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Cryptocurrency

Is The IRS Coming For Your Secret Crypto Stash?

Whether we like it or not, the IRS may be coming for our secret crypto stashes. According to a recently leaked internal training guide, in order to locate people’s secret cryptocurrency stashes, the IRS may start sending subpoenas to tech companies. 

In order to help protect yourself and your stash, we recommend you check out the full guide. Initiated by Laura Walter, a CPA, the guide showcases an assortment of tactics that the IRS will be using to track down and detect undisclosed cryptocurrency. Some of these tactics include obtaining bank records as well as app download history and activity.

Just last month, the slides were presented to the staffers of the IRS at an event at the World Bank in Washington D.C. It has also been noted that the IRS will be presenting the training guide to law enforcement agencies as well as other partners from countless countries around the world. 

This particular guide goes over the basic concepts and definitions surrounding the cryptocurrency world. It also outlines the tactics the agents will be using to track down hidden wallets. This includes social media monitoring as well as credit card statements, PayPal activity, bank statements, etc. 

For those who are concerned about protecting their crypto stash, it is important to be informed about the actions of the IRS and their planned tactics. Awareness is key. Check out the guide and protect your assets!

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Bitcoin

Bitcoin Is Skyrocketing As Investors Panic About Coronavirus

The cryptocurrency has soared as fears about the coronavirus outbreak send shock waves throughout global stock markets.
The price of one bitcoin (XBT) is now hovering around $9,300. Bitcoin is up nearly 10% this week and has gained 30% since the end of 2019. It’s the best start to the year for bitcoin since 2012.
Worries about the rapid spread of the coronavirus is one factor boosting bitcoin, an asset that often has gone up when investors are nervous. But it isn’t the only factor helping to push bitcoin higher.
“The recent bitcoin rally can be attributed to ongoing economic uncertainties,” said Shaun Djie, CEO of digital token company Digix in comments e-mailed to CNN Business.
Djie cited lingering worries about US-China trade relations, Brexit concerns and political tension between Japan and South Korea as factors that have boosted bitcoin prices. But the coronavirus is clearly the biggest catalyst as of late.
“The rise in bitcoin price correlates to the ongoing outbreak,” Djie said.
In that sense, bitcoin’s latest spike is similar to gold’s stellar run this year. The yellow metal has also surged this month and is now trading at a seven-year high.
“Is this peak bullishness for the stock market? Gold and bitcoin are up as investors don’t seem convinced about last year’s stock rally,” said Marija Veitmane, senior multi-asset strategist with State Street in an interview with CNN Business.
Veitmane added that bitcoin, as well as gold, is benefiting from the fact that interest rates are low (or in some cases, negative) following cuts by the Federal Reserve and many other central banks last year.
That has led to a decline in the US dollar versus other currencies over the past few months.

Weaker dollar is good for bitcoin

Bitcoin, gold and other cryptocurrencies and precious metals have historically done well when investors bet that the value of big government-backed currencies will fall.
“There is a new consensus building about dollar weakness,” Veitmane said. “Bitcoin and gold may continue to do well as safe haven investments.”
Djie agreed. “Gold and bitcoin have become prominent alternatives for retail investors looking to safeguard their wealth.”
Investors considering bitcoin as a long-term investment should probably think of bitcoin much like gold. It could be a small part of a portfolio but not something investors should go overboard with, especially given the volatility of the cryptocurrency.
After all, bitcoin prices are still more than 50%below the all-time high of nearly $20,000 that they hit in December 2017 — even though they’ve nearly tripled from a recent low of about $3,200 in December 2018.

Big Tech and Wall Street embracing crypto

Bitcoin investing has become more mainstream thanks to cryptocurrency initiatives by big tech companies like Square (SQ) and Facebook (FB).
“The backing from Square and Facebook are definitely very significant to the overall crypto industry as it validates distributed technologies and the overall digital assets and cryptocurrency space,” Djie said. “The embrace of crypto by these companies can allow mainstream users to enjoy the versatility and agility of the technology.”
The rise of futures trading for bitcoin on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) may also help validate bitcoin with larger mutual funds, hedge funds and pensions.
“Among the biggest contributors to the rally, as I see it, is the hope that 2020 could finally see institutional investors move into the digital field en masse, prompted by growing client demand and more attractive ways to get exposure than direct ownership of coins,” said Frank Holmes, CEO and chief investment officer of U.S. Global Investors (GROW), in a recent blog post.
But Holmes conceded that the Securities and Exchange Commission could provide the biggest boost for bitcoin if it ever approves a crypto-backed exchange-traded fund. The SEC has rejected numerous proposals so far.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that a bitcoin ETF is highly anticipated,” Holmes wrote.
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Cryptocurrency

“Ledger Secure” Wallet – Chrome Extension Scam [Update]

On January 2nd, 2020 the Bitcoin Enthusiast and Software Developer known as @WizardofAus sent out a Tweet warning people to uninstall and not to use the Chrome Browser Extension called “Ledger Secure”. This Tweet came after a fellow crypto trader of WizardofAus, @hackedzec got 600ZEC stolen from his crypto wallet by the author of the “Ledger Secure” browser extension.

The browser extension has since been reported and officially removed from the Chrome Web Store and the official Ledger Support Twitter account Tweeted a statement verifying that the extension was not legitimate and to uninstall it immediately. It is speculated that the extension developer “effectively phished by interposing between the user and the Ledger” as well as used a keylogger to print the victim’s security keys.

Note:

This scam does not affect your official Ledger wallet or devices, you should only be concerned if you installed the “Ledger Secure” browser extension and connected it to your official Ledger account.

If you have installed or used the “Ledger Secure” Chrome extension then contact Ledger Support immediately:

Contact Ledger Support Directly

 

Reminder:

It is important to NEVER trust or use an illegitimate 3rd party company, wallet or storage device to store or trade your cryptocurrency, and only store it on an official wallet or device that has been validated and tested by industry professionals. Also, be sure to check the vendor’s website and confirm that the URL is secure using HTTPS (Green PadLock).

 

“Always assume that every browser extension is malware and not secure.”

 

How to Stay Safe:

It is always more secure to use a completely separate computer or device to store and trade your cryptocurrency than you use for your general browsing and internet use. If you have to use the same device then make sure to be extra safe and diligent about not using unique usernames and passwords. The best plan of action is to always assume that every browser extension is malware and not secure. It is also important to never store your cryptocurrency on an open exchange, they have been hacked in the past and are sure to be jeopardized in the future.

Trusted Wallets:

Official Ledger Wallet (Safest & Holds the Most Crypto)

Exodus Wallet (Free Software Wallet)

Bitcoin.org (Official Bitcoin Project)

Trusted Exchanges:

Binance (World Wide Exchange)

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Bitcoin Regulation

IRS Coming For Your Crypto, Specific Crypto Question Added To 2019 Tax Forms

The IRS wants to know whether you traded cryptocurrency in 2019, a question it had never overtly asked taxpayers in the past.

In a new report on Monday covering fiscal 2019, the agency listed cryptocurrency and the gig economy as two key “emerging compliance areas that require attention” by the IRS. For crypto, that attention is taking the form of a new question on the 2019 Form 1040 (for additional income).

The question is at the very top of the form, and reads: “At any time during 2019, did you receive, sell, send, exchange or otherwise acquire any financial interest in any virtual currency?”

The IRS already had official guidance on cryptocurrency, first posted back in 2014: the agency classifies cryptocurrency as property, rather than as currency, and thus taxpayers would treat crypto selling as capital gains (or losses) and disclose it on Form 8949—if you choose.

In the past, the common attitude in crypto land toward disclosing crypto gains on your taxes was that there was little to gain from doing so—you’d risk an audit if you did, and would likely fly under the radar if you didn’t.

Now the IRS is getting more serious.

The phrasing of the question is also creating some confusion, since it mentions not just selling and receiving crypto, but also sending or exchanging it. That prompted some crypto folks on Twitter to wonder whether simply sending bitcoin from one digital wallet to another requires disclosure on your taxes. That answer is no. In an extensive FAQ about virtual currency transactions on its website, the IRS specifies, “If you transfer virtual currency from a wallet, address, or account belonging to you, to another wallet, address, or account that also belongs to you, then the transfer is a non-taxable event.”

The IRS, in its report this week, also disclosed that in 2019 it sent “educational letters” to more than 10,000 taxpayers “who may have failed to properly report virtual currency transactions.” And the IRS cautions: “Virtual currency, also called crypto currency, will remain an important focal point for the IRS in 2020.”

This article originally featured in Yahoo Finance.

 

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