Innovating Blockchain-Based Accounting with Totem

March 12th, 2020 · 48 mins 47 secs

About this Episode

Why is the “black art” of accounting still stuck in the 20th century, and how can blockchain technology make it more efficient?

In this episode, Joe Petrowski (research analyst, Parity Technologies) speaks with Chris D’Costa and and Toufiqur Chowdhury of Totem Live Accounting, a blockchain-based accounting system. They discuss why today’s accounting practices are so inefficient and how blockchain technology can improve them. Find out how Totem is innovating accounting for the 21st century, how the project fits into the Polkadot ecosystem, and why the team decided to build on the Substrate blockchain framework.

Totem on Gitlab
Chris D’Costa:

01:23 - Accounting & accounting software explainer
05:00 - Problem Totem is solving
07:74 - Totem active vs. passive users
13:00 - Dealing with different jurisdictions
15:20 - On- vs off-chain data
19:10 - How Totem fits into Polkadot
20:35 - Why use Substrate to build Totem?
23:15 - Current state of Totem development
24:16 - Totem’s native token
27:00 - Inefficiencies of current accounting practices
31:41 - Similarities between accounting and programming
35:20 - Why blockchain is perfect for accounting
46:20 - What’s ahead for Totem

Key Quotes:

“Generally people think of accounting as being a bit of a black art.”

“Accounting is one of the spaces that doesn’t get much love in the tech world. You don’t see many startups that are doing anything really innovative in accounting.”

“It’s crazy that a lot of this gets done manually when a lot of these accounting rules are formally specified. If you can put it in a formal specification then you can write instructions for a machine to do it.”

“Global corporations are in desperate need of having their own currency. It sounds crazy but it’s true.”

“Trust is one of the issues…but there’s also the issue of things that just get overlooked. This happens not just in small companies but also in big companies as well. Invoices don’t get paid, or they get sent to the wrong department, or somehow they just got missed. And large companies as well as small companies spend a lot of manual effort to put that back together again.”

“In Substrate you can upgrade the runtime, so that helps us with continuous development, upgrading the system, making the changes that are required. If we had a smart contract it would have to be redeployed completely.”