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Prager Metis became the first CPA firm to open a metaverse office. The company, which in real life is based in New York, is moving into Decentraland, a 3D virtual world, as part of a joint venture with Banquet LLC, a metaverse studio.

The company purchased the virtual real estate on Dec. 28, a three-story digital structure. On the first floor is an open floor plan that doubles as a gallery space for non-fungible Prager Metis guest tokens as well as a large entertainment area. The second floor will offer more workspace with meeting rooms and conference capabilities. The third floor will serve as the rooftop space where Prager Metis intends to host events and even live entertainment.

The Metaverse has been garnering attention since Facebook’s parent company announced a name change to Meta last October to highlight its interest in developing technology for virtual reality and augmented reality. More and more companies have followed suit by moving into the metaverse. Prager Metis is not the first company to dip its toes in the water: Hong Kong firm PricewaterhouseCoopers announced last month that it had purchased virtual land on another metaverse platform, the Sandbox, but Prager Metis goes further by setting up a real head office. in Decentraland. He plans to focus on consulting services for clients and possibly other accounting firms as well. The company already has customers who have entered the rapidly growing market for non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, which use blockchain technology to create collectibles and works of art that people bid on to buy and trade. .

Prager Metis Metaverse Headquarters in Decentraland

“A lot of our customers are in the NFT and digital space and we know it very well,” Jerry Eitel, a partner at Prager Metis’ Metaverse HQ told Decentraland. “We can actually help other accounting firms that aren’t part of it, because we have a pretty good digital practice.”

Prager Metis plans to open the space in February. The digital structure was built by House of Tang led by Metaverse architect Tangpoko, also known as Tracy Tang.

“We’re going to try to build a community there, and we’re going to offer counseling services inside that space,” Eitel said. “We will probably have symposia by video or whatever. We will have avatars and it will be a real virtual world.

Prager Metis will also offer tax advice and accounting services to clients trying to understand the unclear rules surrounding digital assets, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

“Basically, there are people doing business in Decentraland and they’re selling NFTs,” Eitel said. “They do concerts. There are even games of chance there. We’re just there to consult and provide advice to make sure people are doing the right thing fiscally. I think there are a lot of opportunities to make sure people are up to it. There are a lot of mistakes you can make, like not issuing a 1099, but paying someone. If they realize a capital gain, you may need to withhold. We believe there are deals to be had. We have a lot of entertainment customers and they are already in this space. Accounting is a blockchain nightmare. It never made things easier. »

Eitel has nearly four decades of accounting experience and currently leads the firm’s real estate practice group. He previously ran the Long Island office within the company and was persuaded to lead the new Metaverse office. “I’m like a 70-year-old guy,” he said. “Maybe I will become an avatar next week. That’s where it is.

The accounting profession already has some experience with virtual worlds. In 2008, the Maryland Association of CPAs created CPA Island, a space on the Second Life virtual reality platform where some companies like KatzAbosch have established offices. Other accounting firms may wish to become involved with Prager Metis in the new venture.

“We could organize symposia and we can bring other accounting firms to the symposium,” Eitel said. “We can get them to come with a link or something.”

It differentiates it from a Zoom meeting since participants will join as avatars. Other members of the company will also be involved in the effort.

“The opening of a Metaverse office reflects Prager Metis’ belief that the Metaverse will be the future and that technology will continue to influence how the world works,” Prager Metis CEO Glenn Friedman said in a statement. statement Friday. “Our new Metaverse headquarters will serve as a bridge between the traditional and the digital and bring valuable real-world financial services to the Metaverse. Our presence in the metaverse shows how serious we are about our vision for the future and confirms our belief that there is a huge need for expertise and financial resources in the evolving digital world.

Prager Metis’ international digital assets division, led by Brian Goldblatt, has worked in various ways with cryptocurrency exchanges, crypto mining companies, investment firms, and technology companies. “Blockchain and distributed ledger technology are changing the way companies do business and will ultimately impact the way we all work and live, so it’s important that any business works with advisors who understand the space. ” Goldblatt said in a statement. “Prager Metis works with different companies in the field of digital assets, from an audit, tax and advisory perspective, including one of the top three global cryptocurrency exchanges in the world and one of the largest real estate tokenizations in the United States, as well as serving a top five global NFT company. As a leader in the digital asset industry, Prager Metis is constantly expanding and our experts keep abreast of industry trends, such as NFTs, and customers transacting in the metaverse.

The presence of the metaverse promises to help differentiate Prager Metis in a new, but rapidly changing market. “I don’t think there’s an accounting firm that’s as involved as we are in this area,” Eitel said. “It was just the next step for us.”