New Changes Add Value for SALT Supporters

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After identifying and evaluating new ways to add value for SALT Membership Unit (“SALT”) supporters, we’re excited to announce that we’re 1. now accepting SALT as collateral for a cash or stablecoin loan and 2. switching from a staking model to a redemption model.

How will this work when the price of SALT varies across exchanges?

Since Binance and Bittrex delisted SALT in February and May respectively, we’ve been searching for a valid third-party pricing source by which to value SALT. We define valid exchange pricing as the trading price on an unmanipulated market where the trading volume is high enough that a sufficient number of buyers and sellers can establish a price at which to transact. We determined that Binance and Bittrex were the only two exchanges to offer a sufficient market for SALT to provide validity in the previous year. To mitigate this change in pricing validity, we have taken the 60-day moving average from Coinmarketcap.com, using the 60 days prior to the delisting announcement by Bittrex. Using this pricing mechanism, we are recognizing a price of $0.15 per SALT on our platform. If, in the future, SALT is listed on an exchange with adequate trading volume, accessibility, and market depth to provide us with price validity, we will immediately recognize such third-party pricing.

What does this mean if I’ve already staked SALT to secure a loan?

If you currently have a loan with us and you staked SALT to get a reduced interest rate, your SALT will automatically be recognized as collateral in your collateral wallet and your interest rate will remain the same.

What else can I do with my SALT?

We are moving from a staking model to a redemption model. This means that while you can still use your SALT to secure a lower APR on your crypto-backed loan, the new redemption program will allow you to redeem your SALT rather than stake it. The reason we’ve switched to this new model is to offer you value for your SALT upfront. From now on, you can redeem your SALT to reduce your interest rate for lower monthly payments (go to saltlending.com for loan terms and options). The amount of SALT required to do so depends upon the size of your loan.

What if I don’t own SALT?

If you don’t own SALT, these changes will not impact you. Our goal with switching to a redemption model and adding SALT as a collateral type is to reward early supporters of SALT by offering them additional ways to use their SALT tokens the way they were intended to be used — to engage with our lending platform.

SALT Adds Newly Released PAX Gold as Collateral Option in First Regulated Gold-backed Blockchain Asset

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We’re proud to announce that beginning October 1, 2019, we will offer the just released PAX Gold (PAXG) as our latest collateral type for clients seeking to use their digital assets as collateral to secure a USD loan. PAX Gold, an asset-backed digital token on the Ethereum blockchain is Paxos’ first blockchain asset to represent precious metal; its value is tied directly to the spot price of gold quoted by the London gold market.

By tokenizing gold, Paxos is bringing the benefits of physical gold ownership to the cryptocurrency community. PAX Gold is built as an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain network. As a digital representation of physical gold, PAX Gold has the potential to increase the overall liquidity of gold by connecting traditional markets with cryptocurrency markets.

“Precious metals are ideal for tokenization. Gold, as an example, has well-established institutional physical custody and a broad base of investors familiar with the asset class,” said Jenny Shaver, Chief Operating Officer at SALT. “Gold has traditionally been held as a hedge against inversely correlated assets like stocks and fiat currency, so it provides digital token holders with familiar asset diversification options. By offering PAX Gold as our newest collateral type, we’re adding value for our customers by combining the benefits of gold investing with easy access to funds via crypto-backed lending.”

With the addition of PAXG, SALT customers will not only have a wider variety of collateral options, but by using PAXG as their primary collateral, they will be able to maintain a more stable Loan-to-Value Ratio for the duration of their loan.

Founded in 2012, Paxos is a regulated financial institution with a suite of products including the most traded alternative USD-backed stablecoin, the PAX Standard. By integrating PAX Gold as the first widely available physical asset available on a blockchain, we’re taking a step toward realizing our financial vision of a blockchain-based system where the value of traditional assets can be unlocked and used in manifold ways.

“PAX Gold is the first regulated digital asset that allows holders to own the underlying physical gold,” said Scott Simpson, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Paxos. “Unlike fiat currencies, gold has intrinsic value and Paxos allows users to physically redeem their PAX Gold tokens for actual gold. With PAX Gold, people can more easily access this market and with SALT, customers can easily leverage gold like never before.”

“We as a community have been discussing the tokenization of commodities for quite a few years, but Paxos has been the first to make it a reality by representing gold on the blockchain. This is a big step forward for the crypto industry. This brings a new level of transparency to traditional investors by enabling them to see their physical gold represented on the Ethereum blockchain, meaning they can immediately verify ownership,” said Rob Odell VP of Product and Marketing for SALT. “SALT is proud to be a part of this advancement by offering PAXG as a collateral option for crypto-backed loans. Not only does it invite traditional investors to become SALT customers, but it will enable us to be more flexible and creative with our LTV options and loan terms. In fact, if we see significant demand for this product, I think SALT is prepared to re-evaluate our interest rate calculator and open the doors to LTV options as high as 85%.”

Gold has historically been a popular store of value, with the price of Gold increasing by an average of 10% per year since President Nixon took the US Dollar off the gold standard in 1971. With a worldwide market capitalization above $3 trillion, gold is physically scarce, widely traded and offers high liquidity — three key factors that make it not only a viable asset to lend against, but a salient collateral choice for us. Given the current instability in the bond and currency markets, gold’s long-term returns are more comparable to stocks and higher than bonds or commodities.

With the addition of PAX Gold, we now offer loans collateralized by Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether, Dash, DOGE, BCH, PAX Standard, USDC, and USDT.

Rewriting the Rules

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This week Shannon Grinnell, host of the “Speaking of Crypto” podcast spoke with our COO Jenny Shaver for the first episode of her new series, “Women in Crypto.” The series will air each Wednesday and will highlight women in the crypto space who are making waves and challenging the status quo in a predominantly male industry.

In this episode Jenny and Shannon discuss Jenny’s experience at American Express, her thoughts on Libra, SALT’s ability to collateralize the Dash associated with a Dash masternode, and what it’s like to be a woman in a C-level role at a crypto startup. She describes how crypto is a mashup of two traditionally male-dominated cultures — Wall Street and Silicon Valley — and how she feels empowered by our opportunity to be radical — not only in terms of the technology we build, but in who builds it.

“We have the opportunity to break down old ways of thinking and being. That’s where it feels empowering to me. I feel a responsibility as a woman in the space to rewrite the rules, rewrite the narrative and the assumptions around women thriving — not just in the financial or tech industries but in a highly volatile, competitive, complex space where you traditionally don’t see women in these high-risk places. But here we are and we’re thriving.”

Jenny also shares the best piece of advice she’s ever received and how she applies it every day to her current role at SALT: “Don’t ever sit in the back, be present. When you’re at a meeting, sit at the table and make sure you speak. Make sure you’re heard and that you have a voice.”

Listen to the full interview below to learn more about Jenny’s experience and perspective on the future of crypto.

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https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/soc079-jenny-shaver-coo-at-salt-lending-on-crypto-backed/id1384228965?i=1000447481690

Introducing “Worth Your SALT,” Discussions with Industry Leaders that are Worth Your Time

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Innovative industries are driven by innovative minds. There’s an array of knowledge within the blockchain ecosystem and here at SALT, we believe highlighting different understandings and perspectives can only facilitate growth within our industry. With this in mind, we’re excited to release our newest video series “Worth Your SALT,” a platform dedicated to interviewing industry leaders and trailblazers currently shaping the way we think about technology. Hosted by SALT Co-Founder Caleb Slade, these segments feature thought-provoking discussions that uncover the stories behind these crypto pioneers and explores their vision for solving problems that aren’t yet fully understood.

In the first episode of “Worth Your SALT” we had the chance to sit down with Shira Frank, Co-Founder of Maiden — an industry-backed lab for universal blockchain education and research — to discuss the importance of humanizing blockchain. Throughout the discussion, Shira tells us about her unique background that has led her to focus on the intersection of ethics/awareness and technology. She leaves us pondering the complex relationship humans have with technology: we constantly think about the ways we’ve shaped and evolved technology, but have we ever truly thought about how it’s shaping and evolving us?

Watch the full-length version to hear more from Shira Frank on the social complexities of advancing technologies.

We’ll be releasing new episodes of “Worth Your SALT” in the coming weeks to highlight perspectives from various areas of the blockchain/crypto industry. Upcoming episodes will feature thought leaders including David Chaum, Jeff Berwick, and Paul Puey, among others.

Missed an episode? You can find the short and full-length versions here. New episodes can also be found on our Twitter and YouTube channels.

SALT, Dash and Staking: SALT’s Rob Odell Interviewed by Dash News

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Recently we announced the support for Dash as collateral for loans, a feature we were excited to release given the demand from you along with the cryptocurrency’s potential to further financial inclusion around the globe.

Our VP of Product and Marketing, Rob Odell, recently spoke with Dash News about the platform, noting that $100,000 worth of Dash could secure a loan up to $70,000 — perfect for situations where you require cash but are reluctant to sell your cryptocurrency.

Rob qualifies the addition of Dash as “one of the most innovative inclusions that we’ve worked on since the launch of the platform.” We’ve integrated it in such a way that, while custody of the Dash itself is delegated to our platform, you retain the masternode rights so you can continue to earn payouts and voting rights from staking. With comprehensive insurance and the benefit of not commingling assets, this further ensures that SALT can provide you with highly secure storage options — something that may be more convenient and less risky than taking custody into your own hands.

This ability for you to maintain your masternode status, while utilizing your assets as collateral is an industry-first, and Rob dives into this further with Joël.

Listen to the full interview for more details and follow these step-by-step instructions to custody or borrow against your Dash with us and still run your masternode.

SALT Partners with NODE40 to Offer Fiat Loans for Dash Masternode Owners

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As part of our commitment to supporting the Dash community, we’re excited to announce our partnership with NODE40, the blockchain masternode hosting and monitoring provider. The partnership will provide expanded loan options for DASH masternode owners in tandem with the Dash community’s first masternode hosting service.

Given its long-term viability, its numerous use cases, and its level of adoption, Dash is an appealing collateral form for SALT’s platform. In our April 2019 announcement, we affirmed our commitment to support the Dash community and its mission, noting our respect for Dash’s two-tier network that uses masternodes to maintain the viability of its blockchain.

“Our development team has made a technological breakthrough and has advanced our mission by unlocking value and liquidity in cryptocurrency assets through collateralizing the Dash connected to masternodes,” said Rob Odell, VP of Product and Marketing at SALT. “Dash has quickly become our second most popular collateral option behind bitcoin and the community has reacted positively with a high volume of loan applications. We’re excited to work with NODE40 to increase our support for the Dash community and provide innovative solutions and services for masternode holders to get the most out of their assets.”

A Dash masternode serves to expedite transactions and scale the network by relaying them over a second-tier network. While Bitcoin’s second layer is an off-chain solution to scale, Dash runs an on-chain second layer using masternode operators who are incentivized by the network like miners in bitcoin. In March 2015, NODE40 was the first company to provide network infrastructure to host masternodes. According to dash.org, each masternode pays out approximately six Dash (currently just over $1000 USD) per month in mining rewards.

“Our companies’ shared dedication to customer service naturally brought us together when a mutual client wanted to take out a fiat loan using their masternode’s Dash. What attracted us to SALT was the caution with which things are done; they have a solid reputation of doing things by the books,” said Perry Woodin, Co-Founder and CEO of NODE40 and a Dash Trust Protector. “Having been a part of Dash from early on, we tend to do things conservatively, and that was important to us when evaluating how a loan is backed and if our customers would be protected in the case of an audit. With SALT we share the vision of being cutting edge while playing by the rules not only to protect ourselves, but to bring legitimacy to the industry.”

DASH holders must prove ownership of 1,000 DASH to obtain masternode status and have the right to vote on treasury proposals and receive recurring payouts. However, if at any point, the Dash is moved, the node will be brought offline and will downgrade immediately, stripping the node of its master status. With SALT’s new system, Dash holders can move their Dash to our platform and maintain their masternode status as well as their voting and payout rights, all while using the associated funds as collateral for a loan.

The key to this software integration comes from a recent Dash update, DIP3, which introduces pro registration transactions. Instead of referring to another transaction from the network to sign a message as proof, a “proreg tx” refers to an output produced by the transaction itself, which in turn acts as proof of ownership. Dash holders can now collateralize the Dash connected to their masternodes by parking their funds in our insured cold storage — the signature used to move those funds validates ownership, allowing users to continue participating in the network.

If you’re interested in using your Dash to secure cash loan with us, visit https://saltlending.com/dash/ to get started.

What to Expect When the Value of Your Collateral is on the Decline

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Your collateral is what protects your loan. It’s why SALT doesn’t need to perform income checks or credit checks when issuing a loan. But cryptocurrencies are volatile, so what happens if the value of your collateral begins to fall? Declining collateral value negatively impacts your Loan-to Value-Ratio (LTV) — that is the amount of outstanding principal still owed on your loan divided by the value of your underlying collateral: Outstanding Principal / Value of Collateral. LTV is the key metric SALT uses to determine the health of a loan. The lower the LTV, the healthier the loan. If the value of your collateral goes up, your LTV goes down. If the value of your collateral goes down, your LTV goes up. It’s that simple.

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Choosing your Loan-to-Value (LTV)

When choosing your LTV, the most important consideration is your risk tolerance. We offer starting LTV options of 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, and 70%. If you go with a 30% LTV, you are choosing the safest level of overcollateralization, or cushion. With a 70% LTV, you won’t have to deposit as much crypto to begin with, but you’ll have the least amount of cushion. The higher the starting LTV, the higher the risk. Choose the LTV option that’s right for you.

What can you expect from us when your collateral declines in value and your LTV begins to rise? Lots of notifications.

If your collateral continues to go down in value, your LTV will steadily climb. As your LTV crosses certain critical thresholds (75%, 83%, 88%, and 90.91% as of the time of this writing) SALT’s robust monitoring and notification technology kicks in to help protect your loan.

  • At 75%, we give you a heads up, letting you know to monitor your loan more closely given your collateral is declining in value.
  • At 83%, we inform you that things are not looking so good, and you may want to consider paying back some of the loan or depositing extra collateral.
  • At 88%, we issue a final warning to let you know that if you don’t pay back some of the loan or deposit more collateral, you run a high risk of having your assets liquidated.
  • At 90.91%, SALT is contractually obligated to liquidate a portion of your collateral in order to prevent the lender from losing their investment.

After all, lenders wouldn’t be willing to lend the money in the first place if SALT couldn’t guarantee its safety.

How you respond to a rising LTV and warning notifications is up to you. Here are the current options:

  1. Pay back a portion of the loan — You can make a payment in USD via wire or ACH, or you can make a payment using a stablecoin instead. SALT currently accepts PAX, USDC and TUSD. With this option, you are choosing to lower your LTV by paying down the principal on your loan.
  2. Deposit more collateral — You can quickly and easily deposit additional collateral (it can be the same collateral your loan is backed by or a different collateral type that we offer). With this option, you are choosing to lower your LTV by increasing the total value of the underlying collateral.
  3. Do nothing — You can choose to ignore the warnings. If your collateral continues to decline in value, SALT may eventually be forced to liquidate a portion of your assets on the open market.

We’ve done the math to show you how each of these options impacts your assets, remaining principal, and required payment.

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Based on the above calculations, if you want to avoid any loss of assets, it’s best to respond as quickly as possible with options one or two. Otherwise, option three is available if that’s what you prefer. Either way it’s important to think through the options and know where you stand before your LTV crosses our liquidation threshold.

Keep tabs on your loan health from anywhere via the real-time LTV widget on your web dashboard or by logging into your account through our mobile app.

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It’s on us to monitor your loan health and keep you updated. It’s on you to take action (or not take action) when your collateral value is on the decline.

Crypto — Coming Into Its Own

By Jenny Shaver 

A look at indicators of industry maturity and assessing the right kind of investment risk.

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(This article is adapted from a keynote speech delivered at the April, 2019 Crypto Invest Summit.)

I often get asked, whether it’s by former colleagues, or people I meet at social events, or even my dad, “Why would people invest in crypto? It seems risky.”

Depending on your investment strategy, sure, it’s risky. But…it’s a different kind of risky than it was even two years ago.

So, what’s changed?

Crypto asset performance isn’t correlated to any other asset class. It doesn’t move with fiat inflation or commodities prices. It’s not tied to the performance of a company like a security. That inherently creates risk but also opportunity for significant gain. This is a risk that we as an industry weather and accept.

The perceived risk my dad is referencing has less to do with crypto asset volatility and more to do with the perception that the crypto industry reflects the lawless, undisciplined behavior and unbridled speculation akin to the caricature of the wild west.

This perception is inaccurate.

I was having a conversation with a colleague about this very topic and he said,

“Our industry isn’t in a state of chaos like The Wild West. Our industry is more analogous to The Space Race.”

John F. Kennedy said of The Space Race, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

Blockchain technology attempts to solve previously unsolvable problems. The complexity of the technology and the nascent nature of the regulatory framework, requires new and emerging expertise. It requires risk takers to set new precedents.

This pursuit has resulted in a pouring in of talent and capital which have given rise to increasing competition and meaningful industry advances. We are seeing this manifest via several indicators of industry maturity.

Broader Adoption

Despite the crypto winter, or bear market, or whatever we want to call 2018, we saw a nearly doubling of the amount of individuals who hold crypto assets. A survey published by Forbes suggests that crypto holders are skewing older and more affluent than previously thought.

UTXO analysis conducted by Delphi Digital suggests that most crypto holders who held a position longer than five years largely sold off their holdings, partly contributing to the downturn, but clearing the way for new investors seeking engagement with new types of products.

From an institutional perspective, traditional financial services and crypto financial services are converging. We are seeing validation of crypto assets in traditional companies incorporating crypto services or blockchain infrastructure.

Institutional adoption also extends to partnerships and service providers for crypto companies. Just in the past 12 months, I have seen an increased willingness of vendors and service providers to work with crypto companies. Companies who were saying “no” to providing services for us 12 months ago, are now actively trying to work with us.

Compliance

US-based crypto companies have made significant strides to create risk and compliance programs that are comparable to traditional financial institutions.

This includes a robust KYC/AML program, customer data protection standards, SOC compliance, compliance monitoring of blockchain addresses, and dedicated resources to oversee compliance programs.

As our industry attempts to navigate its purpose of removing barriers for transferring value, even regulatory barriers, compliance programs at this stage of our industry maturity, are a necessary step for broader adoption and mitigation of regulatory risk.

Insurance

Insurance has been a hot topic as of late because it’s a relatively new advancement in our industry. But it’s meaningful.

The fact that insurance providers are willing to underwrite affordable insurance policies for crypto-specific operations is a strong indicator that we as an industry are demonstrating the safety of holding crypto assets.

I urge investors to ask critical questions about the specifics of insurance programs — the coverage amount, incidents covered, and the claims and payout process and timeline.

The good news is that as our industry continues to prove itself, the competition amongst insurance underwriters will increase, which, in turn, will drive down costs.

Market Data Integrity

Our industry is dealing with our own data integrity issues just like any other high volume, high velocity industry.

Recognizing these gaps and the dependence on reliable market data to drive participation, there has been a surge of data research companies dedicated to improving the quality of market data.

The recent incident of BitWise calling out CoinMarketCap for overstating trading volumes, is a great example of our industry’s maturity in this area.

This is significant not just because companies like BitWise are expending resources to conduct due diligence on our industry’s leading data providers, but also because of CoinMarketCap’s acceptance of accountability to address the issue and improve their product.

It demonstrates that we are holding ourselves to a higher standard, and that investors will have increasingly accurate sources of information to make informed decisions.

Response to Scalability Challenges

JPMorgan announced earlier this year that it is investing in its Quorum blockchain infrastructure to facilitate payments in a more efficient manner using its dollar-backed JPM Coin.

It’s currently being piloted with a few institutional clients but is promising to revolutionize their payment processing.

To realize this potential will require blockchains to dependably support concurrent transactions at a scale that is not yet possible, or at least not yet largely practiced and tested.

Our industry is investing significant resources to solve this problem, and promising solutions are surfacing.

A second layer protocol solution, Lightning Network, is perhaps the most exciting advancement in the race for scalability.

For crypto to deliver on its potential of revolutionizing the transfer of value on a global scale, it must rise to meet the challenges of scale.

We’re working on it.

More Sophisticated Investment Products

What I see as the most exciting indicator of market maturity is the increasing diversification of product offerings.

Interest-bearing accounts are seeing promising early performance, futures and options are now available on select exchanges, as is trading on margin, and ETFs are on the near-term horizon.

What I have seen is an industry response to the unique nature of crypto assets and the needs of crypto holders. In crypto lending, for example, simply offering a crypto-backed, USD loan, does not address all market uses cases.

If 2018 has taught us anything it’s that we need products that drive market engagement in both bear and bull markets.

Our industry now offers several ways for investors to participate — directly through investing in crypto assets, less directly by offering fiat capital pipelines for interest-based products, or indirectly through investing in the growth of crypto companies and projects.

These options are allowing for a wider breadth of investor participation with varying risk appetites.

I return to the question, “Is crypto investing risky?”

When we empower a company like Charles Schwab to manage our wealth portfolio, we know there is some risk in the investment strategy but we don’t worry about them losing or mismanaging our money.

There are enough responsible companies in the crypto industry that can provide the same amount of assurance about the handling of your crypto assets. I encourage investors to seek out reputable companies and ask tough questions about their operations due diligence. Watch how companies respond to industry incidents like a hack or key compromise event. Our industry is still young and we’re still learning our vulnerabilities. The good companies will have a disaster recovery procedure that cure customer losses.

We have seen what happens when more resources are deployed to our industry. The result is more talent, innovation, and increasing sophistication that results in better products and better opportunities for investors.

Everyone wins.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SALT Lending.

Considerations for Filing Taxes as a Crypto Holder in 2020

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors when filing your taxes.

While the tax deadline has been extended from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis, it’s still a good idea to file as soon as possible, especially for those taxpayers who are expecting a refund. For crypto holders, it’s important to note that for the first time ever, this year every tax-paying American will be getting quizzed explicitly on their crypto activity. Indeed, the 2020 season will mark the first time the following question appears right at the top of the 1040 tax form:

“At any time during 2019, did you receive, sell, send, exchange, or otherwise acquire any financial interest in any virtual currency?”

This year however, federal tax forms ask about your bitcoin and other cryptocurrency activities, the latest move to more directly specify details for cryptocurrencies. The IRS is focusing on those who may be underreporting their crypto transactions or not reporting them at all.

What does this new sentence in your tax form this year really mean, and how should it impact how you report crypto in your 2019 taxes? To help understand, we asked SALT experts, along with our partners and friends at Node40TaxBitBlox and Friedman LLP.

Know Your Cost Basis

The first thing to know is that one is taxed on profit — the key figure to find out is the gain number. The most recent set of guidance from the IRS was released in October 2019 and it included a few methods of “cost basis assignment” mentioned therein. For those who aren’t accountants, this means one of a few ways to track profits and losses. Know your cost basis and what the IRS deems taxable. Most importantly, know your “gain number.”

Cost basis means the price at which you initially acquired an asset. For example, if you hold one BTC today, which you previously purchased at $9,000, and the price today is $11,000, the cost basis is that acquisition price of $9,000. So, the unrealized gain number (without selling) and the realized gain number (if you were to sell) is the net between today’s price and the cost basis, meaning in this case $2,000.

Cost basis can also mean the fair market value of the asset on the date of acquisition. For example, you received one BTC from work as compensation for services on 1/1. The value of BTC on 1/1 is $9,000. Later when you sell one BTC at $11,000, the then fair market value of $9,000 would be the cost basis, and you would realize $2,000 gain. The fair market value can be determined using a reasonable method, such us prices on any third-party independent trading platforms, as long as the same method is applied consistently for all your crypto transactions.

Loan collateral does not count as a transaction

For SALT customers, it’s important to know that your crypto held as collateral for a cash or stablecoin loan does not count as a taxable transaction unless your collateral is liquidated; a liquidation is a taxable event. If your collateral increases in value during the course of your loan term, this does not count as a gain or taxable action unless the collateral is sold. According to Friedman LLP, should you have a business loan with SALT, take note that business interest is deductible and subject to limitations (generally 30% of adjusted taxable income if the business had more than $25 million gross receipts). While interest on personal loans is generally not deductible, it may be deductible if you are self-employed and you use the loan for your own business or if you are employed but you use the loan to make other investments that generate income (the loan then becomes a business loan or investment loan).

First-In-First-Out (FIFO)

First-In-First-Out (FIFO) is the default accounting method. Your cost (the price at which you purchase a crypto asset) is calculated at the initial purchase date. So, if you buy a Bitcoin in January, another in March, and sell one in June, the “cost” isn’t from March, but January. The first “in” is the first purchasing transaction. First “out” is the first one sold. With digital currency the date of purchase and sale are clear in the coins and tokens themselves, making reporting much easier.

The aforementioned guidance from the IRS clarifies how to calculate your gain number.

By way of example: assume you purchase one BTC on 1/1 for $10,000, one BTC on 2/1 for $15,000, and then sell one BTC on 3/1 for $12,500 — your taxable gain or loss using first-in-first-out is computed by taking $12,500 of proceeds less your cost basis of $10,000 (which comes from the earliest purchase of BTC). This results in a $2,500 taxable gain.

While FIFO is the default method, the IRS makes it clear that the Specific Identification method can also be used if a taxpayer can document unique digital identifiers such as a private or public key. The acceptance of specific identification is favorable for taxpayers, as it allows taxpayers to assign their highest cost basis lots first, which in return minimizes their tax liability.

More details on this specific topic can be found over at Taxbit’s blog here.

Be Careful Using 1099s from Exchanges

If you have been buying crypto through exchanges, the exchange may have sent you a 1099-K or 1099-B form. Even if you did not receive these documents, all the 1099 methods of calculating income are still valid for you. The exchange calculates and reports gross proceeds, meaning that it is on the taxpayer to provide information on the cost they paid to acquire said assets and reported in the capital gains section, otherwise known as IRS 8949.

Specifically, form 1099-K reports gross proceeds, which the IRS interprets as income. The number reported on form 1099-K is not counted as income however, as cryptocurrency trading carries cost basis and is to be reported in the capital gains and losses section of a taxpayer’s tax return. Form 1099-B reports cost basis when available and makes it easier for you as a taxpayer to complete your required IRS 8949. Some cryptocurrency exchanges may not send you anything at all. Regardless of which form you receive or don’t receive, your responsibility as a taxpayer is to use the information to complete your IRS 8949, which reports your capital gains and losses.

Verify the Data You Receive

The crypto industry is still relatively new and while the exchanges and trading technology may have some advanced reporting features built in, the institutions built around that technology are still new. With traditional securities, there is a clearinghouse, a broker, and well-established financial statements that make it easy to determine your taxes. With cryptocurrency, many of the exchanges are still in the process of refining external reporting standards. This means that, as a user, the level of completeness in reporting expected from NYSE cannot possibly be replicated by virtually any new institutions.

According to data by NODE40, the reports generated by cryptocurrency exchanges will be incorrect for about 80% of cryptocurrency traders. We can’t fault the exchanges because there is simply no way for them to determine the cost basis of the assets you’ve been moving around. For this reason, it’s important to consider using a third-party platform that can calculate the gains and losses on your cryptocurrency as you move it from exchange to exchange or wallet to wallet.

Conclusion: Educating Ourselves is Essential

Crypto accounting and tax reporting can be daunting and complex, which is why staying engaged with news and trends is essential to understanding the evolving landscape of crypto taxation. Especially in the U.S, the IRS is taking more steps to introduce greater guidance and clarity. But without proper education and trained professionals, navigating crypto tax can be tough.

Tax preparers and investors rely on 1099 forms in traditional markets — crypto is no different. Without it, the burden of responsibility shifts to the investor, requiring them to keep track of all of their crypto activity for the year. This includes tracking every crypto-related transaction, like fair market value based on the date of purchase or sale of assets.

All of this information is vital for preparers to determine cost basis and properly calculate gains and losses. Therein lies the primary challenge. Some crypto accounting and management platforms have emerged to solve this growing industry need for smarter solutions. Industry giants need reliable, accurate and smart tools.

Because crypto remains a new field and exchanges are widespread around the world, not all exchanges report in the same method. This is why the savvy users will double check the work of the exchange, a task for which there are now new tools available. These errors can have a massive tax impact, particularly when it comes to tracking the cost of acquisition of the asset over time. Luckily there are tools that exist that can provide traders and crypto entrepreneurs with intelligent support.

Taxes are a part of life. This year hundreds of millions of Americans will be reminded explicitly of the existence of digital assets — a good thing for the industry that will drive greater awareness and adoption of cryptoassets. If you’re already a crypto hodler or trader, diligence is key to successfully filing your 2019 taxes this year. Whether you use a third-party tool or rely solely on exchanges to track the movement of your assets, it’s crucial that you know your gain number and verify its accuracy, that you review the IRS guidelines, and that you use trusted sources to educate yourself on what to report and how to go about it.

SALT Adds DASH as Collateral and Offers a Way to Maintain Your Masternode

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We’re proud to announce that we now accept DASH as collateral.

Better yet, if you own DASH that’s being used for a masternode, we’ve also developed a way for you to maintain your masternode status, voting rights and payouts and still use it as loan collateral. To do so, follow these instructions before you deposit your DASH into your SALT collateral wallet.

Like other cryptocurrencies, Dash enables anyone, anywhere in the world to make quick, easy and cheap payments at any time without going through a central authority.

Given its long-term viability, its numerous use cases, and its level of adoption, Dash is an appealing collateral form for our platform. Aside from that, we chose Dash as our next collateral type for two primary reasons:

  1. We support the Dash community and its mission
  2. We respect Dash’s two-tier network and use of masternodes to maintain the health of their blockchain

The Dash Mission

In his interview with Cointelegraph, CEO of Dash Core Group Ryan Taylor notes that Dash offers “tremendous value to society,” particularly for people that live in areas with minimal financial freedom and poor quality financial systems: “I would love to see Dash first adopted in some of the poorest and most financially oppressed markets in the world, so that as Dash grows, we bring those people up with us.”

By providing increased financial freedom, secure technology, and irreversible, speedy transactions, Dash is increasing access for people to participate in the global economy regardless of where they’re based. We support this mission and recognize it as one of the most significant ways blockchain technology can change people’s lives — and the world — for the better.

The Dash Network and Masternode System

In a separate, more recent interview with Anthony Pompliano, Taylor explains the concept of masternodes and how unlike the Bitcoin protocol, which allocates 100% of the network’s revenue toward mining, the Dash protocol is designed such that the block reward is split into three parts: 45% of the revenue goes to miners and 45% goes to masternode operators who service the network. The remaining 10% goes to a proposal system where the proposals are voted on by the masternode operators and the highest ranking proposals pay out as part of a monthly budget. This two-tier infrastructure ensures that network participants are incentivized to “keep the network happy.” Masternode operators in particular have a vested interest in doing what’s best for the network to maintain its health.

In explaining the masternode system further, Taylor notes that you have to prove ownership of 1,000 DASH in order to obtain masternode status, though he makes it clear that “as soon as that money is moved, your node downgrades immediately.” While that’s true in most cases, we’ve developed a way for you to maintain your masternode status even after you move your Dash to the SALT platform.* With these step-by-step instructions, you can custody your Dash with us and still run your masternode.

For questions about taking out a Dash-backed loan or to custody your Dash with us, visit us at https://saltlending.com/ or call us at +1 720–897–3710.

  • Dash used as collateral for a loan with SALT may be liquidated, in whole or in part, according to the terms of your Loan Agreement. SALT is not responsible for maintenance of a masternode or any disruption to or downgrade of any masternode for any reason, which may result from a liquidation of loan collateral or any other applicable term or terms of your loan agreement.