CryptoAM: Paying Taxes with Crypto, Token Custody, and Scams

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Happy Monday everyone, Avi here! Hopefully you enjoyed Alex’s take on CryptoAM over the past couple of days. We’ll be switching on and off together depending on who wakes up first. The markets are looking up since the post-consensus dump that everyone predicted, with BTC rebounding from a low of 7.9k to 8.5k as of writing. Know any other crypto-obsessives? Tell them to sign up here!

4 things you need to know:

One:  You can now pay your taxes in Bitcoin or Bitcoin cash. Wait, sorry. Quick caveat. You can now pay your taxes in Bitcoin if you live in Seminole County, Florida. Courtesy of the forward thinking Joel M. Greenberg, you can now fund his office using Bitpay.

  • “We live in a world where technology has made access to services on demand, with same-day delivery and the expectation of highly efficient customer service and we should expect the same from our government,” Greenberg said. “The aim of my tenure in office is to make our customer experience faster, smarter, and more efficient, and to bring government services from the 18th century into the 21st century and one way is the addition of cryptocurrency to our payment options.”

  • My thoughts: Joel, you should run for president. I don’t need to tell you how great it would be if I could pay federal taxes in crypto.

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Two: Infosys established a blockchain-based trade network with 7 Indian banks. Infosys is an Indian IT giant, and a move like this signals massive strides in the adoption of blockchain tech. Remember last week when HSBC issued the first letter of credit on the blockchain? Expect to see a lot more stories like that now.

  • “The network is designed to digitize trade finance business processes, including validation of ownership, certification of documents and making payments, while working on a distributed, trusted and shared network”

  • “The range of functions include Bill Collection, Letters of Credit, Open Account for Trade, Customer to Customer, Transactions for Trade, Business to Customer transactions for Trade, PO financing and Invoice financing”

  • Why this is important: This is great news for blockchain. The fact that it’s coming out of India is equally as important, seeing as they’ve been so strict on cryptocurrency lately. I’m glad to see the private sector embrace blockchain technology, even as the government casts a wary eye.

  • Think ahead: If we can build a financial system that is open, transparent and efficient, we’ve saved billions. There is little reason that it should take 2 days for a ACH, 3 days to settle equities, or a week to issue a letter of credit, when we have the technology to speed up the process.

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Three: Australian ​Department of Health using Blockchain for Medical Records. An Australian secure cloud provider Vault Systems and blockchain startup Agile Digital teamed up to provide the Dept. of Health with an blockchain for tracking health data research. Strides coming from Australia, a country that has historically lacked in the adoption of blockchain technology. Seems to me, the stragglers are beginning to catch up.

  • No token: Notice how Agile Digital is a blockchain start-up focused on medical records. Also notice how is doesn’t have a token.

  • Some investment advice: Something very important to keep in mind when investing in cryptocurrencies is to research the competition in the market. Competition however, expands further out than just comparing tokens to tokens. Every medical records crypto project with a token is also competing against centralized solutions, and blockchain solutions without a inherent token. Often times the ones without will be the better projects!

Four: Ledger, Nomura and Global Advisors partner to explore crypto custody. The three companies founded a new venture together called Komainu. It’s aim will be to pave the way for secure, compliant institutional investment in digital assets, something that is severely lacking in this market. Global Advisors is the parent company of CoinShares, making this their second crypto venture.

  • My take: Finally a bank enters the mix! One of the main things holding back institutional investors is the lack of custodial options for cryptocurrency. Storing bitcoin securely can be difficult, and since financial institutions are heavily regulated there is not much sense in taking on that risk. If institutional money is to enter the space, custody must be solved first.

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What I’m reading today:

Wall Street Journal Study Finds Almost 20% of all ICOs are Straight Up Fraud.

WSJ profiled about 1500 different ICOs and found 271 with some red flags, 111 with blatantly copied white papers and 124 with faked or concealed team members. Basically, the bottom line is to be careful out there.

  • ““Jeremy Boker” is listed as a co-founder of Denaro, an online-payment project. In investor documents for a public offering in March, which claimed to have raised $8.3 million, Mr. Boker boasted of his cryptocurrency startup’s “powerhouse” team. In his biography, he noted a “respectable history of happy clients” in consulting before he launched Denaro.”

  • “In fact, Mr. Boker’s bio image was a stock photo, there is no evidence he exists and the rest of his team appears to be fictional, except for two freelancers who said they were paid by people unknown to them to market the project, the Journal found.”

  • Be careful: Reverse image search team members, check their LinkedIns and try to find some information on them before you send your money. Make sure to actually read the whitepaper and maybe even copy and paste some of the more generic sections in to see if they have been lifted from anywhere else. Generally, scams are obvious after a a half hours research.

  • Check out the SEC guidelines for how to avoid scams. Stay safe out there guys.

And last, a little of what I’m watching today.

Have you ever seen the classic college triangle? Sleep, friends, or good grades. Pick one. Well as it turn outs, blockchain has something similar. Efficiency, decentralization or security. Pick one.

In the blockchain world, it’s a little different. Security is something that nobody will compromise on, so the only two options are just efficiency and decentralization. Projects like ethereum take a strong stance on decentralization, whereas newer projects such as EOS lean more towards the efficient side.

Watch Vitalik here talk about the trade-offs below, and when you’re done there’s a really good medium post on it here.

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