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Crypto plunge a wake-up call — and tax opportunity — for investors



A detail of the statue of Satoshi Nakamoto, a presumed pseudonym of the inventor of Bitcoin, in Budapest, Hungary.

Janos Sorrow | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The price of popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum fell on Friday after Chinese officials stepped up crackdown and essentially ruled crypto illegal.

Government intervention, while substantial, does not necessarily mean that financial advisers believe investors should run into the mountains. But it’s another reminder that crypto holdings are subject to wild fluctuations in price, they said.

“I wouldn’t call this the end of the world,” said Leon LaBrecque, accountant and certified financial planner with Sequoia Financial Group, based in Akron, Ohio. “It’s just a wake-up call.”

“This should be in recognition of the fact that it is a volatile asset and that all the ups and downs are a match,” he said.

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This volatility opens up opportunities for tax planning that may only be a few months away, advisors said, depending on the Democrats’ final compromise on federal tax law.

Bitcoin prices had fallen 6% to around $ 42,000 at 3 p.m. ET Friday afternoon. Ether, the second largest digital currency, fell more than 8% to around $ 2,890.

The People’s Bank of China terrified investors after declaring all crypto-related activity illegal. These activities include, for example, trading services and foreign exchanges. This is the latest move in the country’s wider crackdown on digital currencies.

The ban on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be of concern for current and prospective investors as the government limits buyers for a significant segment of the world’s population, advisors said. And other governments are likely to have additional regulations as well, they said.

But these can’t make much of a difference in terms of long-term prices. A daily slump in crypto costs, which may feel significant at this point, is likely just part of a longer-term price correction towards an average price, advisors said.

“Will government regulation make cryptocurrencies volatile? Yes,” said Wayne Wilbanks, managing principal and chief investment officer at Wilbanks Smith & Thomas Asset Management in Norfolk, Virginia. “Will it make crypto redundant? No.

“I don’t think China’s regulation, or even US regulations, will make that much of a difference in the long run,” he added.

Bitcoin, for example, is still up around 40% year-over-year despite the slump on Friday. (It’s far from its April high of around $ 63,000, however.)

To this day, volatility is a signature of cryptocurrencies. This year, for example, prices have fluctuated sharply after tweets from Tesla co-founder and crypto enthusiast Elon Musk.

Advisors usually recommend that investors allocate a small portion of their portfolio (anything that they would lose entirely) because of the risk involved.

Tax advantage

Investors can take advantage of recent volatility, according to Jeffrey Levine, CFP, Accountant and Chief Planning Officer at Buckingham Wealth Partners in Long Island, New York.

Equity, crypto and other investors can “reap” investment losses for a tax advantage. Basically, you can sell a lost investment (e.g. Bitcoin) and use the loss to destroy the gain on a winning investment elsewhere in your portfolio.

This “tax loss harvesting” reduces (or eliminates) the capital gains tax owed on the estimated value of an investment sold.

However, unlike stock investors, crypto investors who are sold out can quickly buy back into the same or similar digital currency. As a result, if the volatile asset price recovers shortly thereafter, they can receive the above tax benefit as well as a portfolio benefit.

House Democrats proposed closing this crypto loophole after this year to reform tax law.

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Cryptocurrency at a crossroads: What’s next for Singapore?, Banking News & Top Stories



Crypto at a crossroads as S’pore approves companies offering digital payment token services

The cryptocurrency revolution has been gaining traction recently and appears to be shifting into a new gear in Singapore after three companies received the green light to provide digital payment token services.

Jargon aside, it will soon become clearer to investors how they can trade cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether within the framework of regulatory guidelines and even pay for goods and services with such coins.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued digital payment token licenses to three companies – Singapore-based fintech company Fomo Pay, Australian cryptocurrency exchange Independent Reserve, and brokerage arm DBS Vickers of local bank DBS.


Banks in S’pore are taking a prudent but positive approach to cryptocurrency

The institutional demand for investing in digital assets continues to grow, and most banks here are taking a safe and steady approach towards cryptocurrency.

In light of the breakthrough new technology, caution seems advisable, not to mention the regulatory minefield and massive upheaval that could hit the financial services industry.

Ms. Tan Siew Lee, Head of Asset Management at OCBC Bank in Singapore, said, “We have been keeping a close eye on developments in the cryptocurrency space as it continues to evolve so rapidly.”


Investor Stories: Stuck at home and unemployed, the 26-year-old found passive income in crypto

When the pandemic hit last year and Mr. Ng Yu Jie was left home unemployed, a seemingly unlikely solution popped into his mind – to try his hand at cryptocurrency for some income.

Mr Ng’s first step was to invest $ 350 in Ripple (XRP) on the Torque trading platform, with each unit costing around 20 US cents or 27 Singapore cents.

The price rose steadily to 60 US cents: “$ 350 turned into $ 1,000, so I paid off,” recalls Mr. Ng, 26, who has a degree in mechanical engineering and used to work as a guide for pub crawlers.


Investor Stories: Man’s digital wallet was wiped out after leaving crypto trading to the robot

“Buy low, sell high” was a strategy that was a pleasure for Derrick when he started trading cryptocurrencies two years ago, so he saw no reason to fix what wasn’t broken.

In fact, it was so easy that Derrick, as he would like to be called, left the trading to a trading robot – software that automates the trading of cryptocurrencies.

The robot, which had access to its digital wallet, traded around the clock and recorded hundreds of transactions every day.


askST: How to trade digital currencies and what are the risks

What are the differences between digital assets and cryptocurrencies? How do I buy cryptocurrencies?

Here’s what you should know before you start trading.


Cryptocurrencies: Governments are still divided over regulating digital tokens

It seems like cryptocurrencies have arrived at the fork in the road.

A small but growing number of countries and companies are testing whether they can be safely accepted by retailers, but security risks, lack of consumer protection and concerns about financial crime continue to affect their use.

Cryptocurrencies are digital tokens that are not issued by governments or supported by commodities. They are typically issued by companies or – like Bitcoin – can be mined using cryptography. Their value is determined by supply and demand through exchange.


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Don’t understand the appeal of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency? Ask a millennial



The following is adapted from Ethan Lou’s new book “Once a Bitcoin Miner: Scandal and Turroil in the Cryptocurrency Wild West”.

I grew up in Wuppertal in West Germany, the birthplace of aspirin and heroin, which were invented by the same man within two weeks in the 19th century. My childhood began shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and my doctoral student father supported the family with the modest income typical of his position. I remember when he brought me home an old bike all the way from another town. I hated it and never rode it. I think it used to belong to a girl. The plastic trim on the spokes was too pink and, like the hand-me-downs I wore, the bike was too big.

When I turned 18, I found myself in a labor market shaken by the 2008 financial crisis, a milestone marked by hardship and uncertainty. Banks had increasingly benefited from offering risky mortgages to those who were not supposed to get them and then building complicated investment products on them. When these borrowers were unable to repay, it set off an avalanche in the connected financial system and people around the world lost their homes, jobs and retirement benefits.

That same year, a faceless person known only as Satoshi Nakamoto published a nine-page whitepaper created with non-branded software: “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”. Whoever was behind the pseudonym, this person or group had been fueled and driven by the financial crisis.

Satoshi Nakamoto processed Bitcoin’s first transaction records – called the Genesis block – on January 3, 2009, and contained a message directly related to this dirty business. The creator cited an article in the Times of London about a possible second government bailout for the banks. Billions should be given to usurers – again – to save them from a storm of their own power.

And that storm had spawned something: Bitcoin had emerged from an opposition to the world’s financial status, a frustration to the same desolation that had surrounded me all my life. Many may not understand the appeal of cryptocurrency or the ardor of its followers, but for me and my generation it may be only natural that we should be drawn to this so-called “millennial gold”, albeit for inexplicable reasons.

I first heard about Bitcoin in my sophomore year, but can’t remember whether it was 2012 or 2013. My friends Dillon and Clinton don’t remember either. It’s been too long and chances are we had too much marijuana that day. Clinton has the worst memory: “Don’t think I was there.”

I was at the University in Toronto, where I studied journalism. The three of us were in Clinton’s city-subsidized apartment, in a building full of drug dealers and hoarders, a place that one newspaper columnist described as “crazy threatening and macabre” because of its frequent mysterious deaths. We were on the dark web that day, the unexplored armpit of the internet, for a reason that is often behind the questionable choices young men make, not dissimilar to the reason people risk their lives climbing high piles of rock or aiming at angry farm animals ride just to see how long they can stay on top.

The dark web is not covered by mainstream search engines and is only accessible through specialized software, most commonly a browser called Tor. The dark web has many legitimate uses, but it is better known for the illegitimate ones.

If you can imagine anything – anything – then you can find it on the darknet. Al-Qaeda and pedophiles and all forms of the grotesque lurk on its pages.

My friends and I stumbled upon the term “Vore” and clicked on a related link only to find out it was cannibalism porn. We didn’t linger long enough to see if it was real or staged. Elsewhere on the Darknet, various marketplaces offered stolen credit card data and passwords, drugs and weapons. You could also hire someone to tell the police the right words to have a tactical team raid a house of your choice, a process known as “swatting”. My friends and I even found alleged murders on offer – just amazing.

Whatever the service or product offered, the sellers required payment in Bitcoin.

Not long after its release, the world’s first cryptocurrency had seen its first major use case. Like the BitTorrent file sharing protocol, Bitcoin works over a network of its users without a central administrator. All dark web transactions were theoretically out of the reach of a government. I couldn’t help but feel like this had greater value, even if I couldn’t pinpoint it, and I would return to the subject soon.

After that year at university, I spent the summer interning a newspaper in Saint John, NB interviewing a Bitcoin proponent for an article: Anthony Di Iorio, who later co-founded the Ethereum blockchain network and became a billionaire. On that day in 2013, we both had a long conversation about cryptocurrency.

While the properties of Bitcoin had an impact on everything from monetary policy to geopolitics, my personal takeaway from our conversation was its price movement – with Bitcoin at around $ 100, Anthony predicted, “I think it will eventually run into the thousands . ”

I couldn’t stop thinking about it as I walked home to my furnitureless rental apartment that day, past the rusty trash cans at the discounter that inexplicably carried cheerful sayings like “smile”, “enjoy life” and “never” give up . “They spat out a breath of expired milk, which, damp from the sea air, smelled of cheese.

At the end of 2013, I tried LSD for the first time with my buddy Dillon, with whom I had previously discovered the Dark Web, in his small room in a shared apartment. We all lived in one of these places. Mine was about $ 500 a month and the streetlights shone right through my windows and hookah smoke kept creeping out of the misty cave below. It was the hallmark of student life, even if many lived there long after graduation.

Unknowingly, Dillon and I took three times the standard dose and followed Bilbo Baggins through the vast and lawless plains of Middle-earth in The Hobbit.

In terms of the original books, I’ve always loved The Hobbit more than the related Lord of the Rings. I read the former as an adult, but the latter when I was no older than 13, when I understood little and remembered even less, partly because I wanted people to leaf through a big book and assume that it was me smart and beyond my years for reading such a great book.

“Seeing the hobbit with Dillon, what attracted me most was the grumpy dwarf Thorin, bitter and lonely after years of wandering who never frowns until the end. “The young dwarven prince took work where he could find it,” says Bilbo in the opening speech. Thorin is looking for enchanted gold and a home – “you don’t have one,” Bilbo later says to him. That day it reverberated inside me with an intensity that made my heart spin. When the year ended and Anthony’s prediction turned out to be correct, I took the plunge and bought Bitcoin.

With that I have crossed a threshold and the line between journalist and adventurer would become blurred. I would go on a journey in the next few years – through wealth, absurdity, wonder and suffering.

I had the rare pleasure of meeting Gerald Cotten, the founder of the collapsed QuadrigaCX exchange, who has now been pronounced dead. I wandered among an eclectic bunch and made my way into a new world, tough and unpredictable, some of whom ended up embroiled in a case before the Alberta Securities Commission.

I even ended up in North Korea and spent a week in close company with Virgil Griffith of the Ethereum Foundation, who later denied trying to help the totalitarian state break through blockchain sanctions because he was in prison for 20 years USA threatened.

In retrospect, if I was looking for a simple explanation for all of this, I could say that it was triggered by my conversation with Anthony Di Iorio. But really, it was sown for years in my identity and existence during that time.

In 1975, young adults in the United States were half as likely to own homes as their peers. More than half of Millennials had delayed important life events such as marriage or having children due to debt. Full-time employment for Canadian men between the ages of 17 and 24 had declined by nearly 80 percent over the past 40 years. In the UK, these issues resulted in millennials being the first generation to be in poorer health than their parents.

Looking up those numbers, I also read that a millennial male up to the age of 18 would have been irreversibly damaged by all that processed modern junk food. It didn’t have much to do with economics, but it still made me sad to learn that something was wrong with the basic function of myself and my fellow human beings. How I ended up investing in Bitcoin – maybe it was only natural.

Adapted from “Once a Bitcoin Miner: Scandal and Turbulence in the Cryptocurrency Wild West”. Copyright Ethan Lou, 2021. Published by ECW Press.

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Bitcoin-mining power plant raises ire of environmentalists



One obstacle to large-scale Bitcoin mining is finding enough cheap power to power the huge, power-hungry computer arrays that create and process cryptocurrencies. A mining company in central New York developed a novel solution that alerted environmentalists. It uses its own power plant.

Greenidge Generation operates a once-decommissioned facility near the shores of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes area to produce approximately 44 megawatts to power 15,300 computer servers, plus additional power fed into the state’s power grid. The megawatts made available for Bitcoin could be enough to supply more than 35,000 households with electricity.

Proponents call it a competitive way to mine increasingly popular cryptocurrencies without putting a strain on the existing power grid.

Environmentalists see the plant as a threat to the climate.

They fear a wave of resurrected fossil fuel power plants that pump out greenhouse gases for private profit rather than public good. They see Greenidge as a test case and call on the state to refuse the renewal of the air quality permit of the plant and to put the brakes on similar projects.

“The current state of our climate requires measures to mine cryptocurrencies,” said Liz Moran of Earthjustice. “We are jeopardizing the ability of the state to achieve our climate goals and thereby setting the course for the rest of the country.”

The former coal-fired power station in a tourist region known for its glacial lakes and Riesling wines, was converted to natural gas by Greenidge and started producing electricity in 2017. The company said it was bringing “a piece of the world’s digital future” to New York state.

“For decades this region has been told that it would see new industries and opportunities,” Greenidge said in a prepared statement. “We’re actually making it happen, and entirely within the state’s leading high environmental standards.”

Bitcoin miners unlock bitcoins by solving complex, unique puzzles. As Bitcoin increases in value, the puzzles become more difficult and require more computer power to solve. Estimates of how much energy Bitcoin uses vary.

Greenidge said it had mined 729 bitcoins in the three months ended September 30. The value of the cryptocurrency fluctuates and on Friday one Bitcoin was worth over USD 59,000.

Opponents are frustrated that Greenidge applied to run a power plant but is now running a mine that uses more electricity from the power plant.

Greenidge says mining was not part of the plan when the plant came back online, noting that they continue to feed electricity into the grid. From January through June, Greenidge said it used 58% of its energy in mining.

Supporters see it as an economic boon in part of New York state that could use the help. Douglas Paddock, chairman of the Yates County Legislature, testified at a public hearing this week that the plant created 45 high-paying jobs and “made a significant contribution” to the area through tax payments and capital investments.

Some opposition to the facility is focused on the potential impact of its water withdrawals from Lake Seneca. But air quality issues were at the fore when the state Department of the Environment reviewed the plant’s air emissions permits.

Greenidge has stated that it is honoring its permits and that the facility is 100% carbon neutral thanks to the purchase of carbon offsets such as forest programs and projects to collect methane from landfills.

Opponents claim the facility is undermining the state’s efforts to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades under the 2019 Climate Change Act.

A grand coalition of environmental groups and other organizations this week called on Governor Kathy Hochul to deny Greenidge’s air permit and take similar measures to prevent an existing facility near Buffalo from becoming a mining site. The coalition wants Hochul to set a “national precedent” and enact a nationwide moratorium on the energy-intensive “proof-of-work” cryptocurrency used by Bitcoin miners.

Environmentalists estimate that there are 30 plants in New York that could be converted into mining operations.

“I really think this plant is above all an important test of whether the state’s climate law is really worth anything,” said Judith Enck, who served as the EPA’s regional northeastern US administrator under President Barack Obama.

Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have separately entrusted the Federal Environment Agency with the supervision.

There are other power plants across the country that are used for mining cryptocurrencies under various agreements.

In Venango County, Pennsylvania, a power plant is used to mine bitcoins, convert waste coal into electricity and feed electricity into the grid when needed. Stronghold Digital Mining plans to replicate this type of operation in two other Pennsylvania locations.

And in Montana, a coal-fired power plant is now supplying 100% of its energy to Marathon Digital Holdings for Bitcoin mining under a power purchase agreement.

“We had previously done what a lot of miners do, namely find an industrial building, set it up for mining and then get electricity from the grid,” said Marathon CEO Fred Thiel. “And we wanted to turn this model on its head because we knew that there are a lot of unused energy sources in the US.”

Thiel said the harmful emissions are low due to the quality of the coal and pollution, and that the facility will be CO2 compensated by the end of next year. He said his company is focused on the renewable energy transition and said cryptocurrency miners could provide crucial financial incentives for building more clean energy projects.

New York State has yet to make a decision on Greenidge’s permits.

Greenidge said that even when the facility is at full capacity, the potential emissions are equal to 0.23% of the federal target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for 2030.

However, State Environment Commissioner Basil Seggos tweeted last month that “Greenidge has failed to demonstrate compliance with the NY Climate Law,” based on the goals in that law.

“New York State is a leader in climate change,” Seggos said in a prepared statement, “and we have some major concerns about the role cryptocurrency mining could play in generating additional greenhouse gas emissions.”

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