration suggests more widespread adoption with the potential to disrupt the existing economic framework. To move forward responsibly, it is critical we prudently establish clear governance models to keep transparency, fairness, and accountability at the fore,” commented Lara Abrash, chair at Deloitte US.

Watch: What’s next for digital asset exchanges & investment?

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