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Crypto-Powered - The Most Promising Use-Cases of Decentralized Finance (DeFi)

Crypto-Powered - The Most Promising Use-Cases of Decentralized Finance (DeFi)
A whirlwind tour of Defi, paying close attention to protocols that we’re leveraging at Genesis Block.
https://reddit.com/link/hrrt21/video/cvjh5rrh12b51/player
This is the third post of Crypto-Powered — a new series that examines what it means for Genesis Block to be a digital bank that’s powered by crypto, blockchain, and decentralized protocols.
Last week we explored how building on legacy finance is a fool’s errand. The future of money belongs to those who build with crypto and blockchain at their core. We also started down the crypto rabbit hole, introducing Bitcoin, Ethereum, and DeFi (decentralized finance). That post is required reading if you hope to glean any value from the rest of this series.
97% of all activity on Ethereum in the last quarter has been DeFi-related. The total value sitting inside DeFi protocols is roughly $2B — double what it was a month ago. The explosive growth cannot be ignored. All signs suggest that Ethereum & DeFi are a Match Made in Heaven, and both on their way to finding strong product/market fit.
So in this post, we’re doing a whirlwind tour of DeFi. We look at specific examples and use-cases already in the wild and seeing strong growth. And we pay close attention to protocols that Genesis Block is integrating with. Alright, let’s dive in.

Stablecoins

Stablecoins are exactly what they sound like: cryptocurrencies that are stable. They are not meant to be volatile (like Bitcoin). These assets attempt to peg their price to some external reference (eg. USD or Gold). A non-volatile crypto asset can be incredibly useful for things like merchant payments, cross-border transfers, or storing wealth — becoming your own bank but without the stress of constant price volatility.
There are major governments and central banks that are experimenting with or soon launching their own stablecoins like China with their digital yuan and the US Federal Reserve with their digital dollar. There are also major corporations working in this area like JP Morgan with their JPM Coin, and of course Facebook with their Libra Project.
Stablecoin activity has grown 800% in the last year, with $290B of transaction volume (funds moving on-chain).
The most popular USD-pegged stablecoins include:
  1. Tether ($10B): It’s especially popular in Asia. It’s backed by USD in a bank account. But given their lack of transparency and past controversies, they generally aren’t trusted as much in the West.
  2. USDC ($1B): This is the most reputable USD-backed stablecoin, at least in the West. It was created by Coinbase & Circle, both well-regarded crypto companies. They’ve been very open and transparent with their audits and bank records.
  3. DAI ($189M): This is backed by other crypto assets — not USD in a bank account. This was arguably the first true DeFi protocol. The big benefit is that it’s more decentralized — it’s not controlled by any single organization. The downside is that the assets backing it can be volatile crypto assets (though it has mechanisms in place to mitigate that risk).
Other notable USD-backed stablecoins include PAX, TrueUSD, Binance USD, and Gemini Dollar.
tablecoins are playing an increasingly important role in the world of DeFi. In a way, they serve as common pipes & bridges between the various protocols.
https://preview.redd.it/v9ki2qro12b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=dbf591b122fc4b3d83b381389145b88e2505b51d

Lending & Borrowing

Three of the top five DeFi protocols relate to lending & borrowing. These popular lending protocols look very similar to traditional money markets. Users who want to earn interest/yield can deposit (lend) their funds into a pool of liquidity. Because it behaves similarly to traditional money markets, their funds are not locked, they can withdraw at any time. It’s highly liquid.
Borrowers can tap into this pool of liquidity and take out loans. Interest rates depend on the utilization rate of the pool — how much of the deposits in the pool have already been borrowed. Supply & demand. Thus, interest rates are variable and borrowers can pay their loans back at any time.
So, who decides how much a borrower can take? What’s the process like? Are there credit checks? How is credit-worthiness determined?
These protocols are decentralized, borderless, permissionless. The people participating in these markets are from all over the world. There is no simple way to verify identity or check credit history. So none of that happens.
Credit-worthiness is determined simply by how much crypto collateral the borrower puts into the protocol. For example, if a user wants to borrow $5k of USDC, then they’ll need to deposit $10k of BTC or ETH. The exact amount of collateral depends on the rules of the protocol — usually the more liquid the collateral asset, the more borrowing power the user can receive.
The most prominent lending protocols include Compound, Aave, Maker, and Atomic Loans. Recently, Compound has seen meteoric growth with the introduction of their COMP token — a token used to incentivize and reward participants of the protocol. There’s almost $1B in outstanding debt in the Compound protocol. Mainframe is also working on an exciting protocol in this area and the latest iteration of their white paper should be coming out soon.
There is very little economic risk to these protocols because all loans are overcollateralized.
I repeat, all loans are overcollateralized. If the value of the collateral depreciates significantly due to price volatility, there are sophisticated liquidation systems to ensure the loan always gets paid back.
https://preview.redd.it/rru5fykv12b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=620679dd84fca098a042051c7e7e1697be8dd259

Investments

Buying, selling, and trading crypto assets is certainly one form of investing (though not for the faint of heart). But there are now DeFi protocols to facilitate making and managing traditional-style investments.
Through DeFi, you can invest in Gold. You can invest in stocks like Amazon and Apple. You can short Tesla. You can access the S&P 500. This is done through crypto-based synthetics — which gives users exposure to assets without needing to hold or own the underlying asset. This is all possible with protocols like UMA, Synthetix, or Market protocol.
Maybe your style of investing is more passive. With PoolTogether , you can participate in a no-loss lottery.
Maybe you’re an advanced trader and want to trade options or futures. You can do that with DeFi protocols like Convexity, Futureswap, and dYdX. Maybe you live on the wild side and trade on margin or leverage, you can do that with protocols like Fulcrum, Nuo, and DDEX. Or maybe you’re a degenerate gambler and want to bet against Trump in the upcoming election, you can do that on Augur.
And there are plenty of DeFi protocols to help with crypto investing. You could use Set Protocol if you need automated trading strategies. You could use Melonport if you’re an asset manager. You could use Balancer to automatically rebalance your portfolio.
With as little as $1, people all over the world can have access to the same investment opportunities and tools that used to be reserved for only the wealthy, or those lucky enough to be born in the right country.
You can start to imagine how services like Etrade, TD Ameritrade, Schwab, and even Robinhood could be massively disrupted by a crypto-native company that builds with these types of protocols at their foundation.
https://preview.redd.it/agco8msx12b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=3bbb595f9ecc84758d276dbf82bc5ddd9e329ff8

Insurance

As mentioned in our previous post, there are near-infinite applications one can build on Ethereum. As a result, sometimes the code doesn’t work as expected. Bugs get through, it breaks. We’re still early in our industry. The tools, frameworks, and best practices are all still being established. Things can go wrong.
Sometimes the application just gets in a weird or bad state where funds can’t be recovered — like with what happened with Parity where $280M got frozen (yes, I lost some money in that). Sometimes, there are hackers who discover a vulnerability in the code and maliciously steal funds — like how dForce lost $25M a few months ago, or how The DAO lost $50M a few years ago. And sometimes the system works as designed, but the economic model behind it is flawed, so a clever user takes advantage of the system— like what recently happened with Balancer where they lost $500k.
There are a lot of risks when interacting with smart contracts and decentralized applications — especially for ones that haven’t stood the test of time. This is why insurance is such an important development in DeFi.
Insurance will be an essential component in helping this technology reach the masses.
Two protocols that are leading the way on DeFi insurance are Nexus Mutual and Opyn. Though they are both still just getting started, many people are already using them. And we’re excited to start working with them at Genesis Block.
https://preview.redd.it/wf1xvq3z12b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=70db1e9587f57d0c470a4f9f4523c216929e1876

Exchanges & Liquidity

Decentralized Exchanges (DEX) were one of the first and most developed categories in DeFi. A DEX allows a user to easily exchange one crypto asset for another crypto asset — but without needing to sign up for an account, verify identity, etc. It’s all via decentralized protocols.
Within the first 5 months of 2020, the top 7 DEX already achieved the 2019 trading volume. That was $2.5B. DeFi is fueling a lot of this growth.
https://preview.redd.it/1dwvq4e022b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=97a3d756f60239cd147031eb95fc2a981db55943
There are many different flavors of DEX. Some of the early ones included 0x, IDEX, and EtherDelta — all of which had a traditional order book model where buyers are matched with sellers.
Another flavor is the pooled liquidity approach where the price is determined algorithmically based on how much liquidity there is and how much the user wants to buy. This is known as an AMM (Automated Market Maker) — Uniswap and Bancor were early leaders here. Though lately, Balancer has seen incredible growth due mostly to their strong incentives for participation — similar to Compound.
There are some DEXs that are more specialized — for example, Curve and mStable focus mostly only stablecoins. Because of the proliferation of these decentralized exchanges, there are now aggregators that combine and connect the liquidity of many sources. Those include Kyber, Totle, 1Inch, and Dex.ag.
These decentralized exchanges are becoming more and more connected to DeFi because they provide an opportunity for yield and earning interest.
Users can earn passive income by supplying liquidity to these markets. It usually comes in the form of sharing transaction fee revenue (Uniswap) or token rewards (Balancer).
https://preview.redd.it/wrug6lg222b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=9c47a3f2e01426ca87d84b92c1e914db39ff773f

Payments

As it relates to making payments, much of the world is still stuck on plastic cards. We’re grateful to partner with Visa and launch the Genesis Block debit card… but we still don’t believe that's the future of payments. We see that as an important bridge between the past (legacy finance) and the future (crypto).
Our first post in this series shared more on why legacy finance is broken. We talked about the countless unnecessary middle-men on every card swipe (merchant, acquiring bank, processor, card network, issuing bank). We talked about the slow settlement times.
The future of payments will be much better. Yes, it’ll be from a mobile phone and the user experience will be similar to ApplePay (NFC) or WePay (QR Code).
But more importantly, the underlying assets being moved/exchanged will all be crypto — digital, permissionless, and open source.
Someone making a payment at the grocery store check-out line will be able to open up Genesis Block, use contactless tech or scan a QR code, and instantly pay for their goods. All using crypto. Likely a stablecoin. Settlement will be instant. All the middlemen getting their pound of flesh will be disintermediated. The merchant can make more and the user can spend less. Blockchain FTW!
Now let’s talk about a few projects working in this area. The xDai Burner Wallet experience was incredible at the ETHDenver event a few years ago, but that speed came at the expense of full decentralization (can it be censored or shut down?). Of course, Facebook’s Libra wants to become the new standard for global payments, but many are afraid to give Facebook that much control (newsflash: it isn’t very decentralized).
Bitcoin is decentralized… but it’s slow and volatile. There are strong projects like Lightning Network (Zap example) that are still trying to make it happen. Projects like Connext and OmiseGo are trying to help bring payments to Ethereum. The Flexa project is leveraging the gift card rails, which is a nice hack to leverage existing pipes. And if ETH 2.0 is as fast as they say it will be, then the future of payments could just be a stablecoin like DAI (a token on Ethereum).
In a way, being able to spend crypto on daily expenses is the holy grail of use-cases. It’s still early. It hasn’t yet been solved. But once we achieve this, then we can ultimately and finally say goodbye to the legacy banking & finance world. Employees can be paid in crypto. Employees can spend in crypto. It changes everything.
Legacy finance is hanging on by a thread, and it’s this use-case that they are still clinging to. Once solved, DeFi domination will be complete.
https://preview.redd.it/svft1ce422b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=9a6afc9e9339a3fec29ee2ae743c07c3042ea4ce

Impact on Genesis Block

At Genesis Block, we’re excited to leverage these protocols and take this incredible technology to the world. Many of these protocols are already deeply integrated with our product. In fact, many are essential. The masses won’t know (or care about) what Tether, USDC, or DAI is. They think in dollars, euros, pounds and pesos. So while the user sees their local currency in the app, the underlying technology is all leveraging stablecoins. It’s all on “crypto rails.”
https://preview.redd.it/jajzttr622b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=fcf55cea1216a1d2fcc3bf327858b009965f9bf8
When users deposit assets into their Genesis Block account, they expect to earn interest. They expect that money to grow. We leverage many of these low-risk lending/exchange DeFi protocols. We lend into decentralized money markets like Compound — where all loans are overcollateralized. Or we supply liquidity to AMM exchanges like Balancer. This allows us to earn interest and generate yield for our depositors. We’re the experts so our users don’t need to be.
We haven’t yet integrated with any of the insurance or investment protocols — but we certainly plan on it. Our infrastructure is built with blockchain technology at the heart and our system is extensible — we’re ready to add assets and protocols when we feel they are ready, safe, secure, and stable. Many of these protocols are still in the experimental phase. It’s still early.
At Genesis Block we’re excited to continue to be at the frontlines of this incredible, innovative, technological revolution called DeFi.
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None of these powerful DeFi protocols will be replacing Robinhood, SoFi, or Venmo anytime soon. They never will. They aren’t meant to! We’ve discussed this before, these are low-level protocols that need killer applications, like Genesis Block.
So now that we’ve gone a little deeper down the rabbit hole and we’ve done this whirlwind tour of DeFi, the natural next question is: why?
Why does any of it matter?
Most of these financial services that DeFi offers already exist in the real world. So why does it need to be on a blockchain? Why does it need to be decentralized? What new value is unlocked? Next post, we answer these important questions.
To look at more projects in DeFi, check out DeFi Prime, DeFi Pulse, or Consensys.
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Weekly Update: $WIB, $VID, $CHZ on ParJar, Pynk crushes Web Summit, XIO swap bridge, Sentivate reorg... – 1 Nov - 7 Nov'19

Weekly Update: $WIB, $VID, $CHZ on ParJar, Pynk crushes Web Summit, XIO swap bridge, Sentivate reorg... – 1 Nov - 7 Nov'19
Hi folks! We are catching up real quick. Here’s your week at Parachute + partners (1 Nov - 7 Nov'19):

Three new projects and their awesome communities joined the Parachute fam this week: Wibson, VideoCoin and Chiliz. Welcome! And if you missed, we also added Shuffle Monster, Harmony and CyberFM last week. #cryptoforeveryone is getting bigger by the day. Woot woot! In this week’s TTR trivias, we had Richi’s movie quiz qith a 25k $PAR pot. Charlotte's Rebus trivia in TTR on Tuesday had 25k $PAR in prizes for 10 Qs. Noice! Jason’s creative contest for this week was #artdeadmin: “draw/paint/sketch/whatever you imagine a group of the parachute admins doing together”. Click here to check out some of the entries of the TTR Halloween photo contest from last week. Doc Victor (from Cuba) hosted a Champions League wager round in tip room. And congrats to Victor (Anox) for passing his final Medical exams. We have 2 Doc Vics now. One from Cuba and the other from *redacted*.
Some of the top #artdeadmin submissions. Insane talent!
Jason’s running medal collection. Say what!
Andy shared the latest standings in the Parachute Fantasy Football League (#PFFL). Clinton (7-2) is on top followed by Chris (7-2) in second place and Hang (7-2) in third place. So close! As we rolled into November, Parachute crew signed up for Movember. So now we have 3 teams from the Parachute fold, doing a no-shave November for men’s health issues: Parachute (Tony, Cap, Alexis, Cuban Doc Vic, Richi), TTR (Vali, Ashok, Tavo, Alejandro, Marcos, PeaceLove) and TTR-Ladies (Mery, Martha, AngellyC, Liem, Durby, LeidyElena, Charlotte). Show them some support peeps! This is all for charity. Show them some support folks! This week’s #wholesomewed was about “your most precious possession and give us the story of why it is so precious to you”. A whole lot of $PAR was given out for some real wholesome life stories. Best. Community. Eva! Two-for-Tuesday theme for this week: colors! As always, a melodic Tuesday thanks to Gian! And thank you Borna for writing about Parachute and ParJar on the Blockchain Andy blog.
<- This is where Jose creates his magic. Respect / Cuban Doc Vic’s doggo, Symba, could easily be a TTR mascot. Good boi! ->
This week at aXpire there were two separate $AXPR burns: 20k of last week and 200k of this week. Last week’s news recap can be seen here. Congratulations to the team for being conferred the honour of being handed a key to Miami-Dade County by Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez at the 2019 Miami-Dade Beacon Council Annual Meeting & Key Ceremony. aXpire's disruptive solutions like Resolvr (expense allocation), Bilr (invoice management) and DigitalShares (deal marketplace) help hedge funds and PE firms scale through better profit margins. How? Read here. Did you know that the 2gether Ambassador Zone lets you customise referral messages with a #PicOfTheDay while you earn some sweet 2GT rewards? Super cool! There was an upgrade to the platform this week that might have led to a temporary deactivation in withdrawals while the update was being deployed. CEO Ramón Ferraz’s interview by BeInCrypto was released. Founder Salvador Algarra travelled to an ABANCA event for a keynote speech on Fintech innovation. Next week he will be at Rankia's Blockchain and Crypto Tech gathering to speak on "Blockchain, from predicting the future to building it". CardRates’ feature article on 2gether came out this week. The BOMBX:XIO token swap bridge went live. The swap will be open till 15th December. Plus, $XIO is now listed on DDEX and Switcheo. There were some disruptions in the bridge from time to time because of heavy traffic. Hence, the team also set up a manual swap page as an alternative solution. And please be wary of scammers posing as admins to help with the swap instructions. For any doubts, always reach out to accounts with admin tags on the official Telegram channel. The first set of incubated startups will be revealed on the 22nd of November. Ever wanted to find out about the people who frequent the BOMB token chat? Well, the BOMB Board is running a "Humans of Bomb" series to feature some of the most active members. This week, say Hello to Gustavo.
Key to Miami-Dade County awarded to aXpire. Cool!
WednesdayCoin’s founder Mike floated the idea of making WednesdayClub open on all days. The nature of the $WED token will not change on chain. Just that it will be usable inside the DApp everyday. What do you think? Let him know in the Reddit thread. Birdchain’s $BIRD token was listed on Mercatox this week. A new monthly referral contest was launched as well. 50k BIRD tokens to be won. Nice! Want the SMS feature to be released in your country? Start promoting! A featured article on Chainleak capped off the week perfectly for Birdchain. $ETHOS, $AXPR (aXpire), $HYDRO, $BNTY (Bounty0x) and $HST (Horizon State) were added to the eToro Wallet. The airdrops for Switch’s various token holders were distributed this week. As mentioned earlier as well, $ESH and $SDEX are revenue sharing tokens. Winners of the John McAfee contest and trading competition were announced. Congratulations! Tron blockchain support will be added to the Switch-based McAfeeDex next week. The news was covered by Beincrypto, U Today, Crypto Crunch, Altcoin Buzz and Tron’s Justin Sun as well. The Dex was featured in a Forbes article about John McAfee’s views on Libra. The latest community contest at Fantom involves writing educational articles on the platform. If you have been following Fantom developments, then this would be a breeze. Also, USD 100 in FTM tokens to be won. Sweet! Check out the cool $FTM merch on display at Odd Gems fashion. Even though these are not official gear, they have the blessings from the project. CMO Michael Chen sat down for an interview with Crypto Intelligence India to talk about the upcoming mainnet launch. The crew also appeared for an AMA with Atomic Wallet community. The latest technical update covers "Golang implementation of Lachesis consensus" or Go-Lachesis in short. Check out its demo with 7 nodes here.
Parachute presentation (WIP). That’s right. 500k transactions and counting. Wow!
While the Uptrennd Halloween contest got over last week, AltcoinBuzz made a friggin amazing graphic! Don’t forget to follow the Ann channel to stay up to date with the latest from Uptrennd. Founder Jeff Kirdeikis also announced that he will be working closely with PrefLogic on Security Tokens. Jeff’s interview with MakerDAO Biz Dev Gustav Arentoft came out. After some upgrades on Uptrennd, withdrawals are live again. Instead of the weekly meme contest, there was a flyer contest this week. 5k $1UP prize pool for winners. Wicked! The latest community picked TA report was on ETH. And the crew reached Malta for the AIBC Summit. More pics next week! Did you know that you can get Opacity Gift Codes for various plans at ShopOpacity.com? If not, make sure to read up on the Opacity October update. Catch up on the latest at District0x from the District weekly. The District Registry was live demo’ed. Looks cool! Hydro crew travelled to the Web Summit in Lisbon to spread word on the project. They were also represented at the Chicago fintech science fair this week. For a summary of the last few weeks gone by at Hydrogen, you can read the Project update and Hydro Labs update. We have covered most of these in previous posts. For the latest scoop on Hydro Labs, there’s always the Ann channel. Silent Notary’s Ubikiri wallet is undergoing upgrades. One of which is, wallets will be auto-named after creation. A ton more upgrades to be released. Sentivate announced a reorganisation in the company in order to devote full focus on Sentivate. The parent company will close and all resources will move to Sentivate. Here’s another use-case story to emphasise the potential of Universal Web. In the latest community vote on Blockfolio, folks voted overwhelmingly Yes on whether they would like to see more explainer articles on web tech. Also, the epic shoutout from Scott Melker (The Wolf Of All Streets) has to be the best thing ever!
Updated Sentivate roadmap for next 3 months
Pynk travelled to the Web Summit in Lisbon (wonder if they crossed paths with Hydro and SelfKey teams) as an official delegate of the Mayor's International Business Programme and were featured by KPMG. How to catch people’s eyes in a Summit where everyone is trying to grab your attention? With LED back packs. Genius! Such a lit idea, that even Web Summit tweeted it. Woohoo! And then they rocked a series of pitches to get to the big stage. Wins in Round 1 and quarter finals ensured an entry into the semi finals on the main stage. Click here to watch their presentation. Great job guys! Business Insider Poland included Pynk in their list of 12 Fintech companies worth following. The latest Pynk Tank episode delves into deep fakes in political advertising. One of the upcoming features on the platform will be the addition of gold to the daily price prediction tool. Pynk has "absolutely no interest in Bitcoin fanatics, ‘bagholders’ or ANYONE who mentions moons or Lamborghini’s. It’s tacky". This vibes perfectly with Parachute. Read more on Pynk's guide to becoming a super-predictor here. Horizon State announced that it will be resuming business under a new management. Welcome back! The original $HST token will not be supported anymore. The team will be looking into how the token holders are included in the new system. DENGfans, don’t forget to check the mini-projects posted by Mathew in the Telegram channel. Look up #getDENG in the channel. If you’re proficient in excel and VB, get in touch. Shuffle Monster’s $SHUF token is now listed on Dex.ag which acts as a decentralised price aggregator. CyberFM distributed the $CYFM payouts for October this week. Total payout as of 1st Nov is USD 266k+ in crypto. Say what!
Pynk’s LED back packs are a stroke of genius
OST’s Pepo was the 19th most popular dApp on State of the DApps last week. This week it climbed to the 16th position. Upcoming features on Pepo include video replies, threads and debates. Stay tuned! OST crew was at the Web3 UX Unconference in Toronto to talk all things UX. Next week they will be at ETHWaterloo to present and judge the UX award there. SelfKey’s $KEY token got listed on Hong Kong’s Lukki exchange. Like Hydro, the SelfKey team also attended the Web Summit in Lisbon for networking. If you were there, hope you said Hi. Ever wondered how Distributed Identity keeps your information private and safe when blockchains are supposed to be public? Click here to find out how SelfKey does this. More insight was shared into the Chainlink partnership this week by Constellation CEO Ben Jorgensen. The team attended the Air Force Space Pitch Day where it was selected to pitch the platform to attendees. Go get’em! How and why does Constellation do things? Check out the Constellation Principles. The October update for Yazom covers news such as alpha build of the app nearing completion, ongoing deal negotiation with clients etc.

And with that, we close for this week in Parachuteverse. See you again soon. Ciao!
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BitcoinTaxes Podcast: Crypto Audits w/ Alex Kugelman

BitcoinTaxes Podcast Link
TLDR; Alex Kugelman, a tax controversy lawer, discusses crypto audits and how to avoid them.
Highlights:
IRS audits are a real possibility for anyone who has traded cryptocurrencies. Our guest today is Alex Kugelman, a tax controversy lawyer with an abundance of knowledge concerning cryptocurrency audits. He's here to share his expertise on IRS cryptocurrency audits, including risk reduction strategies as well as enforcement predictions and misconceptions.
Alex Kugelman specializes in IRS audits. His experience includes four years of Federal government court experience at the U.S. Tax Court and a U.S. District Court. [00:40]
Alex: I'm an attorney out in California. I clerked for a US District Court judge and as well as the United States Tax Court. I've been in private practice exclusively doing tax controversy work for the past five years or so. I kind of got involved with crypto towards the end of 2016. I tended to represent clients mainly with compliance & disclosure issues with respect to cryptocurrency. I just really like it. Really interesting area.
The Coinbase summons in 2018 played a major role in Alex's interest in crypto audits. [01:19]
Alex: What started me into the crypto space was when the IRS first issued summons for Coinbase. We started getting some interesting calls regarding that. And at that time I thought to myself, this might be an interesting area. So I started following the actual summons enforcement proceeding at the District Court here in San Francisco - from there kind of worked with people under different types of compliance, including international disclosures. Now we're starting to see some of the first cryptocurrency audits come through.
First, let's get a brief rundown of how IRS audits work. [02:00]
Alex: It is important to understand the IRS as an administrative agency and all different layers of it. So when it comes to an audit the term that the IRS uses is an examination and there's three basic levels.
The first is a correspondence exam. That's where you get a letter that says, dear taxpayer, so-and-so reported that you had $100 of interest income that wasn't on your tax return - we're going to increase your tax. If you want to challenge that, you can. And that's basically termed an under reporter notice. That's probably not going to be a cryptocurrency audit if you get that notice.
The next one is an office exam. That is someone in the local IRS office sending you a letter that says, we have selected a certain tax return for audit and we're going to look at these issues. We'd like you to call us to schedule an appointment. That's going to be usually a tax compliance officer that is doing that.
The third and probably the most serious level of exam is a field examination. That's also going to be a local IRS representative, typically a revenue agent. There, the revenue agent may come to your work or ask come to your work or business to kind of conduct the audit.
All three of those are going to start the same: a letter that's sent to you at your most recent address provided to the IRS.
Cryptocurrency audits follow a similar protocol. [05:40]
Alex: I think it's likely that most crypto audits are going to start with one of two things happening. One is that there is information from the Coinbase summons that is inconsistent with what was on a taxpayer's tax return. I think for someone who's involved with that issue, they're going to have a good sense of that one because they should've gotten an email notice from Coinbase.
Or two, the audit notice is going to identify older tax years - 2013, 2014 or 2015 because those are the years that the information related to.
Another reason I think people will get audited is going to be because information on the return is incomplete, in the sense that the taxpayer or the cryptocurrency owner reports some transactions, without enough detail to figure out the actual cost basis.
Does reporting your data in an aggregated fashion increase your chances of being audited? [06:45]
Alex: I mean one - to the extent that there's going to be a lot of taxpayers - a lot of people use TurboTax, right? If that's the way TurboTax is preparing all of those returns, it would seem to me you're kind of in a herd of people like that. And at least it's consistent with what a lot of people are doing. The second part of that is going to be at least those people who have prepare the returns in that manner, they're going to, or should have, the underlying data. So even if it's an aggregate reporting of each asset class as opposed to each individual trade, if there ever were questions then you're going to have your CSV files, you're going to have your Bitcoin.tax exports, you're going to have all the information that you need to back that up.
Alex is an advocate of over-reporting your information to the IRS. [09:30]
Alex: I'm a big proponent of over-reporting - and I don't mean paying too much tax. I just mean including too much information. Because at some point there's kind of two ways that your returned can be flagged: a computer flags the return for some reason or there's a special unit or a person who actually flags it. At the end of the day, a human being will be looking at that return and deciding whether it actually is going to go all the way through to an audit. I want them to completely understand what's being reported, why it's been reported, and if there's too much information, that's fine - it's less likely that someone's going to have more questions.
A crypto audit is very likely to be a field exam - and it's important to hire a good rep. [11:00]
Alex: It's very likely going to be a field exam, which means you're going to have a revenue agent - and those are kind of the best of the best auditors for an IRS audit. And remember - an IRS audit is a civil matter. It is not criminal at this point. Again, it's unlikely that it will become criminal. It is, however, the highest level of audit you're going to get.
If you're going to hire a representative, which you have every right to do, you should contact that person, let them know what's going on and probably have them interface with the auditor. You should receive, as part of the opening notice or letter, the information document request - which is identifying what things to bring for the auditor. Also, it'll tip to what topics might be important. For example the typical things you're going to see will be bank statements, financial or asset account statements, which I view as requesting exchange statements or exchange CSV files. Any documents that show the cost basis for your cryptocurrency trades.
Audits are more art than science. [13:35]
Alex: The auditor has a fair amount of power. So if you play real hardball - that's not going to prevent the auditor from expanding to other years. So when you get that audit notice ,and let's say that you're going to deal with this yourself, the first thing you want to kind of figure out is what are the areas that I wouldn't want to go into, and what are the areas that I don't have good records? That will help guide the way to respond or what information to pull together.
The reality is, and let's just be honest here - for most people reporting cryptocurrency gains, they have all of the information. The IRS does not have much. They might have some records from Coinbase, but it's not as if they have a treasure trove of third party data.
The burden is really going to be, in every audit, on the taxpayer to prove their tax return is correct.
It's difficult to say how lenient the IRS will be regarding past years. [15:35]
Alex: I think the way that I would look at it is that maybe the standard of of records required to really substantiate older years might be a little bit lower for older years as opposed to now because it's different now. There's a lot better information provided by some of the exchanges. There's a lot more software out there to help you, especially for people who are newer to crypto. You should have access to all your bank records. You should still have a lot of emails, reflecting on-ramping off-ramping, or other purchases. You should be able to kind of pull this all together.
I can understand when we have clients who come in and are early adopters and they're missing chunks of information. So I do think that in those types of circumstances, yes, I think there would be a little bit of leniency. But I don't think if you're asking, hey, I reported my gains in 2017 but I never really did it 14, 15 or 16 - I don't think that's going to be viewed very favorably.
It is possible to substantiate your data without all of your records. [19:00]
Alex: I think the first thing is, I mean, outside of cryptocurrency and just generally in audits, how many people have complete records to support everything on their tax return from three years ago? Right? It's just not the reality.
The best source of information in a lot of these cryptocurrency clients are the clients themselves. They kind of know what they did and they can remember. There's some who take good notes and other people don't, but as you go through and ask people: what exchanges have you've been on, what type of coins, if you bought any ICOs, have you ever sold for actual US cash, and have you ever bought goods or services? As you talk through things people tend to recall what happened. We use that information and we cross check that against bank statements, as well as CSV files, to pick out what those transactions look like.
Most people have some sort of records, at least reflecting the transfer in and the transfer back out of that exchange. So you can use historical data and historical pricing information to essentially estimate what that transaction would have been. And then what we do is we provide a written statement summary of what we're doing and why we're doing it.
The other big one that we see all the time - and anybody listening to this, please hear this, do not trade for your friends on your exchange accounts - because that type of commingling causes such major problems. Essentially you are walking into those taxable gains just because you're allowing someone access to the exchange to make sales.
If you need representation for an audit, get representation. [23:00]
Alex: My general rule is that I think experienced representatives are really important. I probably would not hire the CPA that prepared my return unless they were: one, experienced with being a representative in audits. And two, you felt comfortable that they weren't going to go in there with a conflict of interest. But I do think if you're worried about going into audit - hiring a skilled, and experienced rep is really, really important.
If they're experienced with this, they should understand the appropriate ethical standards and go in there and essentially help resolve portions of the audit and move it to a resolution that you can deal with.
Taxpayers actually have a lot of leverage in an audit. And that sounds crazy to say, but there is a lot of truth to that. And so as you're kind of working through the audit itself, you want to make sure that you're not just agreeing to something to be done with it. You're not agreeing to something just because you think that you'll get in more trouble or get a worse result otherwise.
There are important risk-reduction strategies you can utilize to avoid a crypto audit. [28:15]
Alex: The first thing that you really want to do, is just assess; for those of you that are really worried about an audit - just assess what it is you've actually done over the years. When did you start trading, what exchanges were you on, do you have records that reflect on-ramping and off-ramping? And that's going to be your bank account statements. Do you know where you've been, what exchanges you've been on?
For foreign exchanges, there may not be as much of that AML & KYC compliance, but I really believe that you do have reporting requirements under FATCA for FBAR and something called an 8938, which if you listen to the podcast with Tyson, he kind of explains what that is. But it's basically if you have ownership of a foreign bank account or asset, you have certain reporting requirements, whether you've had income or not.
You want to make sure you at least track when you've actually exchanged crypto for cash or vice versa. That's partly because that's one of those areas where when people can get in trouble with some sort of federal investigators - because those types of transactions can be potentially considered money laundering.
For those who believe that they've used like-kind exchange rules to defer taxable gains -you should look on your tax returns to see if you filed the form 8824, which is where like kind exchanges are actually reported. That kind of goes back to the over reporting issue I was talking about before. I think that if you didn't report the actual trades that you're taking like-kind treatment for in past years, I don't know that you've actually taken like-kind treatment to be frank with you. I think, objectively, that might be viewed as just not reporting certain transactions.
You want to make sure that you address these issues sooner rather than later.
1099-K forms can be misleading - to the recipient and, potentially, the auditor. [32:40]
Alex: A 1099-K is actually a merchant processing third party information returns. And it really is typically associated with people who have credit card sales - so it's going to reflect a gross amount and typically on a monthly basis.
It shows the gross amount and what I've seen too is that sometimes transfers actually get caught into that amount as well. So it's not even just gross sales or purchases - it may have other information. So the 1099-K can be really inflated. That's why reconciling that against accounting records is really, really important because that is one of those issues that I think could lead to an exam.
To those who think crypto isn't beholden to tax laws: you are not correct. [37:38]
Alex: The current commissioner of the IRS is Charles Rettig, and he's a really well known practitioner in tax controversy. I know from people that know him well, that he's actually mentioned Reddit as one of the reasons that cryptocurrency enforcement is his number one enforcement priority right now.
The other person that I've seen speak a couple of times is the head of the IRS Criminal Investigation Unit. His name is Don Fort and every year he does a presentation at the National Tax Controversy and Criminal Tax Conference. The last two years cryptocurrency has been number two and number one on his list. As much as the IRS lacks the funding and the manpower that it needs for all the enforcement, the IRS CI are really, really good and they are probably best agency at dealing with cryptocurrency enforcement issues.
I really think that it's gaining steam and I think once the audits from the Coinbase summons kind of get going, I think it's going to be a really scrutinized area. I think the people who have gone through the cost and the pain of disclosing and amending returns and doing everything they can will be happy that they did in a couple of years. I think the other people are going to be sweating it out - I don't know if it's ever really worth it to be honest with you. I would recommend people do their best to get in compliance.
In summary: do your best to report your crypto gains and losses - and don't try to pull one over on the IRS. [42:36]
Alex: For people who have potential issues with past years, one is getting a consistent record and just amending your past years, so they're consistent.
For people who have the foreign account issues - let's just say, for example, had an account with Binance, and that Binance account was never reported. The IRS has disclosure programs that allow you to amend certain returns, pay the tax that you report and pay a penalty, which would be 5% of the the highest account value that you have.
For people who don't want to deal with this, I think taking evasive steps is the best way to get the worst result possible. One of the things that I learned very early in dealing with audits and tax compliance, is that you can always make things worse. I think you really just want to address it and resolve the issue while you have a good opportunity.
We may see criminal prosecution of some of the "big fish" tax evaders from the Coinbase summons. [46:43]
Alex: Yeah, and I think the two things that I'm fairly certain we're going to see: one is we're going to see the IRS use the information provided by Coinbase to start auditing the biggest account holders from that period. I think that's very likely.
Probably the second one that I would say is very likely is that you're going to see limited criminal prosecutions related to cryptocurrency. And these are going to be people that have some sort of level of notoriety, whether actually famous or maybe famous in the cryptocurrency world. That's typically how the IRS and Department of Justice uses limited resources to prosecute criminal tax tax crimes.
Alex is a great guy to reach out to with any audit-related questions, crypto or otherwise. [48:50]
Alex: You can go to my website: www.kugelmanlaw.com. You can email me at [email protected]. I have clients all over the country, international clients. If you need any sort of help, whether that's representing you, or at least doing the nitty gritty audit investigation, we're always willing to talk to people and help them out as best we can.

If you enjoyed our podcast, be sure to check back frequently for more great discussions about a range of topics in the crypto space. If you have any questions for Alex Kugelman, or want to schedule a consultation with him, he can be reached via his website www.kugelmanlaw.com, or via email at [email protected].
If you would like to request a topic for an interview, or have any questions related to this podcast, be sure to reach out to us at [email protected].
submitted by Sal-BitcoinTax to bitcointaxes [link] [comments]

Bitcoin & IRS Auditing - A Podcast Discussion

I recently interviewed Alex Kugelman, a tax controversy lawyer - I asked him about IRS audits in relation to crypto trading. Below is a link to the podcast interview itself, as well as a summary I wrote up. Thought this would be a good place to post (let me know if I'm wrong about that).
BitcoinTaxes Podcast Link

Highlights:
IRS audits are a real possibility for anyone who has traded cryptocurrencies. Our guest today is Alex Kugelman, a tax controversy lawyer with an abundance of knowledge concerning cryptocurrency audits. He's here to share his expertise on IRS cryptocurrency audits, including risk reduction strategies as well as enforcement predictions and misconceptions.
Alex Kugelman specializes in IRS audits. His experience includes four years of Federal government court experience at the U.S. Tax Court and a U.S. District Court. [00:40]
Alex: I'm an attorney out in California. I clerked for a US District Court judge and as well as the United States Tax Court. I've been in private practice exclusively doing tax controversy work for the past five years or so. I kind of got involved with crypto towards the end of 2016. I tended to represent clients mainly with compliance & disclosure issues with respect to cryptocurrency. I just really like it. Really interesting area.
The Coinbase summons in 2018 played a major role in Alex's interest in crypto audits. [01:19]
Alex: What started me into the crypto space was when the IRS first issued summons for Coinbase. We started getting some interesting calls regarding that. And at that time I thought to myself, this might be an interesting area. So I started following the actual summons enforcement proceeding at the District Court here in San Francisco - from there kind of worked with people under different types of compliance, including international disclosures. Now we're starting to see some of the first cryptocurrency audits come through.
First, let's get a brief rundown of how IRS audits work. [02:00]
Alex: It is important to understand the IRS as an administrative agency and all different layers of it. So when it comes to an audit the term that the IRS uses is an examination and there's three basic levels.
The first is a correspondence exam. That's where you get a letter that says, dear taxpayer, so-and-so reported that you had $100 of interest income that wasn't on your tax return - we're going to increase your tax. If you want to challenge that, you can. And that's basically termed an under reporter notice. That's probably not going to be a cryptocurrency audit if you get that notice.
The next one is an office exam. That is someone in the local IRS office sending you a letter that says, we have selected a certain tax return for audit and we're going to look at these issues. We'd like you to call us to schedule an appointment. That's going to be usually a tax compliance officer that is doing that.
The third and probably the most serious level of exam is a field examination. That's also going to be a local IRS representative, typically a revenue agent. There, the revenue agent may come to your work or ask come to your work or business to kind of conduct the audit.
All three of those are going to start the same: a letter that's sent to you at your most recent address provided to the IRS.
Cryptocurrency audits follow a similar protocol. [05:40]
Alex: I think it's likely that most crypto audits are going to start with one of two things happening. One is that there is information from the Coinbase summons that is inconsistent with what was on a taxpayer's tax return. I think for someone who's involved with that issue, they're going to have a good sense of that one because they should've gotten an email notice from Coinbase.
Or two, the audit notice is going to identify older tax years - 2013, 2014 or 2015 because those are the years that the information related to.
Another reason I think people will get audited is going to be because information on the return is incomplete, in the sense that the taxpayer or the cryptocurrency owner reports some transactions, without enough detail to figure out the actual cost basis.
Does reporting your data in an aggregated fashion increase your chances of being audited? [06:45]
Alex: I mean one - to the extent that there's going to be a lot of taxpayers - a lot of people use TurboTax, right? If that's the way TurboTax is preparing all of those returns, it would seem to me you're kind of in a herd of people like that. And at least it's consistent with what a lot of people are doing. The second part of that is going to be at least those people who have prepare the returns in that manner, they're going to, or should have, the underlying data. So even if it's an aggregate reporting of each asset class as opposed to each individual trade, if there ever were questions then you're going to have your CSV files, you're going to have your Bitcoin.tax exports, you're going to have all the information that you need to back that up.
Alex is an advocate of over-reporting your information to the IRS. [09:30]
Alex: I'm a big proponent of over-reporting - and I don't mean paying too much tax. I just mean including too much information. Because at some point there's kind of two ways that your returned can be flagged: a computer flags the return for some reason or there's a special unit or a person who actually flags it. At the end of the day, a human being will be looking at that return and deciding whether it actually is going to go all the way through to an audit. I want them to completely understand what's being reported, why it's been reported, and if there's too much information, that's fine - it's less likely that someone's going to have more questions.
A crypto audit is very likely to be a field exam - and it's important to hire a good rep. [11:00]
Alex: It's very likely going to be a field exam, which means you're going to have a revenue agent - and those are kind of the best of the best auditors for an IRS audit. And remember - an IRS audit is a civil matter. It is not criminal at this point. Again, it's unlikely that it will become criminal. It is, however, the highest level of audit you're going to get.
If you're going to hire a representative, which you have every right to do, you should contact that person, let them know what's going on and probably have them interface with the auditor. You should receive, as part of the opening notice or letter, the information document request - which is identifying what things to bring for the auditor. Also, it'll tip to what topics might be important. For example the typical things you're going to see will be bank statements, financial or asset account statements, which I view as requesting exchange statements or exchange CSV files. Any documents that show the cost basis for your cryptocurrency trades.
Audits are more art than science. [13:35]
Alex: The auditor has a fair amount of power. So if you play real hardball - that's not going to prevent the auditor from expanding to other years. So when you get that audit notice ,and let's say that you're going to deal with this yourself, the first thing you want to kind of figure out is what are the areas that I wouldn't want to go into, and what are the areas that I don't have good records? That will help guide the way to respond or what information to pull together.
The reality is, and let's just be honest here - for most people reporting cryptocurrency gains, they have all of the information. The IRS does not have much. They might have some records from Coinbase, but it's not as if they have a treasure trove of third party data.
The burden is really going to be, in every audit, on the taxpayer to prove their tax return is correct.
It's difficult to say how lenient the IRS will be regarding past years. [15:35]
Alex: I think the way that I would look at it is that maybe the standard of of records required to really substantiate older years might be a little bit lower for older years as opposed to now because it's different now. There's a lot better information provided by some of the exchanges. There's a lot more software out there to help you, especially for people who are newer to crypto. You should have access to all your bank records. You should still have a lot of emails, reflecting on-ramping off-ramping, or other purchases. You should be able to kind of pull this all together.
I can understand when we have clients who come in and are early adopters and they're missing chunks of information. So I do think that in those types of circumstances, yes, I think there would be a little bit of leniency. But I don't think if you're asking, hey, I reported my gains in 2017 but I never really did it 14, 15 or 16 - I don't think that's going to be viewed very favorably.
It is possible to substantiate your data without all of your records. [19:00]
Alex: I think the first thing is, I mean, outside of cryptocurrency and just generally in audits, how many people have complete records to support everything on their tax return from three years ago? Right? It's just not the reality.
The best source of information in a lot of these cryptocurrency clients are the clients themselves. They kind of know what they did and they can remember. There's some who take good notes and other people don't, but as you go through and ask people: what exchanges have you've been on, what type of coins, if you bought any ICOs, have you ever sold for actual US cash, and have you ever bought goods or services? As you talk through things people tend to recall what happened. We use that information and we cross check that against bank statements, as well as CSV files, to pick out what those transactions look like.
Most people have some sort of records, at least reflecting the transfer in and the transfer back out of that exchange. So you can use historical data and historical pricing information to essentially estimate what that transaction would have been. And then what we do is we provide a written statement summary of what we're doing and why we're doing it.
The other big one that we see all the time - and anybody listening to this, please hear this, do not trade for your friends on your exchange accounts - because that type of commingling causes such major problems. Essentially you are walking into those taxable gains just because you're allowing someone access to the exchange to make sales.
If you need representation for an audit, get representation. [23:00]
Alex: My general rule is that I think experienced representatives are really important. I probably would not hire the CPA that prepared my return unless they were: one, experienced with being a representative in audits. And two, you felt comfortable that they weren't going to go in there with a conflict of interest. But I do think if you're worried about going into audit - hiring a skilled, and experienced rep is really, really important.
If they're experienced with this, they should understand the appropriate ethical standards and go in there and essentially help resolve portions of the audit and move it to a resolution that you can deal with.
Taxpayers actually have a lot of leverage in an audit. And that sounds crazy to say, but there is a lot of truth to that. And so as you're kind of working through the audit itself, you want to make sure that you're not just agreeing to something to be done with it. You're not agreeing to something just because you think that you'll get in more trouble or get a worse result otherwise.
There are important risk-reduction strategies you can utilize to avoid a crypto audit. [28:15]
Alex: The first thing that you really want to do, is just assess; for those of you that are really worried about an audit - just assess what it is you've actually done over the years. When did you start trading, what exchanges were you on, do you have records that reflect on-ramping and off-ramping? And that's going to be your bank account statements. Do you know where you've been, what exchanges you've been on?
For foreign exchanges, there may not be as much of that AML & KYC compliance, but I really believe that you do have reporting requirements under FATCA for FBAR and something called an 8938, which if you listen to the podcast with Tyson, he kind of explains what that is. But it's basically if you have ownership of a foreign bank account or asset, you have certain reporting requirements, whether you've had income or not.
You want to make sure you at least track when you've actually exchanged crypto for cash or vice versa. That's partly because that's one of those areas where when people can get in trouble with some sort of federal investigators - because those types of transactions can be potentially considered money laundering.
For those who believe that they've used like-kind exchange rules to defer taxable gains -you should look on your tax returns to see if you filed the form 8824, which is where like kind exchanges are actually reported. That kind of goes back to the over reporting issue I was talking about before. I think that if you didn't report the actual trades that you're taking like-kind treatment for in past years, I don't know that you've actually taken like-kind treatment to be frank with you. I think, objectively, that might be viewed as just not reporting certain transactions.
You want to make sure that you address these issues sooner rather than later.
1099-K forms can be misleading - to the recipient and, potentially, the auditor. [32:40]
Alex: A 1099-K is actually a merchant processing third party information returns. And it really is typically associated with people who have credit card sales - so it's going to reflect a gross amount and typically on a monthly basis.
It shows the gross amount and what I've seen too is that sometimes transfers actually get caught into that amount as well. So it's not even just gross sales or purchases - it may have other information. So the 1099-K can be really inflated. That's why reconciling that against accounting records is really, really important because that is one of those issues that I think could lead to an exam.
To those who think crypto isn't beholden to tax laws: you are not correct. [37:38]
Alex: The current commissioner of the IRS is Charles Rettig, and he's a really well known practitioner in tax controversy. I know from people that know him well, that he's actually mentioned Reddit as one of the reasons that cryptocurrency enforcement is his number one enforcement priority right now.
The other person that I've seen speak a couple of times is the head of the IRS Criminal Investigation Unit. His name is Don Fort and every year he does a presentation at the National Tax Controversy and Criminal Tax Conference. The last two years cryptocurrency has been number two and number one on his list. As much as the IRS lacks the funding and the manpower that it needs for all the enforcement, the IRS CI are really, really good and they are probably best agency at dealing with cryptocurrency enforcement issues.
I really think that it's gaining steam and I think once the audits from the Coinbase summons kind of get going, I think it's going to be a really scrutinized area. I think the people who have gone through the cost and the pain of disclosing and amending returns and doing everything they can will be happy that they did in a couple of years. I think the other people are going to be sweating it out - I don't know if it's ever really worth it to be honest with you. I would recommend people do their best to get in compliance.
In summary: do your best to report your crypto gains and losses - and don't try to pull one over on the IRS. [42:36]
Alex: For people who have potential issues with past years, one is getting a consistent record and just amending your past years, so they're consistent.
For people who have the foreign account issues - let's just say, for example, had an account with Binance, and that Binance account was never reported. The IRS has disclosure programs that allow you to amend certain returns, pay the tax that you report and pay a penalty, which would be 5% of the the highest account value that you have.
For people who don't want to deal with this, I think taking evasive steps is the best way to get the worst result possible. One of the things that I learned very early in dealing with audits and tax compliance, is that you can always make things worse. I think you really just want to address it and resolve the issue while you have a good opportunity.
We may see criminal prosecution of some of the "big fish" tax evaders from the Coinbase summons. [46:43]
Alex: Yeah, and I think the two things that I'm fairly certain we're going to see: one is we're going to see the IRS use the information provided by Coinbase to start auditing the biggest account holders from that period. I think that's very likely.
Probably the second one that I would say is very likely is that you're going to see limited criminal prosecutions related to cryptocurrency. And these are going to be people that have some sort of level of notoriety, whether actually famous or maybe famous in the cryptocurrency world. That's typically how the IRS and Department of Justice uses limited resources to prosecute criminal tax tax crimes.
Alex is a great guy to reach out to with any audit-related questions, crypto or otherwise. [48:50]
Alex: You can go to my website: www.kugelmanlaw.com. You can email me at [email protected]. I have clients all over the country, international clients. If you need any sort of help, whether that's representing you, or at least doing the nitty gritty audit investigation, we're always willing to talk to people and help them out as best we can.
---
If you would like to request a topic for an interview, or have any questions related to this podcast, you can reach out to me at [email protected].
submitted by Sal-BitcoinTax to btc [link] [comments]

FCoin Sharing Session Q&A — 07/23/2018

FCoin Founder Mr. Zhang Jian Addressed the Most Controversial Questions about FCoin since its Launch.
(July 23, 2018) FCoin held an online media Q&A session on Monday with its founder, Mr. Zhang Jian replying the most controversial questions on FCoin, a digital asset trading platform that was launched barely two months ago but has already become the most talked about phenomenon in the industry.
These controversial topics include FCoin’s efforts in token-reforming, the general concept of token economy, the fluctuation of FCoin price and response to the recent negative comments and accusations made by Binance on FCoin. A complete Q&A could be found as below:
Q1: We have seen many new announcements issued by FCoin with lots of new concepts. Could you first elaborate on FCandy? Why do you start to return in FCandy instead of FT, what’s the strategy behind it? What do you think is the true value of FCandy and what is your expected price for it?
Answer1: Regarding FCandy, we mentioned before in our announcement that it is an assert pool in which all kinds of assets could be placed in. We actually have placed lots of FTs during the first round. What do we mean by “placing”, basically it’s equivalent to donation and what is its true value? I think it could benefit our entire community through our donation. It is clearly stated in our announcement that any digital assets could be placed in FCandy and FCandy will be issued according to a certain proportion, but to guarantee the real asset value of FCandy. However, the assets placed in FCandy pool no longer belong to those who place the assets but to the entire community which makes FCandy vitally different from the other asset pools or various products. We designed a lot of ways to give out FCandy to our community members. It doesn’t mean that we no longer return in FT, 100% transaction fee is still returned in FT, this is our set rule which will never be changed. Which are some of the situations where we will not return in FT? Anything but “Trans-fee mining” mechanism. Because all the other mechanism is simply activities. Like our referral programs, incentive programs and etc. These are community activities with the aim to motivate the communities and bring more benefits, so these are the responsibility that FCandy should assume. I do not need to elaborate on the value of FCandy. I encourage everyone to see the front page of FCandy in which the amount of assets are clearly indicated. In the future, a large number of project participators will place their assets into this pool. We will also initiate voting system and community members could vote on whether we should sell part of the assets and these sold asserts will belong to FCandy holders, similar to the concept as dividends. But this will be a plan in the far future, not to be realized recently. Regarding the price of FCandy, I cannot comment on this. Based on the asset pool, everyone can gauge its reasonable price range.
Q2: What’s the latest listing rules? Is the new FOne trading zone transferring the token-listing right to the certified organizations? What’s the FCoin’s standard in selecting a certified organization? What’s the difference in the responsibilities and rights of these certified organizations compared to the ones in the Stock market?
Answer 2: Some adjustments were made on the listing rules with the launch of FOne. What made us launch FOne? Actually, we have encountered some problems when doing GPM, i.e there is a long list of projects waiting to be listed which is far beyond the capacity of the platform itself. Most importantly, we encounter the problems of verifying its authenticity. Hence, in order to make the entire mechanism work better, the essence of FOne is to let FCoin certified organizations to screen quality projects. Every certified organization has its own zone that has the right to list tokens and set its own listing rules. We provide service and technical support to various certified organizations. This relationship will guarantee a healthy growth of FOne. As for the rights and responsibilities, these are vitally important as well. Since these trading zones are opened by certified organizations, they have the responsibility to guarantee the quality of its listing projects. FCoin retains the rights to review and verify the performance of these certified organizations and details will be released soon. We really hope that good projects could stand out from this innovative mechanism and this will help motivate the entire industry. Regarding the selection standards for the certified organizations, these are mainly the mainstream token fund in the industry. Easy to get in but difficult to get out. First of all, these organizations need to have certain reputation in the industry. We welcome them to join us as our certified organizations in the beginning but more strict standards will be launched later. In addition, we will also have control over the organization list and eliminate those who are not up to our standards. We will soon announce the list of our second batch of certified organizations. The entire crypto industry is not yet mature and it’s currently a mix of everything. We are trying to introduce step by step some mature models to break through the mess. We are on our way to a revolutionary future
Q3: Is FOne the trial zone of token-reforming for FCoin? What is the difference about listing rules and circulation mechanism between Main Board A & B? As a mature product or company, what are the necessary steps for token-reforming and what are the biggest difficulties and challenges during the process? Are there any successful cases on token-reforming before? To a mature community, the compliance and legitimacy of listing can be a sensitive topic, is this going to be a key obstacle for the improvement of token-reforming trial zone? How will you solve this problem? In your opinion, which industries will make progress first during Coin-reforming trial zone?
Answer 3: The answer to the first question is NO. It has clearly been stated in the announcement that token-reforming is not made by FOne. Token-reforming is in main Board C, right now we have main Board A & B; the mature blockchain projects are in main board A, and emerging projects in board B, while the token-reforming projects are in board C. FOne is the successor of the previous Innovation Zone on GPM with the aim to support startup projects. After the upgrading of the overall positioning, GPM will focus on supporting the long-term projects while the startup projects will move to FOne. FOne will transfer the listing power to certified organizations in order to attract more quality projects to get in in the early stage. As a matter of fact, token-reforming is not all that easy. We have just released an announcement on which a new project was applying to get listed on our main board C, of course there are many other projects doing so as well. We have to consider the project in a comprehensive manner, from the preparation, the qualification of the projects to the business model or the maturity of the business Situations(applications). There might be two ways for reforming, such as QOS, the one project that we have been observing and providing the technical support. It has applied to get listed on our main board C. QOS is a typical blockchain project with mature business applications and massive users, along with a solid preparation process. This kind of project is well prepared, that’s why it can enter the final verification and listing schedule stage very soon; as for some other projects, although they come from a mature company, they do not really understand the token economy, the listing process might take longer. In my opinion, we have to go through an important process to acknowledge the token economy, token and coin; Second, about how reforming can make a great influence, and connect its previous- designed products with business module, aligned them well and solve its previous conflicts of interest. That’s why reforming is quite difficult and challenging. To sum up I think there are two biggest difficulties for reform. First is the whole design of token economy model — it means completely different for different products or companies, even with different approaches , thus, quite challenging. Second is the overall interest arrangement. A mature product must face mature interest arrangement, including shareholder structure, existing resources and how to solve these problems. It requires of massive communication as well as knowledge and determinations to get all these problems solved. These two are the most difficulties we currently face. For the sensitive question about compliance, I think all innovations will face a certain kind of risk, the more subversive the innovation, the higher risk it may face, especially like token economy, as its target and core is to change the market relationships. It’s quite subversive and will meet lots of challenges never that have never been met before. Why people like to talk about the first person who eat the crab? If there is no challenges, people would just repeat doing things they have done like a hundred times before, but it’s not the case here. If you are willing to seize the opportunity of the new economy, you need to take risks and accept the challenges. I think it’s a trend for the future and it’s unstoppable. In addition, I don’t think it’s a key obstacle for a product or a company that are determined to explore in this direction. What I mentioned before are quite essential, firstly it has to be in the internet industry and financial industry, or the combination of these two, such as the finance technology. There are lots of opportunities within, so are in some other industries.
Q4: There are several institutions dabbling in Blockchain+Insurance model, however, this model has still not been widely applied. Therefore, will this new Insurance community FInsur just a publicity stunt? Is “Insurance is mining “ just some benefits to attract users, or is it a mutual insurance based on blockchain technology? How does this model work?
Answer 4: FInsur for sure is not publicity stunt. A lot of people doubted about FCoin when it first came out, is FCoin a publicity stunt? With the concept of “Trans-fee mining” being widely spread and recently became a trend, it is obvious that we are not a publicity stunt, otherwise it won’t show such a strong vitality. Therefore, the concept of “insurance is mining “is quite simple. I would like to repeat it again, it’s similar to FCoin essentially. What is the concept of “Trans-fee mining”? Clients and users of an exchange are the traders. As the core concept of token economy, I think the main targets of business service, is like the relationship between an exchange and its users, which is in opposite relationship. We hope that after the reforms by token economy, it can be an untied relationship, even for the sake of common interest. So let the traders be the shareholders of FCoin, that is the essence of “Trans-fee mining”. Likewise, let the insurance applicant become the shareholder of an insurance company, or at least make their interest consistent rather than conflicting (money-making vs money-losing), which is a long-term target for us, and also my initial intention. It’s hard to image vehicles on road without insurances. That’s why there is compulsory insurance like Compulsory Traffic Insurance and commercial insurance that we must pay. It also applies to ourown digital currencies & assets. Therefore, I don’t think FInsur is a publicity stunt, but will be a benchmark for innovation in this industry and bring in massive benefits.
Q5: How about the operation of stabilization funds launched by FCoin? Is this stabilization funds really effective on regulating the dramatic market fluctuation and keeping the price of FT stable?
Answer 5: We have just wrapped up a one-month life cycle of the Stabilization fund Phase I and it is already in the process of balancing, not running any more. I am not the one who has proposed the concept of stabilization fund. I have repeatedly said that for an emerging trading product or an emerging market, especially when it has great innovations, nobody knows how to price it correctly in the early stage. It will also suffer from all kinds of malicious attacks and various rumors under such a complicated market situation. Hence, the market fluctuations will be very dramatic in the short term. The stabilization fund was launched in this context. Can this fund really keep the market volatility stable? This mainly depends on the factors of market volatility and various other situations. The stabilization fund will certainly ease the dramatic fluctuations of the market. But will the price stop to fluctuate with the funds? Or will the price not rise and fall sharply? This is uncertain. Since the market price, especially short-term market behavior, is very complicated and thus very difficult to predict. So the fund can only ease the dramatic fluctuations. As some unstable factors are gradually eliminated, or as the platform matures, these unstable factors will be disappearing slowly. Say, there are huge trust issues in the earlier stages, however, as the platform continues to grow, these problems will be reduced accordingly. Now everyone feels that FCoin is a very reliable platform which has been working so hard to make the platform, the community and the whole ecosystem bigger. In this case, those difficulties that we encounter before won’t exist anymore. Our risk control in the early stage might not be that sharp, leading to the existence of some malicious short-selling and other hostile situations. With the gradual improvement and maturity of our backend monitoring system, I believe there will be less risks in this aspect. Therefore, the whole market will gradually become more healthy in the long run.
Q6: You mentioned that the explosive effect of FCoin is a victory for the “tokenomics.” Can you share with us your understanding of the “tokenomics”? What is its strong driving force? What distinguishes it from the traditional business model and incentive mechanism?
Answer 6: It is very hard for me to talk about my understanding of the tokenomics, since this topic is too big. But I can talk about some key points, such as what I just mentioned, “What is the strong driving force?” I just mentioned that the distinguished difference between the structure of the tokenomics design and the traditional business model and incentive mechanism is the reversal of the production relationship. How to reverse? As mentioned earlier, producers and consumers are a pair of relationships. The common form of the Internet is the relationship between the platform and its user. In fact, they are all similar. That is, the relationship between a service provider and a client, or the relationship between a product provider and a consumer. Under the traditional business model, this group of relationships must be antagonistic at the level of interests. Because the mission of a commercial organization is to make money. They earn money from consumers or users. Under the traditional business model, you buy any goods, or you consume any service, the only relationship between you and the service provider and the producer of the goods is that you pay him. Let us think about the reason why this commercial system can exist. It is because these users are paying so that the commercial system can exist. In other words, these consumers and users are the basis for the existence of this commercial system. But if this commercial system develops bigger, then it has nothing to do with the users which are the basis and premise of the existence of this commercial system. I think this is the problem of the traditional business model, and it will definitely face a big upgrade in the future. The big upgrade has started slowly now, and I think its solution is tokenomics. FCoin is such a practice of tokenomics. We found that as FCoin grows and matures, traders gradually become shareholders of FCoin. The trader not only becomes a user of the platform, but also contributes fees and transactions. At the same time, he can also get 100% return of the exchange’s “shares” FT. The returned FT can enjoy FCoin’s income distribution forever, and it is 80% of the income distribution. This is unimaginable in the traditional capital market. Let me give you an example. In the traditional capital market, basically everyone does not pay attention to dividends because they are so little. There are too many companies that don’t pay dividends all along the year. Everyone can check the dividends of the traditional market which are so little and nobody concerns about the dividends. The timeliness of dividends distribution is also executed poorly. As the price of crypto currency fluctuates dramatically, users do not feel the power of our model in the early stages. With the maturity of FCoin, they feel that our model of income distribution is extremely revolutionary. Firstly, its proportion of dividends distribution is so large. How about the traditional listed companies? They distribute neither revenues nor profits. It is possible that the companies might need to keep enough cash for development, so they do not distribute dividends. FCoin directly distribute income to users, the vast majority 80% of our revenues on a daily basis. This is an absolutely revolutionary concept in the traditional capital market. Because the entire concept of the so-called financial system and finance of the crypto industry has not yet been established, and it is still relatively chaotic, the crypto industry is still at a very early stage for the pricing and cognitions. The creation and power of FCoin and FT takes time to show, as I always say “let the bullets fly for a while.” The same is true for FInsur. I hope that in the future, various new models based on the creation of the tokenomics or the transformation of the original model will have the power to make our customers consistent with our interests . I have to say one more thing. I think that this power is actually much underestimated. Because once the production relationship changes, once the service provider and the client are in the same interests, the whole decision-making process, the starting point and mentality of decision-making, all community-based architecture and all future mechanism design and gameplay will change. I am appreciating this in a more in-depth sense now. Therefore, the future of the tokenomics will definitely show great vitality. It will have a huge impact on the original business model, commercial design and corporate system. This is my judgment on the future.
Q7: Many exchanges are allegedly using bots wash trading and their users are mostly zombie users who have no practical effect. Could you please tell us about how would FCoin gradually increase the number of real users so as to make the platform grow in a more healthy manner?
Answer 7: Time will prove everything. We are constantly upgrading and innovating. Everything we do is to make our various mechanism work in a more robust way. The number of FCoin users and daily transactions continue to grow and FCoin is definitely on the right track. Many people are still accusing us of hiring bots to do wash trading. As our platform matures, there is more Quantitative transaction going on which provides real benefits for our community members. If you pay attention to our recent changes on the platform, you could definitely feel it.
Q8: What has FCoin revolutionized the industry in terms of the rules, both the unspoken rules and the apparent rules?
Answer 8: First, I will talk about the unspoken rules. The biggest difference between FCoin and all the other exchanges is that when you open our front page, you could clearly see that almost all our data are transparent and as we continue to develop our products and enhance users experiences, the level of our transparency will only be elevated accordingly. This is something you cannot imagine in traditional industries. No company, in our times, would announce its revenue because they do not need to distribute their profits to their users. But we are different, we cannot fake our data. If you are a black box i.e a company that does not need to disclose data to the public, you actually have the opportunity to fake data. I’ve said many time before that it was ridiculous to accuse FCoin of bots wash trading. We simply cannot fake any data as otherwise we will not have enough funds to be distributed to our users. All our data is real and transparent which brings the first revolutionary change of rules in the industry. About the apparent rules. Many users said that FCoin still made a lot of money after they saw the platform had used all kinds of algorithms. But what I want to point out is that why not take a look at other exchanges that make huge amount of money but still give back nothing to its users? On our side, FCoin distribute 80% of daily revenues to its users and for quite a long period of time, even 100%. After the launch of FCandy, we spend a majority of platform’s daily revenue to buy back FTs which later on are distributed to its community members. I hope you can look further with FCoin. FT certainly has its market cap, but so long as you hold FTs even for just a day, you will be able to get your daily dividend from that day. That’s just the beginning of how FCoin is going to revolutionize this industry. Stay tuned!
Q9: Mr Zhang, you always say that the market will eventually see the value of FT, but the price of FT has been dropping drastically non-stop. Why is there a vast difference between what you see in the value of FT and what the market see it?
Answer 9: FCoin has just been launched for less than 2 months. It’s way too early to talk about the value of a new born thing. For instance, a lot of people asked me about Bitcoin many years ago, at a time when the price of Bitcoin kept dropping from 8,000 RMB to 900RMB. I told them that the value of Bitcoin needed to be evaluated in a 4-year full circle, not just for a few months. If you use a 4-year full circle to draw the candlestick of Bitcoin, what will you see? The short-term price is unpredictable and is being influenced by many factors in the short term, like the market supply, all kinds of different judgments, disapprovals of new things in the early days and even rumors, but in the long run, the price is surely determined by its value. I have some data in FCoin’s front page, our dynamic P/E ratio is 0.56 as of today. You can go to any A-share market to check their P/E ratio, especially those innovative internet companies or high tech companies and judge by yourself. As I mentioned earlier, we have upgraded our Incentive programs, it is now returned with FCandy instead of FT. Because FCandy is highly linked with any activities that benefit the entire community members. This will be our future principles. In the meantime, transaction fee is still returned 100% as in FT and this is some ething, I have reinforced many times, that we won’t change. Why? Because this is our basic model, everything that FCoin is based on which is to make traders as the shareholders of FCoin.
Q10: Mr. Zhang, my questions might come across as a bit of sharp. Two days ago, FCoin announced on its website that the price of FT has been fluctuating drastically and later on, some media reported that the price was being manipulated by a professional team called “Ghost in the Dark” and implied that it had something to do with Binance. Miss He Yi from Binance accused FCoin of paying for media to write negative articles about Binance. Do you have any comments on this? In addition, Mr. Zhao Chang Peng (CZ) from Binance remarked during a media Q&A session in Seoul that “FCoin won’t last long as it is constantly selling new tokens but the price of them keep on dropping.” Do you have anything to say to his remarks?
Answer 10: Your so called sharp questions are actually not sharp at all. First of all, we announced officially on our website that the price of FT encountered abnormal fluctuations because we had found malicious attack from a team that was deliberately short-selling FT and we have proof of it. That’s why some immediate action has been taken to limit the sales order in 3 trading pairs which effectively destroy the botting programming designed by that professional team. As for the media report, I do not want to comment on it, but they did report the same to us through their investigations. About CZ’s comments? Actions speak louder than words. Why does he keep on talking about me if I am not threatening him? This is weird, let the fact speak for itself.
Q11: FCoin has been launched for only 2 months but developed really rapidly with trading volumes topping the chart while it took Binance 3 months to become №1 with real trading volumes. FCoin is very strong with ecosystem, but users’ experience is really bad. No trading depth and the webpage get stuck all the time. The launched app version (still in beta) is even worse than a third-party app while it takes forever to launch an official version. My question is, as a digital trading platform, shouldn’t Trading experiences be respected and focused?
Answer 11: Your question is quite sharp. Trading, in many industries are indeed not well respected, but for FCoin, we have been trying our best to perfect it. There is a process for everything to grow in maturity. If it is something great, it is bound to be less mature in the early stage. More patience please and we welcome everyone to supervise and support us.
[More to the question] — My question of trading not being respected has another sense to it in terms of users’ experience. This should always be put in the priority but with FCoin, it is not the case. It seems that there are always be put in the priority but with FCoin, it is not the case. It seems that there are always things far more important than users’ experience but shouldn’t it be the core for any exchanges?
Answer 11: Apologies for my misunderstanding of part of your question. As for the priority, if you have to choose between platform’s security/stability and users’ experience, which one would you choose? We are still in the initial stage and have been developing really fast. Therefore, we have to contribute tremendously to the security and stability of the platform. The core of a mature exchange is not only about users’ experience. As we all know, we cannot really see an exchange model with the traditional capital market. When you are trading in stock exchanges, it’s the brokers that you see, not the exchanges. That’s why I think currently for us the main focus is still to improve our core strength and in the meantime, to perfect the trading experiences along the way.
submitted by FCoinOfficial to FCoin_Official [link] [comments]

The One Exchange that Clogged Ethereum Network--Why Crypto Investors Think It Will Topple Binance

The One Exchange that Clogged Ethereum Network--Why Crypto Investors Think It Will Topple Binance
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Hongcai Guo was a beef merchant from Shanxi, China. Through bitcoin mining and blockchain angel investments, he became an icon in the Chinese crypto circle. Now Guo resides far from China, in his Silicon Valley villa with three Rolls-Royce cars, but he never stays away from controversy.
Lately, the FCoin Exchange achieved an astounding trade volume merely fifteen days after launch--passing that of OKEx, Binance, and Huobi combined. Accusations of fake transaction arose. As a staunch advocate for FCoin [FT], Guo is taking flak from doubters. So I called him.
Bianca: You just launched two crypto tokens yourself. What for?
Guo: Acquiring users. Right now, the biggest cost in our circle is the cost of traffic and user acquisition. And the spending is enormous. CoinMarketCap has the highest traffic. To book an ad at CoinMarketCap can cost you 400,000 RMB. Still, ICOs are willing to do it because CoinMarketCap's traffic is five times that of Binance. The same reason why Binance created "Binance Info." People need to look up unfamiliar coins, and those inquiries contribute to the traffic. I launched new tokens for the same purpose: to gain traction.
Bianca: Speaking of traction, everyone is talking about FCoin’s "trans-fee mining" model. You stood up for FCoin in this discussion. How did you learn about it and why supporting it?
Guo: I was late to the party. By then its value had gone up a hundred times. I was on vacation in Canada. I studied it a bit during my vacation and thought this would disrupt the cryptocurrency exchanges. FCoin is different from everything else. For other platforms, you don't get to decide what coins to be listed and what don't. The barrier to entry is high. But aren't ICOs supposed to topple IPOs due to a lower barrier? As established exchanges grow bigger, it isn't the case anymore. ICO projects pay more than half of the fund raised to the exchange platform, or to the voting institutions. This need to change.
FCoin’s mining model is actually very simple, you mine at a low cost and reach a high trade volume easily. It attracts a large number of users, the users in turn attract media attention. Everyone wants to know how it is able to reach such a high volume. So it's trending everywhere, in media, in group chats. When everyone talks about it, people will sign up. That’s how they grow their users.
Sure there are fake transactions, yet the user growth is real. The users are real. What do these users bring to the table? New ICO projects. It is an open platform where every project can get listed. Thus, each project brings its own followers, who become new users. Suppose one thousand projects are waiting in line--in fact, Binance's waitlist is twice as long. Of these two thousand projects, not many will end up on Binance, at most one or two. Those big exchanges have to be selective which coins get listed. The big players do not want to tarnish their brands. However, FCoin does not operate on such a mechanism. An ICO may seem promising or shady, all of them can get listed. It's up to the people within the community to decide for themselves. This model opens the door for easy entry. In the end, if each project brings 10,000 users, then a thousand will bring the platform 10 million users.
Bianca: So it's listed for free, for everyone? Say I plan to launch a Bianca Coin, I just submit it, and it will be on?
Guo: Yeah, everyone can submit their project directly. The fundraising starts on the next day. Then, any user is allowed to invest using FCoin Tokens [FT]. Top 20 projects with the most FTs raised get listed first. As user assets turn into FTs, potential adopters will be more confident in pumping money into their FCoin account and will wait for the next trade day. In this way, all ICOs become FCoin shareholders, motivating them to bring in more people. At the same time, more FTs are mined through transactions. Project founders also play the role of the market makers here. Once you hold FTs, you get bonuses every day. Let's be honest, most projects nowadays are scams. They will never see the day of realization. So those project founders would, secretively, rather hold FTs, and changed other tokens into FTs. Once they do that, they will have the incentives to promote FCoin even more. That's how it works.
Bianca: Are you mining FTs now?
Guo: Yes. I asked my team to generate a large number of transactions every day through program trading, thereby mining FTs. At first, the referral reward was 20%. Then it dropped to 10%. Now the reward is canceled, but we have not stopped mining because the price of FT is still going up and we are making money.
Bianca: Some say they can emulate FCoin’s model. Binance claimed they could team up with 1,000 exchanges and achieve the same result. Others say FTs will soon be exhausted, and the current "trans-fee mining" is not sustainable. What are your thoughts?
Guo: The FCoin community is evolving at a staggering pace because participants keep coming up with solutions. Imitators can't keep up with them. One big challenge for the imitators is they cannot handle such a trading volume--their system will simply collapse. We attempted a test run ourselves, and soon we gave up. Because our trading system is not that robust. The fact that FCoin is running with larger concurrent transactions than Binance, shows they have a reliable infrastructure. At least my team doesn't have the technology. So we chose to corroborate FCoin rather than fight it.
Besides, the Internet follows the winner-takes-all logic. Once a platform is established, it will gain the most traction for free. Copycats may appear. Some users may even try it out, but they will leave just as quickly. No loyalty to talk about. They will soon return to FCoin, because of its trade volume and market depth. Binance can recruit 1,000 exchanges and still won't compete with FCoin.
submitted by ox3tv to u/ox3tv [link] [comments]

Atomic Swap with USDT: Swap Online solution in two hundred lines of code

Atomic Swap with USDT: Swap Online solution in two hundred lines of code
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On the eve of the release on the mainnet, the team of the cross-chain wallet Swap Online is publishing a research study and the code of the atomic swapusing USDT.

USD Tether — the equivalent of the dollar on Omni Layer

The solution described above with the protocol “over” the Bitcoin network gave life to one of the most controversial cryptocurrency projects of the last two years — Tether. Tether (symbol Tether — ₮, ticker — USDT) is a hybrid cryptocurrency with a rate binding to one US dollar. Moreover, according to the assurances of Tether Limited, the issuer of the given tokens, the “binding” is to be understood literally, as each purchased token of USDT corresponds to one US dollar available at the disposal of the company.
If we take the three largest exchanges based on their daily turnover of transactions at the time of writing (Binance, OKEx and HuObi), and then track the five most popular trading pairs for each, we will encounter USDT in 13 out of 15 cases.

USDT — the token with the largest capitalization in the world.

All this generates great community interest in faster, safer and cheaper solutions for exchanging Tether into other currencies. Obviously, such a solution could be atomic swaps, which are instant, decentralized cross-chain exchanges. The Komodo laboratory, the main headliners of this technology, who presented it in the autumn of 2017, reported on the successful exchange of KMD to USDT carried out on the BarterDEX platform, Komodo’s own exchanger.
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At the same time, according to our data, the developers of Komodo made a swap on the ERC20-a version of Tether, which is only available in 3% of cases. Approximately 60 million USDT from global turnover can thus be exchanged using this method, which, obviously, cannot be considered as a solution to the problem. Striking examples of imperfections of existing solutions can be found even on Etherscan.
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This fall, the team of Swap Online is ready to present an atomic swap with Tether. And here’s how we did it.

How Omni conducts transactions

To carry out the Omni transaction, a user needs to create a regular Bitcoin transaction-transfer of 546 satoshi (minimum) with an additional output storing payload using the OP_RETURN op-code. An example of such a transaction. The payload is a mandatory part of any Omni transaction, as it is a sequence of bytes containing all the necessary information about the transaction.

Let us consider what information is stored in the payload itself

transaction marker — 4 bytes, the mandatory part of any Omni payload is always equal to 0x6f6d6e69 — ASCII code omni. If the first 4 bytes of the sequence are not equal to 0x6f6d6e69, then this sequence is not a payload of Omni.
version — 2 bytes, an analog version of the transaction in Bitcoin. For the described algorithm to work, version 0 is used, or that is the same as 0x0000.
transaction type — 2 bytes, transaction type, for an atomic swap it is sufficient to use only “Simple send” transactions, as simple send is the usual sending of omni currency from its address to the address of the recipient. Simple send corresponds to the transaction type code 0, that is, the next 2 bytes 0x0000. Other possible types of transactions exist in Omni.
token identifier — 4 bytes, identifier of the currency used. For example TetherUS has the identifier 31 or 0x0000001f. All tokens created by the Omni protocol at this time can be seen via the following link.
amount — 8 bytes, for a transaction of type Simple send, this is the amount of the sent currency.
As you can see, payload does not store the addresses of senders and recipients of the transactions, these addresses are determined by the Bitcoin transaction in which the payload output was detected. By scanning inputs, the Omni protocol determines who makes the transfer by finding the output of the corresponding address from among the inputs of the transaction p2pkh.
Thus, for a transfer from Alice to Bob of, for example, 50,000,000 TetherUS, we need to create a Bitcoin transaction where one of the inputs will refer to the p2pkh output corresponding to the Alice address. It is also important that this entry be the first in this transaction (the index of this entry in the received transaction would be is minimal or none at all). One of the outputs of this transaction should be the output of p2pkh to Bob’s address, and another output must have been one of the outputs with the following payload:
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Example 1
Example 2

Atomic Swap on Omni Layer

Suppose that Alice and Bob are willing to make an inter-blockchain exchange of cryptocurrencies. Alice wants to exchange the units of any Omni currency, for example TetherUS (the given currency has the currency identifier # 31 in the Mainnet, then in the text we will only talk about this currency of the Omni protocol, since it is the most popular at the moment, but the algorithm below will work for any currency of the Omni protocol as well) for b units of a cryptocurrency working on another blockchain. (Omni works on top of the Bitcoin blockchain, of course, according to the algorithm below it is possible to exchange TetherUS for Bitcoins, but due to their work on one and the same blockchain, this exchange can be done in a different, more efficient way).

Glossary

A — blockchain of Bitcoin.
B — the blockchain of the cryptocurrency for which TetherUS is being exchanged.
a — the sum of TetherUS, which Alice wants to exchange.
b — the sum of the cryptocurrency of the adjoining blockchain B, to which Alice wants to exchange her a TetherUS.

Creating a Transaction

1) Bob generates a random value secret.
2) Bob calculates the secretHash by performing the following operation: secretHash = RIPEMD160 (secret)
3) Bob creates and sends an htlc transaction sealed by secretHash
4) Bob sends Alice a secretHash value, and a hash of the hrlc transaction he created in the previous paragraph in order for Alice to make sure that the correct htlc transaction is actually present in the B blockchain.
5) Alice received from Bob the secretHash and hash of the htlc-transaction Bob created, and is convinced that such a transaction is really present in the B blockchain, and that this is indeed a htlc-transaction sealed by the secretHash value.
6) using the received secretHash, Alice creates the following transaction and translates it into the Bitcoin blockchain:
https://preview.redd.it/oxri5a7gp9g11.png?width=735&format=png&auto=webp&s=14e88db4fc4d1743406939343d42e33352b05782
Let us call such a transaction financing_tx. In fact, it is almost an ordinary Bitcoin htlc transaction that is used in atomic swap with the only difference that in the amount field, 546 satoshi is the minimum number of Bitcoins that can be at the output of the transaction, below this value, Bitcoin counts the transaction as dust and does not conduct it.
7) Alice creates a transaction according to the following scheme:
https://preview.redd.it/awz9uzuhp9g11.png?width=1000&format=png&auto=webp&s=9ca79e77ca6aff631a39ae95dfaa70aa06d695ec
Let us call this transaction redeem_tx. Alice creates such a transaction with two inputs: the first is the input referencing the output of funding_tx, which contains the htlc script. Alice does not sign this script, that is, the SigScript field remains completely empty. The second input is the input referring to any unspent exits of Alice, the main condition is that at this output stage there are enough Bitcoins to pay the transaction fee, and this entry is signed by Alice with her private key with the signature type SIGHASH_ALL (that is, she signs the entire transaction except for SigScript fields on the inputs transaction, which makes this transaction immutable. The outputs of the same transaction are the elementary Simple Send and a TetherUS from Alice to Bob (details of what Simple Send, payload is and how it works can be found in another section).
8) Alice sends Bob the redeem_tx created in the previous paragraph and the one she signed herself.
9) Bob got the redeem_tx sent by Alice, checks it, just looks through the inputs and outputs, making sure that this is really a transaction that Alice should have created using the real algorithm. After that, Bob signs the transaction with his private key and provides the secret value in the SigScript of the corresponding redeem_tx entry.
10) Bob sends the signed redeem_tx transaction to the blockchain, thereby transferring the TetherUS currency from Alice to himself. Note — before carrying out this step, we still need to check that Alice’s address has the necessary amount of TetherUS.
11) Alice looks through blockchain A and gets the value secret and uses it in the B blockchain to transfer the funds using the htlc transaction Bob created in point 3. The exchange ends here.
Stating the obvious: naturally the timelock value used by Bob when creating the htlc-transaction must be significantly longer than the timelock that Alice uses, since her htlc transaction should be spent earlier than the htlc created by Bob. This is necessary so that Bob cannot manage to spend both htlc.

Conclusion

Thus, connecting Omni Layer to Swap Online allows users to cover transactions.

Full research you may find in our Github

C++ source code for creating TX
C++ source code for redeem TX

Swap.Online Essential Links

Website: https://testnet.swap.online GitHub: https://github.com/swaponline Email: [email protected] Telegram: https://t.me/swaponline Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Swaponline Twitter: https://twitter.com/SwapOnlineTeam Wiki: https://wiki.swap.online/ Bitcointalk: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=4636633
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