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Testing the Tide | Monthly FIRE Portfolio Update - June 2020

We would rather be ruined than changed.
-W H Auden, The Age of Anxiety
This is my forty-third portfolio update. I complete this update monthly to check my progress against my goal.
Portfolio goal
My objective is to reach a portfolio of $2 180 000 by 1 July 2021. This would produce a real annual income of about $87 000 (in 2020 dollars).
This portfolio objective is based on an expected average real return of 3.99 per cent, or a nominal return of 6.49 per cent.
Portfolio summary
Vanguard Lifestrategy High Growth Fund – $726 306
Vanguard Lifestrategy Growth Fund – $42 118
Vanguard Lifestrategy Balanced Fund – $78 730
Vanguard Diversified Bonds Fund – $111 691
Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) – $201 745
Vanguard International Shares ETF (VGS) – $39 357
Betashares Australia 200 ETF (A200) – $231 269
Telstra shares (TLS) – $1 668
Insurance Australia Group shares (IAG) – $7 310
NIB Holdings shares (NHF) – $5 532
Gold ETF (GOLD.ASX) – $117 757
Secured physical gold – $18 913
Ratesetter (P2P lending) – $10 479
Bitcoin – $148 990
Raiz app (Aggressive portfolio) – $16 841
Spaceship Voyager app (Index portfolio) – $2 553
BrickX (P2P rental real estate) – $4 484
Total portfolio value: $1 765 743 (+$8 485 or 0.5%)
Asset allocation
Australian shares – 42.2% (2.8% under)
Global shares – 22.0%
Emerging markets shares – 2.3%
International small companies – 3.0%
Total international shares – 27.3% (2.7% under)
Total shares – 69.5% (5.5% under)
Total property securities – 0.3% (0.3% over)
Australian bonds – 4.7%
International bonds – 9.4%
Total bonds – 14.0% (1.0% under)
Gold – 7.7%
Bitcoin – 8.4%
Gold and alternatives – 16.2% (6.2% over)
Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio.
[Chart]
Comments
The overall portfolio increased slightly over the month. This has continued to move the portfolio beyond the lows seen in late March.
The modest portfolio growth of $8 000, or 0.5 per cent, maintains its value at around that achieved at the beginning of the year.
[Chart]
The limited growth this month largely reflects an increase in the value of my current equity holdings, in VAS and A200 and the Vanguard retail funds. This has outweighed a small decline in the value of Bitcoin and global shares. The value of the bond holdings also increased modestly, pushing them to their highest value since around early 2017.
[Chart]
There still appears to be an air of unreality around recent asset price increases and the broader economic context. Britain's Bank of England has on some indicators shown that the aftermath of the pandemic and lockdown represent the most challenging financial crisis in around 300 years. What is clear is that investor perceptions and fear around the coronavirus pandemic are a substantial ongoing force driving volatility in equity markets (pdf).
A somewhat optimistic view is provided here that the recovery could look more like the recovery from a natural disaster, rather than a traditional recession. Yet there are few certainties on offer. Negative oil prices, and effective offers by US equity investors to bail out Hertz creditors at no cost appear to be signs of a financial system under significant strains.
As this Reserve Bank article highlights, while some Australian households are well-placed to weather the storm ahead, the timing and severity of what lays ahead is an important unknown that will itself feed into changes in household wealth from here.
Investments this month have been exclusively in the Australian shares exchange-traded fund (VAS) using Selfwealth.* This has been to bring my actual asset allocation more closely in line with the target split between Australian and global shares.
A moving azimuth: falling spending continues
Monthly expenses on the credit card have continued their downward trajectory across the past month.
[Chart]
The rolling average of monthly credit card spending is now at its lowest point over the period of the journey. This is despite the end of lockdown, and a slow resumption of some more normal aspects of spending.
This has continued the brief period since April of the achievement of a notional and contingent kind of financial independence.
The below chart illustrates this temporary state, setting out the degree to which portfolio distributions cover estimated total expenses, measured month to month.
[Chart]
There are two sources of volatility underlying its movement. The first is the level of expenses, which can vary, and the second is the fact that it is based on financial year distributions, which are themselves volatile.
Importantly, the distributions over the last twelve months of this chart is only an estimate - and hence the next few weeks will affect the precision of this analysis across its last 12 observations.
Estimating 2019-20 financial year portfolio distributions
Since the beginning of the journey, this time of year usually has sense of waiting for events to unfold - in particular, finding out the level of half-year distributions to June.
These represent the bulk of distributions, usually averaging 60-65 per cent of total distributions received. They are an important and tangible signpost of progress on the financial independence journey.
This is no simple task, as distributions have varied in size considerably.
A part of this variation has been the important role of sometimes large and lumpy capital distributions - which have made up between 30 to 48 per cent of total distributions in recent years, and an average of around 15 per cent across the last two decades.
I have experimented with many different approaches, most of which have relied on averaging over multi-year periods to even out the 'peaks and troughs' of how market movements may have affected distributions. The main approaches have been:
Each of these have their particular simplifications, advantages and drawbacks.
Developing new navigation tools
Over the past month I have also developed more fully an alternate 'model' for estimating returns.
This simply derives a median value across a set of historical 'cents per unit' distribution data for June and December payouts for the Vanguard funds and exchange traded funds. These make up over 96 per cent of income producing portfolio assets.
In other words, this model essentially assumes that each Vanguard fund and ETF owned pays out the 'average' level of distributions this half-year, with the average being based on distribution records that typically go back between 5 to 10 years.
Mapping the distribution estimates
The chart below sets out the estimate produced by each approach for the June distributions that are to come.
[Chart]
Some observations on these findings can be made.
The lowest estimate is the 'adjusted GFC income' observation, which essentially assumes that the income for this period is as low as experienced by the equity and bond portfolio during the Global Financial Crisis. Just due to timing differences of the period observed, this seems to be a 'worst case' lower bound estimate, which I do not currently place significant weight on.
Similarly, at the highest end, the 'average distribution rate' approach simply assumes June distributions deliver a distribution equal to the median that the entire portfolio has delivered since 1999. With higher interest rates, and larger fixed income holdings across much of that time, this seems an objectively unlikely outcome.
Similarly, the delivery of exactly the income suggested by long-term averages measured across decades and even centuries would be a matter of chance, rather than the basis for rational expectations.
Central estimates of the line of position
This leaves the estimates towards the centre of the chart - estimates of between around $28 000 to $43 000 as representing the more likely range.
I attach less weight to the historical three-year average due to the high contribution of distributed capital gains over that period of growth, where at least across equities some capital losses are likely to be in greater presence.
My preferred central estimate is the model estimate (green) , as it is based in historical data directly from the investment vehicles rather than my own evolving portfolio. The data it is based on in some cases goes back to the Global Financial Crisis. This estimate is also quite close to the raw average of all the alternative approaches (red). It sits a little above the 'adjusted income' measure.
None of these estimates, it should be noted, contain any explicit adjustment for the earnings and dividend reductions or delays arising from COVID-19. They may, therefore represent a modest over-estimate for likely June distributions, to the extent that these effects are more negative than those experienced on average across the period of the underlying data.
These are difficult to estimate, but dividend reductions could easily be in the order of 20-30 per cent, plausibly lowering distributions to the $23 000 to $27 000 range. The recently announced forecast dividend for the Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) is, for example, the lowest in four years.
As seen from chart above, there is a wide band of estimates, which grow wider still should capital gains be unexpectedly distributed from the Vanguard retail funds. These have represented a source of considerable volatility. Given this, it may seem fruitless to seek to estimate these forthcoming distributions, compared to just waiting for them to arrive.
Yet this exercise helps by setting out reasoning and positions, before hindsight bias urgently arrives to inform me that I knew the right answer all along. It also potentially helps clearly 'reject' some models over time, if the predictions they make prove to be systematically incorrect.
Progress
Progress against the objective, and the additional measures I have reached is set out below.
Measure Portfolio All Assets
Portfolio objective – $2 180 000 (or $87 000 pa) 81.0% 109.4%
Credit card purchases – $71 000 pa 98.8% 133.5%
Total expenses – $89 000 pa 79.2% 106.9%
Summary
The current coronavirus conditions are affecting all aspects of the journey to financial independence - changing spending habits, leading to volatility in equity markets and sequencing risks, and perhaps dramatically altering the expected pattern of portfolio distributions.
Although history can provide some guidance, there is simply no definitive way to know whether any or all of these changes will be fundamental and permanent alterations, or simply data points on a post-natural disaster path to a different post-pandemic set of conditions. There is the temptation to fit past crises imperfectly into the modern picture, as this Of Dollars and Data post illustrates well.
Taking a longer 100 year view, this piece 'The Allegory of the Hawk and Serpent' is a reminder that our entire set of received truths about constructing a portfolio to survive for the long-term can be a product of a sample size of one - actual past history - and subject to recency bias.
This month has felt like one of quiet routines, muted events compared to the past few months, and waiting to understand more fully the shape of the new. Nonetheless, with each new investment, or week of lower expenditure than implied in my FI target, the nature of the journey is incrementally changing - beneath the surface.
Small milestones are being passed - such as over 40 per cent of my equity holdings being outside of the the Vanguard retail funds. Or these these retail funds - which once formed over 95 per cent of the portfolio - now making up less than half.
With a significant part of the financial independence journey being about repeated small actions producing outsized results with time, the issue of maintaining good routines while exploring beneficial changes is real.
Adding to the complexity is that embarking on the financial journey itself is likely to change who one is. This idea, of the difficulty or impossibility of knowing the preferences of a future self, is explored in a fascinating way in this Econtalk podcast episode with a philosophical thought experiment about vampires. It poses the question: perhaps we can never know ourselves at the destination? And yet, who would rationally choose ruin over any change?
The post, links and full charts can be seen here.
submitted by thefiexpl to fiaustralia [link] [comments]

Crypto-Currency: A Guide to Common Tax Situations

STATUS: Majority of questions have been answered. If yours got missed, please feel free to post it again.
Introduction
All,
Based on the rapid increase in popularity and price of bitcoin and other crypto currencies (particularly over the past year), I expect that lots of people have questions about how crypto currency will impact their taxes. This thread attempts to address several common issues. I'm posting similar versions of it here, in several major crypto subs, and eventually in the weekly "tax help" threads personalfinance runs.
I'd like to thank the /personalfinance mod team and the /tax community for their help with this thread and especially for reading earlier versions and offering several valuable suggestions/corrections.
This thread is NOT an endorsement of crypto currency as an investing strategy. There is a time and a place to debate the appropriateness of crypto as part of a diversified portfolio - but that time is not now and that place is not here. If you are interested in the general consensus of this sub on investing, I would urge you to consult the wiki while keeping in mind the general flowchart outlining basic steps to get your finances in order.
Finally, please note that this thread attempts to provide information about your tax obligations as defined by United States law (and interpreted by the IRS under the direction of the Treasury Department). I understand that a certain portion of the crypto community tends to view crypto as "tax free" due to the (actual and perceived) difficulty for the IRS to "know" about the transactions involved. I will not discuss unlawfully concealing crypto gains here nor will I suggest illegal tax avoidance activities.
The Basics
This section is best for people that don't understand much about taxes. It covers some very basic tax principles. It also assumes that all you did during the year was buy/sell a single crypto currency.
Fundamentally, the IRS treats crypto not as money, but as an asset (investment). While there are a few specific "twists" when it comes to crypto, when in doubt replace the word "crypto" with the word "stock" and you will get a pretty good idea how you should report and pay tax on crypto.
The first thing you should know is that the majority of this discussion applies to the taxes you are currently working on (2017 taxes). The tax bill that just passed applies to 2018 taxes (with a few very tiny exceptions), which most people will file in early 2019.
In general, you don't have to report or pay taxes on crypto currency holdings until you "cash out" all or part of your holdings. For now, I'm going to assume that you cash out by selling them for USD; however, other forms of cashing out will be covered later.
When you sell crypto, you report the difference between your basis (purchase price) and proceeds (sale price) on Schedule D. Your purchase price is commonly referred to as your basis; while the two terms don't mean exactly the same thing, they are pretty close to one another (in particular, there are three two ways to calculate your basis - your average cost, a first-in, first-out method, and a "specific identification" method. See more about these here and here). EDIT - you may not use average cost method with crypto - see here. If you sell at a gain, this gain increases your tax liability; if you sell at a loss, this loss decreases your tax liability (in most cases). If you sell multiple times during the year, you report each transaction separately (bad news if you trade often) but get to lump all your gains/losses together when determining how the trades impact your income.
One important thing to remember is that there are two different types of gains/losses from investments - short term gains (if you held an asset for one year or less) and long term gains (over one year; i.e. one year and one day). Short term gains are taxed at your marginal income rate (basically, just like if you had earned that money at a job) while long term gains are taxed at lower rates.
For most people, long term capital gains are taxed at 15%. However, if you are in the 10% or 15% tax bracket, congrats - your gains (up to the maximum amount of "unused space" in your bracket) are tax free! If you are in the 25%, 28%, 33%, or 35% bracket, long term gains are taxed at 15%. If you are in the 39.6% bracket, long term gains are taxed at 20%. Additionally, there is an "extra" 3.8% tax that applies to gains for those above $200,000/$250,000 (single/married). The exact computation of this tax is a little complicated, but if you are close to the $200,000 level, just know that it exists.
Finally, you should know that I'm assuming that you should treat your crypto gains/losses as investment gains/losses. I'm sure some people will try and argue that they are really "day traders" of crypto and trade as a full time job. While this is possible, the vast majority of people don't qualify for this status and you should really think several times before deciding you want to try that approach on the IRS.
"Cashing Out" - Trading Crypto for Goods/Services
I realize that not everyone that "cashes out" of crypto does so by selling it for USD. In fact, I understand that some in the crypto community view the necessity of cashing out itself as a type of myth. In this section, I discuss what happens if you trade your crypto for basically anything that isn't cash (minor sidenote - see next section for a special discussion on trading crypto for crypto; i.e. buying altcoins with crypto).
The IRS views trading crypto for something of value as a type of bartering that must be included in income. From the IRS's perspective, it doesn't matter if you sold crypto for cash and bought a car with that cash or if you just traded crypto directly for the car - in both cases, the IRS views you as having sold your crypto. This approach isn't unique to crypto - it works the same way if you trade stock for something.
This means that if you do trade your crypto for "stuff", you have to report every exchange as a sale of your crypto and calculate the gain/loss on that sale, just as if you had sold the crypto for cash.
Finally, there is one important exception to this rule. If you give your crypto away to charity (one recognized by the IRS; like a 501(c)(3) organization), the IRS doesn't make you report/pay any capital gains on the transaction. Additionally, you still get to deduct the value of your donation on the date it was made. Now, from a "selfish" point of view, you will always end up with more money if you sell the crypto, pay the tax, and keep the rest. But, if you are going to make a donation anyway, especially a large one, giving crypto where you have a big unrealized/untaxed gain is a very efficient way of doing so.
"Alt Coins" - Buying Crypto with Crypto
The previous section discusses what happens when you trade crypto for stuff. However, one thing that surprises many people is that trading crypto for crypto is also a taxable event, just like trading crypto for a car. Whether you agree with this position or not, it makes a lot of sense once you realize that the IRS doesn't view crypto as money, but instead as an asset. So to the IRS, trading bitcoin for ripple isn't like trading dollars for euros, but it is instead like trading shares of Apple stock for shares of Tesla stock.
Practically, what this means is that if you trade one crypto for another crypto (say BTC for XRP just to illustrate the point), the IRS views you as doing the following:
  • Selling for cash the amount of BTC you actually traded for XRP.
  • Owing capital gains/losses on the BTC based on its selling price (the fair market value at the moment of the exchange) and your purchase price (basis).
  • Buying a new investment (XRP) with a cost basis equal to the amount the BTC was worth when you exchanged them.
This means that if you "time" your trade wrong and the value of XRP goes down after you make the exchange, you still owe tax on your BTC gain even though you subsequently lost money. The one good piece of news in this is that when/if you sell your XRP (or change it back to BTC), you will get a capital loss for the value that XRP dropped.
There is one final point worth discussing in this section - the so called "like kind exchange" rules (aka section 1031 exchange). At a high level, these rules say that you can "swap" property with someone else without having to pay taxes on the exchange as long as you get property in return that is "like kind". Typically, these rules are used in real estate transactions. However, they can also apply to other types of transactions as well.
While the idea is simple (and makes it sound like crypto for crypto should qualify), the exact rules/details of this exception are very fact specific. Most experts (including myself, but certainly not calling myself an expert) believe that a crypto for crypto swap is not a like kind exchange. The recently passed tax bill also explicitly clarifies this issue - starting in 2018, only real estate qualifies for like kind exchange treatment. So, basically, the vast majority of evidence suggests that you can't use this "loophole" for 2017; however, there is a small minority view/some small amount of belief that this treatment would work for 2017 taxes and it is worth noting that I'm unaware of any court cases directly testing this approach.
Dealing with "Forks"
Perhaps another unpleasant surprise for crypto holders is that "forks" to create a new crypto also very likely generate a taxable event. The IRS has long (since at least the 1960s) held that "found" money is a taxable event. This approach has been litigated in court and courts have consistently upheld this position; it even has its own cool nerdy tax name - the "treasure trove" doctrine.
Practically, what this means is that if you owned BTC and it "forked" to create BCH, then the fair market value of the BCH you received is considered a "treasure trove" that must be reported as income (ordinary income - no capital gain rates). This is true whether or not you sold your BCH; if you got BCH from a fork, that is a taxable event (note - I'll continue using BTC forking to BCH in this section as an example, but the logic applies to all forks).
While everything I've discussed up to this point is pretty clearly established tax law, forks are really where things get messy with taxes. Thus, the remainder of this section contains more speculation than elsewhere in this post - the truth is that while the idea is simple (fork = free money = taxable), the details are messy and other kinds of tax treatment might apply to forks.
One basic practical problem with forks is that the new currency doesn't necessarily start trading immediately. Thus, you may have received BCH before there was a clear price or market for it. Basically, you owe tax on the value of BCH when you received it, but it isn't completely clear what that value was. There are several ways you can handle this; I'll list them in order from most accurate to least accurate (but note that this is just my personal view and there is ongoing disagreement on this issue with little/no authoritative guidance).
  • Use a futures market to determine the value of the BCH - if reliable sources published realistic estimates of what BCH will trade for in the future once trading begins, use this estimate as the value of your BCH. Pros/cons - futures markets are, in theory, pretty accurate. However, if they are volatile/subject to manipulation, they may provide an incorrect estimate of the true value of BCH. It would suck to use the first futures value published only to have that value plummet shortly thereafter, leaving you to pay ordinary income tax but only have an unrealized capital loss.
  • Wait until an exchange starts trading BCH; use the actual ("spot" price) as the value. Pros/cons - spot prices certainly reflect what you could have sold BCH for; however, it is possible that the true value of the coin was highelower when you received it as compared to when it started trading on the exchange. Thus this method seems less accurate to me than a futures based approach, but it is still certainly fairly reasonable.
  • Assume that the value is $0. This is my least preferred option, but there is still a case to be made for it. If you receive something that you didn't want, can't access, can't sell, and might fail, does it have any value? I believe the answer is yes (maybe not value it perfectly, but value it somewhat accurately), but if you honestly think the answer is no, then the correct tax answer would be to report $0 in income from the fork. The IRS would be most likely to disagree with this approach, especially since it results in the least amount of income reported for the current year (and the most favorable rates going forward). Accordingly, if you go this route, make extra sure you understand what it entails.
Note, once you've decided what to report as taxable income, this amount also becomes your cost basis in the new crypto (BCH). Thus, when you ultimately sell your BCH (or trade it for something else as described above), you calculate your gain/loss based on what you included in taxable income from the fork.
Finally, there is one more approach to dealing with forks worth mentioning. A fork "feels" a lot like a dividend - because you held BTC, you get BCH. In a stock world, if I get a cash dividend because I own the stock, that money is not treated as a "treasure trove" and subject to ordinary income rates - in most cases, it is a qualified dividend and subject to capital gain rates; in some cases, some types of stock dividends are completely non taxable. This article discusses this idea in slightly more detail and generally concludes that forks should not be treated as a dividend. Still, I would note that I'm unaware of any court cases directly testing this theory.
Ultimately, this post is supposed to be practical, so let me make sure to leave you with two key thoughts about the taxation of forks. First, I believe that the majority of evidence suggests that forks should be treated as a "treasure trove" and reported as ordinary income based on their value at creation and that this is certainly the "safest" option. Second, out of everything discussed in this post, I also believe that the correct taxation of forks is the murkiest and most "up for debate" area. If you are interested in a more detailed discussion of forks, see this thread for a previous version of this post discussing it at even more length and the comments for a discussion of this with the tax community.
Mining Crypto
Successfully mining crypto coins is a taxable event. Depending on the amount of effort you put into mining, it is either considered a hobby or a self-employment (business) activity. The IRS provides the following list of questions to help decide the correct classification:
  • The manner in which the taxpayer carries on the activity.
  • The expertise of the taxpayer or his advisors.
  • The time and effort expended by the taxpayer in carrying on the activity.
  • Expectation that assets used in activity may appreciate in value.
  • The success of the taxpayer in carrying on other similar or dissimilar activities.
  • The taxpayer’s history of income or losses with respect to the activity.
  • The amount of occasional profits, if any, which are earned.
If this still sounds complicated, that's because the distinction is subject to some amount of interpretation. As a rule of thumb, randomly mining crypto on an old computer is probably a hobby; mining full time on a custom rig is probably a business.
In either event, you must include in income the fair market value of any coins you successfully mine. These are ordinary income and your basis in these coins is their fair market value on the date they were mined. If your mining is a hobby, they go on line 21 (other income) and any expenses directly associated with mining go on schedule A (miscellaneous subject to 2% of AGI limitation). If your mining is a business, income and expenses go on schedule C.
Both approaches have pros and cons - hobby income isn't subject to the 15.3% self-employment tax, only normal income tax, but you get fewer deductions against your income and the deductions you get are less valuable. Business income has more deductions available, but you have to pay payroll (self-employment) tax of about 15.3% in addition to normal income tax.
What if I didn't keep good records? Do I really have to report every transaction?
One nice thing about the IRS treating crypto as an asset is that we can look at how the IRS treats people that "day trade" stock and often don't keep great records/have lots of transactions. While you need to be as accurate as possible, it is ok to estimate a little bit if you don't have exact records (especially concerning your cost basis). You need to put in some effort (research historical prices, etc...) and be reasonable, but the IRS would much rather you do a little bit of reasonable estimation as opposed to just not reporting anything. Sure, they might decide to audit you/disagree with some specifics, but you earn yourself a lot of credit if you can show that you honestly did the best you reasonably could and are making efforts to improve going forward.
However, concerning reporting every transaction - yes, sorry, it is clear that you have to do this, even if you made hundreds or thousands of them. Stock traders have had to go through this for many decades, and there is absolutely no reason to believe that the IRS would accept anything less from the crypto community. If you have the records or have any reasonable way of obtaining records/estimating them, you must report every transaction.
What if I don't trust you?
Well, first let me say that I can't believe you made it all the way down here to this section. Thanks for giving me an honest hearing. I would strongly encourage you to go read other well-written, honest guides. I'll link to some I like (both more technical IRS type guides and more crypto community driven guides). While a certain portion of the crypto community seems to view one of the benefits of crypto as avoiding all government regulation (including taxes), I've been pleasantly surprised to find that many crypto forums contain well reasoned, accurate tax guides. While I may not agree with 100% of their conclusions, that likely reflects true uncertainty around tax law that is fundamentally complex rather than an attempt on either end to help individuals unlawfully avoid taxes.
IRS guides
Non-IRS guides
submitted by Mrme487 to personalfinance [link] [comments]

How to succesfully Invest and Basics

This was written for a different group /stocks it got deleted so hopefully this time it works !
Disclaimer
I dont want to sell you or recommend anything ! Just my expierence and little help so enjoy. If you want to ask me anything feel free, I try so answer everything.

This article is meant to be a small guide that helps you to find your way. Its based on my experience and knowledge, I gained throughout the years. Iam by far no professional. Iam just a guy who loves to invest. If you are new and have few grands to invest this article might help you.
My motivation to write this article was because when I turned 20 I got a small loan of 1 milli.... just few grands from my parents plus the savings I made from working. For me it was clear that I want to invest them. I always liked the idea making money and not really working for it! (Spoiler its kinda true and kinda not)
So I sum up few steps which will helped me to orientate and maybe help you to make your first investement
Step one 1. Where I can Invest?! You can basicly invest in everything. They are infinite options but I just cover up few topics.
They are 5 investments I would like to adress.
  1. Stocks.
    1. Real estate
    2. Options
    3. Start-ups
    4. Krypto n+1. art, old cars, drugs?! (Don’t do or sell drugs pls!)
Stocks (my fav.) I love stocks. I love understanding what the company’s plans are and where they are heading.
They are 3 different types of investment strategies.
  1. Short term (daily) That’s usually daily trading. That means you invest and sell on a daily basis. If your not a expert it can frustrating and the chances that you will lose is high. Many people forget that you have to pay taxes and fees so even if you for example invest 1.000 and sell for 1.050 within 20 min. You will have to pay some fees and taxes and with luck, you are where you started. It only makes sense when you invest a lot, otherwise it makes no sense and to be honest I don’t know any person which makes profit with it.
Difficulty: Hard
Stress Lvl: High
Risk: Medium/High
Profit: Usualy bad
Investement: Medium
  1. Mid term (6month – 1 year+) You buy some stocks for a longer period of time and hope it will go up soon.
This investment is much easier and less risky than short term. You see a stock going up and up so you invest 5k and hope you can ride a little on this upwards trend. Its fairly easy but you have to keep an eye on the market. A good example is VW it dropped because it has some Image problems. Thats a chance to invest! It will most likely to recover because its the biggest automarker in the world and it did. It happend 1000 times and normaly big companies dont fail they are exception but without risk you dont get anywhere
Difficulty: Medium
Stress: Medium
Risk: Medium
Profit: Good
Investment: Low
  1. Long term ( 1-2years – 10 years+) Means you want to invest for a long time you are not only interested in making a quick buck but making a slow and steady progress. You are not interested if the stock goes up or down but you are more interested how much divendend they pay. Usualy they go up very slowly but steady. A good example for this type of stock is Royal Dutch (shell) it has ist up and downs but compared to other stocks ist stable. The dividend is 6% which is insanly good no other big company will pay you that every year. You invest 10.000€ and get every year 600€ which means a holiday for free. Also the work is very little, you only have to check the stocks every few weeks/month You wont get rich but its better than having it in the bank.
Difficulty: Easy
Stress: Low
Risk: Low
Profit: Low
Investment: Low-Medium
Before you invest check the company read the news and get a good overview. I have to admit Iam a fanboy at heart. When a stock of one of my fav. company’s has potential and it does make sense to invest it feels like buying tickets for my favorite Rockband. You support and cheer them on and if they grow you grow with them. BUUUUUUT don’t get my wrong never buy stocks just because you like the company or they have a cool name.
All in all Stocks are a great Investment!
Real Estate
If you want to invest in houses it’s a very save and profitable investment but it depends on your area and country you are coming from. In Germany most objects are overpriced right now so it wouldnt make any sense to buy some. In generell the more money you have the better. They will will be much more people who can afford an cheap flat/condo than the other way around. So expensive objects are better! The optimum is always a shitty apartment in a very good area. Also buying objects in bad areas cause lots of trouble with tenant. Crazy families who refuse to pay, messy people etc. this can end in a stressful situation so beware of that.
If you are already rich af than buy propreties
Example
I went once to an auction and most apartments are sold for double the estimated value. It would take ages (20+ years) to get your investment back. So beware of your market situation.
Difficulty: Easy
Stress: Usualy low/medium
Risk: Low
Profit: Medium
Investment: High
Options
Options are basicly betting that a stock with go up or down. You can bet on nearly everything. You can make lot of money very quick and lose everything even quicker. For me option trading is gambling with few extra steps. The difference is you can lose more than you invest. They are cases where people invest 1000€ and lose -120.000€ because suddelny the market changed.
If you have gambling problems and tendency to gamble this is absolutly not for you. You can see here (in the forum) lots of bad examples where people going full YOLO on something and lose a ton of money. They save up a little, invest in something even more risky and lose again.
I know a friend who makes good money from it but he has a clear head and read many books about this topic he uses software to analyse the situation and everything and he admits that sometimes he doesnt understand what happend. Of course options are not the devils tool but I like to be the voice against it. The truth is in the middle.
Iam a person who likes to understand what am I doing. After reading and learning about it, for more than a year I was more confused than before. It is probably because Iam to stupid for it, so I gave it up and moved on. Options are not for me
Difficulty: very hard (at least for me)
Stress: high
Risk: low - very risky
Profit: It can be everything
Investment: low
  1. Start-ups
Start-ups are also a great business opportunity. I was lucky enough to invest once a little bit into a upcoming company from my firend. He showed me his company and the plans for the future. I already helped him with few shows and stuff so I knew how everything worked.
The biggest bullshit I ever saw are the analyse prediction of the future sales. During the last few years I saw few of them and they all predicted that the company will make an absurd amount of money. It looked like high cool project all shiny and with big numbers. To be honest I dont even know who pay these people to make such bullshit predictions, seriously.
(as you can see I love talking from my life so forgive me my dear)
Long story short I still invested because I understood their model. They existed and already made great progress. I made 50% profit in 3 years. I am still very happy and greatful to had such good chance to invest and would do it again.
They biggest question is how do I find such chances ?
Tell people you are intersted to invest maybe a friend of you will start an company and you can invest or help you to find such a opprtunity. I went to many start up meetings and talk about a lot with my friends. They dont want to hear it but I tell them anyway and if there is a chance they will call me.
Few Tipps:
- Look for already existing companys
- Most companys give you a very good inside look before you invest! If not watch out they hide something.
- Try to understand what they are doing and where they are heading
- Look what the will offer you for your money!
Difficulty: Medium/hard
Stress: Medium/low
Risk: Medium/High
Profit: Good/Very good
Investment: From Low to high
  1. Krypto
Boy oh boy where to start. I heard to many experts saying yeah krypto thats future boyyyyyy I invested everything BOYYYYYYY and in few month I will be rich BOIIIIII. I heard this story so often that Iam allgeric to it now. This irregulated mess based purly on speculations wasnt anything form me. I didnt invest a cent into it and had lots of chances when bitcoin was 300-500 €. It didnt simply fit into my portfolio. It had no function for me. You could pay for your drugs in the deep web and some hipster pizzerias accepted it but in generell it had no function. So investing into kryptos is just speclutions it has no real fundation what I like.
My friends who invested early made a ton of money but all the people on the Hypetrain crashed.
Difficulty: I dont know
Stress: Depends how much storys you make about it on Instagra´m
Risk: Over 9000
Profit: It can be everything from super high to low in just few days
Investment: What ever you want, if this is still to expensive for you, make your own coin and hope some Idiot buys it!
Now you know my knowledge ehh more like my opionen on few things now its time for……. Step. 2. Get a rough overview
Back than I didn’t know where to start so I asked everybody for advice like parents, friends , my parents friends, banks, forums, news etc. and got very different results.
Friends and family can be a good source of information how they did it. Of course often investments are impossible to repeat because they are 20 years ago but they can give some good advice. Its nice to hear few cool stories.
Example
Royal Dutch shell hast wo different stocks. One based in england (B) one Dutch version (A) (explained very simple, not 100% accurate). If you purchase Royal Dutch (A) you have to pay a 15% withholding tax that you wouldnt when you buy Royal Dutch (B).
Banks
Banks are terrible to ask. I always had shitty experience. The lured me into meetings, only to sell some shitty investment models from which they make some good money of me or some stupid insurence. They are not interested in your loses or profits they are interested to sell you the next stupid investement from which the make money. They never keep their promises and if you loose they will cheer you up and show their new hot investement and so on and so on until you loose and they drop you.
My mom works kind of in the finance sector and you wont believe home money older people lost ton of money because of this. I also found few very shady investements opportunities who would be illegal but I wont get into detail cause I dont have 100% proof for it and I also dont want to get in any trouble. As you can see Iam not big fan oft them and do not recommend!
News/charts/indexes/Forums
For me charts & news works the best. It’s easily so see what’s going on and gives you a great overview. The chart showed that a stock dropped 5%?! Good! Read the news/forums and find out what is going on! It’s that easy you don’t need 15 monitors and crazy software to understand what is happening. Dont make it to complicated! Have an easy overview about the market which you would like to invest.
Example
My parents invested around a year ago alot in Tesla. It was before Model 3 was released. Tesla had no expierence in mass production and it was clear (at least to me) that they wont have an easy start. They still made no profit and it was the first step to play with the big boys. Back than the Tesla stock was way over 300€ and it was based a lot on speculation and hype. It couldnt live up to they hype and dropped ≈ 30% - 35%.
  1. Few points & strategies
No Emotions
Never ever let your emotions guide you. Stocks are not based on a stomach feeling or any other emotion. Dont invest just because you like Elon Musk or Apple or anything. If I have a the chance to invest into one because the timing is right. Always make sure you know what you are doing. When it can wait a day, sleep a night about it and be sober! You can get sucked up into this world you will start giving a shit if you lose one grand and start digging deeper and deeper and lose sense the value of it. Stay sober and now when you have to stop.
Making losses
It will happend and dont freak out !
They are two options how to handle it and it depends on few things.
  1. Sell them, you see the ship is sinking and their no possibility you can save it than sell it, It hurts but better early than it is to late. Or you find a better possibility to invest for example a start up than its also fine.
  2. Keep it! Turning a Short/Mid-term investement into a long-term investement. Check first if the company will recover from it. For example the VW stocks dropped a lot due it scandal few years ago but it was clear that they will not go bankrupt so after a while they recover from it. Technically the market will grow infinite so after every crash they reach new heights, if you can wait that long the chances are high that you will make some profit and do not lose any money. Maybe the profit will be small but better than losing everything.
Diversity
Dont put all your eggs in one basket but also dont but every egg in a different basket. Have a good mix that you can still have an overview about your investment. Dont depend on one investment something bad can always happend. Having a good mix is important some investments will go up and few will go down. Its rearly that everything will crash (expect crises). So you can sell the good one and keep the bad ones until they go up.
Scams
Online
Stick to the basics! They are a ton of scammers online who want to show you a way to make fast money. Its mostly some MLM (multi level markting) aka Pryamide sheme, some buying and reselling some stuff from China or some weird option trading platform where pay in and your money is gone in 5 min without any trace o fit (no chance getting it back)! The Instagram advertisment is so ridiculous and I feel stupid mentioning it but hey if it wouldnt work they wouldnt exist. So please dont be this guy….
Offline
I really wanted to invest and have an own start-up. I met many people and visited countless seminars. Few of them offered me to invest but it was a mostly a mess. Onced I got fooled. A friend and I meet a person who had a start up for social media. We had some meetings restaurant he paid everything for us and looked very legit. I worked 3-4 month in this start up 3-4 hours a day, even on weekends for free. Only later to find out I was the only one working in it. (My friend pulled out very early cause he wanted to focus on his PhD) They rest oft he Team did absolute nothing! All the money the company generated was based on my work. They didnt make a lot of money but around 600-800€ a month. The founder spend all the money on vacation and stuff. I never got anything. They wanted to sell me 10% of the company for 15.000€. I always said I need more inside infos, which of course I never got. So I pulled out and they went mad and threaten me to sue me. I feel to this day ashamed that I trusted them and didnt saw it.
If you want get into something like this make a contract dont rely on handshakes people will tell you everything and wont keep it. I learned it the hard way
Be open minded
I met enough people who dont want to share with me their portfolio because they are scared that I will steal something from them. Its stupid! Talk to as many people als possible about your investment. Some amazing things can happend. I meet to many great people because of that and with some I share a 5+ years long friendship maybe we dont share the same ideas but I leanred a lot of it and sometimes I made some profit because of it! Be open !
Prediction & graphic lines
When I did my first Investment (it was gold) I read every morning every article about it I could for at least a solid year. Every monring 20 min Thats rouhly 120 hours. Thats time I will never get back. It was wasted time. The news/articels predicted everything. It was a rollercoaster. I believed it in the beginning because it was new to me. It really messed me up and I spend way to much time overthinking. Its fine to see a prediction but the more extreme it is the more it will never happend.
Also the trendlines are mostly worthless. I read so many people talking about the 50 day trendline or the 200 day trendline. It only idicates if a stock goes up or down but people interepte everything into it. “Oh yeah you can see the restience at 12.50 if it will drop below everbody will sell“. The next day it dropped and nothing happend. Dont believe everything in the internet. (lol)
Keep it simple
Dont make it to complicated you can have the best infos and charts and everything in the world and still lose everything. So dont make it to hard for yourself.
THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE
No depts
Dont take a credit just because you know a great investment. No matter how much you could earn DO NOT TAKE A CREDIT. This can not only ruin you financily but also your family and your whole life. This is no joke! Make no depts.
DO NOT MAKE FUCKING DEBTS!
My Strategy
It is a mixture of long term and mid-term stock investments. Its very easy I invested in:
Before I buy some
- Royal Dutch because of the high dividend
- Deutsche Bank when the hit nearly a all time low hoping to recover (still hoping ☹ )
- Lufthansa because they bought few airlines and hopefully will grow but its not (thanks Greta !)
- Tesla because they are low and made some good deals for the future. (update, sold it and made 30-35% in 6 weeks)
Am I rich or making a lot of money?! Hell no! But Iam making enough to pay for my holidays and few extras. I am patient enough to sit out bad times. I never sold anything with loose and I want to keep it that way. I like having a clean record.
Thanks for reading and feel free to ask my everything.
submitted by Ostblocktricker to howto [link] [comments]

51% attacks are morally justifiable

In this short post I want to set out my case for the moral justifiability of 51% attacks against proof of work cryptocurrencies. In the past, a 51% attack was a theoretical construct that most people didn´t seem to think would be practically achievable or lucrative. This has now changed, as hashpower can be rented on sites like Nicehash and Mining Rig Rentals for a few hours at a time. The attack delivers the attacker two prominent opportunities:
-You can orphan blocks of ¨legitimate¨ miners. This essentially means that whatever work was produced by legitimate miners during your attack became worthless. Mine a secret chain of two hours worth of blocks, release it and you orphaned 2 hours worth of blocks by your competitors. By the time most of the miners have noticed their blocks were orphaned in an attack, their nodes will have been automatically mining on your own chain for a while and it will be too late for them to do anything about it. The amount of money they lost would be equivalent to the amount you had to spend to produce your chain. Because mining is an industry with tight margins, the economic impact on these miners can be very big. The cost may be sufficient in case of a very long attack, to persuade them to quit their endeavor and get a real job.
-The more important opportunity is that you´re able to double spend your coins. This is potentially, incredibly lucrative. How lucrative it is tends to depend primarily on the inflation rate of a cryptocurrency. A low inflation rate means relatively little ¨work¨ is done to maintain the security of the system. A high inflation rate on the other hand, turns the cryptocurrency into a very poor long-term investment. As a consequence, most cryptocurrencies face declining inflation rates, that delay the problem of their ultimately unsustainability into the future. The bank of international settlements explains this issue here.
When it comes to the moral justification of a 51% attack, we first have to ask ourselves why proof of work is morally unjustifiable. There are two main reasons for this:
-Proof of work has an enormous environmental impact, that ensures future generations will have to deal with the dramatic consequences of climate change. There is no proper justification for this environmental impact, as it delivers no clear benefits over existing payment systems other than the ability to carry out morally unjustifiable actions like blackmail.
-Proof of work is fundamentally unsustainable, because of the economic burden it places on participants in cryptocurrency schemes. Cryptocurrencies can´t produce wealth out of thin air. The people who get rich from a cryptocurrency becomes rich, due to the fact that other people step in later. In this sense we´re dealing with a pyramid scheme, but the difference from regular pyramid schemes lies in the fact that huge sums of wealth are not merely redistributed, but destroyed, to sustain the scheme. The cost of the work to sustain the scheme is bigger than you might expect, because the reality is that relatively little money has entered bitcoin. JP Morgan claims that for the crypto assets at large, a fiat amplifier of 117.5 is present, as a purported $2 billion in net inflow pushed Bitcoin’s market capitalization from $15 billion to $250 billion. You have to consider that the Digiconomist estimates that $2.6 billion dollar leaves the Bitcoin scheme on an annual basis, in the form of mining costs to sustain Bitcoin. The vast majority of retail customers who entered this scheme ended up losing money from it. In some cases this lead to suicides.
The fact that proof of work is morally unjustifiable doesn´t directly lead to a moral justification for a 51% attack. After all a sane society would use government intervention to eliminate the decentralized ponzi schemes that are cryptocurrencies. There are a few things that need to be considered however:
-Governments have so far failed in their responsibility to address the cryptocurrency schemes. Instead you tend to see officials insist that proof of work might suck and most cryptocurrency is a scam, but ¨blockchain technology¨ will somehow change the world for the better. Most libertarians who saw these schemes emerge insisted that it´s stupid to participate in them because the government would eventually ban them and round up the people who participated in them. This didn´t happen because of the logistical difficulty of suppressing these schemes (anyone with an internet connection can set one up) as well as the fact that suppressing them would lend credence to the anti-government anarcho-capitalist ideology on which these schemes are based. Goverments might say ¨these schemes facilitate crime, ruin the environment and redistribute wealth from naive individuals to scammers¨, but anarcho-capitalists would insist that governments have grown so tyrannical that they want to ban you from exchanging numbers on computers.
-Because cryptocurrency is fundamentally an online social arrangement, governments have very limited influence over the phenomenon. Binance seeks to become a stateless organization, not subject to the jurisdiction of any particular government. Just as with regular money laundering and tax evasion that hides in small nations that can earn huge sums of money by facilitating these practises, governments are dependent on the actions of individuals to address these practices. Whistleblowers released the panama papers and the tax evasion by German individuals through Swiss bank accounts. Through such individuals, the phenomenon could be properly addressed. In a similar manner, cryptocurrency schemes will need to be addressed through the actions of individuals who recognize the damage these schemes cause to the fabric of society.
-The very nature of a 51% attack means that it primarily punishes those who set up and facilitate the cryptocurrency scheme in the first place. The miners who pollute our environment to satiate their own greed are bankrupted by the fact that their blocks are orphaned. The exchange operators are bankrupted due to double-spend attacks against the scams that they facilitate. When this happens, the cryptocurrency in question should lose value, which then destroys the incentive to devote huge sums of electricity to it.
Finally, there´s the question of whether 51% attacks are viable as a response to cryptocurrency. There´s the obvious problem you run into, that the biggest and oldest scams are the most difficult to shut down. In addition, cryptocurrencies that fell victim to an attack tend to move towards a checkpoint system. However, there are a few things that need to be considered here:
-51% attacks against small cryptocurrencies might not have a huge impact, but their benefit is nonetheless apparent. Most of the new scams don´t require participants to mine, instead the new schemes generally depend on ¨staking¨. If people had not engage in 51% attacks, the environmental impact would have been even bigger now.
-51% attacks against currencies that implement checkpointing are not impossible, if the checkpoints are decentrally produced. What happens in that case is a chain split, as long as the hostile chain is released at the right time. This would mean that different exchanges may get stuck on different forks, which would still allow people to double spend their cryptocurrency.
-There are other attacks that can be used against proof of work cryptocurrencies. The most important one is the block withholding attack. It´s possible for people who dislike a cryptocurrency to join a pool and to start mining. However, whenever the miner finds a valid solution that would produce a block, he fails to share the solution with the pool. This costs money for the pool operator, but it can be lucrative for the actor if he also operates a competing pool himself. In the best case it leads to miners moving to his pool, which then potentially allows him to execute a 51% attack against the cryptocurrency.
-It´s possible to put up a 51% attack bounty, allowing others to do the work for you. This works as following. You make transaction A : 100 bitcoin to exchange X, for a fee of 0.001 BTC. Once this transaction has been included in a block, you immediately broadcast a conflicting transaction with another node: You´ŕe sending those 100 bitcoin to your own wallet, but you´re also including a 50 bitcoin fee for the miners. The miners now have a strong incentive to disregard the valid chain and to start mining a new chain on an older block that can still include your conflicting transaction. Provided that pool operators are rational economic agents, they should grab the opportunity.
-Selfish mining in combination with a Sybil attack allows someone to eclipse the rest of the network, while controlling less than 51% of the hashrate. Your malicious nodes will simply refuse to propagante blocks of your competitors, thereby giving you more time to release your own block. Selfish mining will always be possible with 33% of the hashrate and as far as I can tell there are no pathways known currently to make the scheme impossible for people with 25% of the hashrate. This potentially makes a 51% attacks lucrative without having to carry out double-spend attacks against exchanges. Although double spending is a form of theft, it´s not clear to me whether a selfish mining attack would get you into legal trouble or not.

Conclusion:

The dreaded 51% attack is a morally justifiable and potentially lucrative solution to the Nakamoto scheme.
submitted by milkversussoy to Buttcoin [link] [comments]

Will crypto mining kill polar bears?

Bitcoin mining uses as much electricity as a small country. Many people hate it for this reason, its one of the more popular arguments against crypto currencies. Will crypto mining kill polar bears? I think not. I think it will help save polar bears. "Bear" with me.
Germany produces a significant part of its electricity from renewable energy: wind and solar. As we all know, these sources are intermittent and seasonal, as is demand. When the share of renewable energy in the overall energy mix becomes large enough, the result is inevitable: temporary and seasonal overcapacity. This isnt just theoretical, energy prices in germany and the UK where effectively negative last Christmas: http://www.businessinsider.com/renewable-power-germany-negative-electricity-cost-2017-12//?r=AU&IR=T
As explained in the above article, this isnt a rare freak occurrence, its expected and this will have to be become much more common if as a society, we want to transition away from fossil fuels. Because to do that we need (much) more renewable energy sources. A study I saw for Germany calculated they needed at least 89% more capacity, just to handle peak loads. But that also implies an incredible amount of overcapacity when demand isnt anywhere near peak, or when supply is above average due to favorable weather. Storing excess renewable electricity, in most places is very expensive and inefficient. So much so that its rarely even done. This is a major problem. Wind turbines are therefore feathered, solar panels turned off, excess electricity dumped in giant electrical heaters, offered for free or even offered at negative prices. Renewable energy may have become cheaper than other forms per KWH, but thats only if when you can sell all of your production. And its only true if the consumption occurs near the renewable energy source and not 100s or 1000s of kilometers further. Building capacity that can only be used 50% or even 10% of the time, or building infrastructure to store surplus electricity is still very expensive, as is transporting renewable energy over long distances.
I know what you're thinking. Mining wont help here, because mining intermittently is something that seems crazy today; miners keep their expensive machines on 24/7. But thats only because today, the overall cost structure of a (bitcoin) miner is heavily tilted towards hardware depreciation. Particularly for anyone paying retail prices for mining asics. This will change completely, because of two related reasons:
1) mining efficiency improvements will taper off.
Mining asics have been progressing extremely rapidly, from being based on CPUs and FPGA's, to using 20 year old obsolete 180nm process technology in the first asics, to state of the art 16nm chips today. This has resulted in at least a million fold improvement in efficiency in just a few years, which in turn lead to hardware investments that needed to be recovered in a few months or even weeks (!) before they were obsolete. Opportunity cost has been so high, that miners have literally chartered 747s to transport new mining equipment from the manufacturer in China to their datacenters in the US.
This cant and wont last. 12nm and 7nm asics are about to be produced, or are being produced now. It doesnt get better than that today, and it wont for many years to come. Moore's law is often cited to show efficiency will keep going up. That may be true, but until now the giant leaps we have seen had nothing to do with moore's law, which "only" predicts a doubling every 18 months. Moore's law is also hitting a brick wall (you cant scale transistors smaller than atoms), and only states that transistor density increases. Not that chips become more efficient or faster, which increasingly is no longer happening (new cpu's are getting more cores, but run at comparable speeds and comparable power consumption to previous generations).
What all this means is that these upcoming state of the art mining asics will remain competitive for many years, at least 3, possibly more than 5 years, and thus can be used and written off over that many years. But they will still consume electricity during all those years, shifting the overall costs from hardware to electricity.
2) Mining is still too profitable (for anyone making their own asics) and mining hardware is therefore still too expensive (for everyone else)
Miner hardware production rate simply hasnt yet been able to keep up with demand and soaring bitcoin prices. This leads to artificially low mining difficulty, making mining operationally profitable even with expensive electricity, and this also leads to exuberant hardware profit margins. You can see this easily, just look at the difficulty of bitcoin. When the price dropped by 70%, did you see a corresponding drop in difficulty? No, no drop at all, it just keeps growing exponentially. That only makes sense because we are not yet near saturation, or near marginal electricity costs for bitmain & Co. Its not worth it yet for them to turn off their miners. Its not even worth it yet for residential miners. Another piece of evidence for this, is bitmains estimated $4 billion profit. But mining is a zero sum game, over time, market forces will drive hardware prices and the mining itself to become only marginally profitable. We're clearly not close to that -yet. You might think so as a private miner, but thats only because you overpaid for your hardware.
Lets look at todays situation to get an idea. An Antminer S9 retails for $2300 and uses ~1300W at the wall. If you write off the hardware over a year, electricity and hardware costs balance out at an electricity price of $0.2/KWH. Anything below that, and hardware becomes the major cost. But how will that evolve?
As difficulty keeps going up, bitcoin mining revenue per asic will decline proportionally, until demand for mining asics will eventually taper off. To counter that, prices of asics will be lowered until they approach marginal production costs, which by my estimate is closer to $200 than $2000. Let say a 1300W S9 equivalent at that point gets sold at $400 leaving bitmain a healthy profit margin; that would mean each year a miner would spend 5x more on electricity than on hardware. Hardware will remain competitive for more than a single year though. Say you write it off over 3 years, now you're spending 15x more on electricity than on hardware. Intermittent mining like 50% of the time, but with free or virtually free electricity will become economical long before that.
By now, I will hopefully have convinced you of the viability of mining with intermittent excess renewable energy; intermittent mining with renewable energy will not only become viable, it will become the only way to do it profitably. Renewable energy at the source is already cheaper than any carbon burning source. Even in Quatar, they install solar plants because its cheaper than burning their own gas. Its transporting and storing the electricity that usually is the problem. Gas can easily be transported and stored. Wind and solar energy can not. And thats a massive problem for the industry. But mining doesnt need either. You can mine pretty much anywhere and anytime. All you need besides electricity, is a few containers and an internet connection for a solar plant or wind farm to monetize excess energy.
Moreover, mining is a zero sum game, a race to the bottom. As long as its profitable for green energy providers to deploy more hardware (which will be true as long as they can at least recover their hardware investment), difficulty will go up. Until it becomes unprofitable for anyone who has to pay for his electricity. No one gives oil, coal or gas away for free, so anyone depending on those sources of electricity, can not remain competitive. If bitcoin price were to go up so much, that there isnt enough renewable electricity production in the world to accommodate the hashrate, bitcoin miners will simply install more solar and wind farms. Not because of their ecological awareness, but because it makes the most financial sense. And during peak demand periods, why wouldnt they turn off the miners and sell their electricity to the grid for a premium?
Basically crypto mining would fund renewable energy development, and solve the exact problem laid out in the article linked above: provide overcapacity of renewable energy to handle grid peak loads, without needing any government funding or taxation on carbon based sources, without needing expensive and very inefficient energy storage. From the perspective of a green energy producer, energy storage, like a battery or hydrogen production, is just an expensive and intermediate step between producing electricity and getting paid for that electricity. Crypto mining will do the same thing, converting excess electricity in to cash, only much more efficiently.
TL:DR, deploying more renewable electricity overcapacity is both very expensive and very necessary if we want to save polar bears. Financing for these large scale green energy projects will either have to come from tax payer money to store or subsidise the largely unused excess electricity, or it will come from crypto mining. Market forces will drive crypto mining to use the cheapest energy. Renewable energy already is cheaper per KWH than carbon based power, and nothing is cheaper than excess and thus free (or negative value) renewable energy. Bitcoin mining's carbon foot print will therefore become ~zero. If you take in to account the effect of financing and subsidizing large scale renewable energy development that can also be used to supply the grid during peak demand periods, its carbon footprint will be hugely negative.
BTW, if you wonder what Blockchains LLC is going to do with 61K acres near Tesla's factory; my guess is solar plants and crypto mining. Expect to see renewable energy development and crypto mining to merge in to one single industry. Check out envion to get a glimpse of this future. Im not endorsing their token as an investment, I havent researched it at all, but the market they are going after is a very real one and its about to explode.
submitted by Vertigo722 to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Crypto-Currency: A Guide to Common Tax Situations

Introduction
All,
Based on the rapid increase in popularity and price of bitcoin and other crypto currencies (particularly over the past year), I expect that lots of people have questions about how crypto currency will impact their taxes. This thread attempts to address several common issues. I'm posting similar versions of it here, in several other major crypto subs, and in personalfinance.
I'd like to thank the /personalfinance mod team and the /tax community for their help with this thread and especially for reading earlier versions and offering several valuable suggestions/corrections.
Finally, please note that this thread attempts to provide information about your tax obligations as defined by United States law (and interpreted by the IRS under the direction of the Treasury Department). I understand that a certain portion of the crypto community tends to view crypto as "tax free" due to the (actual and perceived) difficulty for the IRS to "know" about the transactions involved. I will not discuss unlawfully concealing crypto gains here nor will I suggest illegal tax avoidance activities.
The Basics
This section is best for people that don't understand much about taxes. It covers some very basic tax principles. It also assumes that all you did during the year was buy/sell a single crypto currency.
Fundamentally, the IRS treats crypto not as money, but as an asset (investment). While there are a few specific "twists" when it comes to crypto, when in doubt replace the word "crypto" with the word "stock" and you will get a pretty good idea how you should report and pay tax on crypto.
The first thing you should know is that the majority of this discussion applies to the taxes you are currently working on (2017 taxes). The tax bill that just passed applies to 2018 taxes (with a few very tiny exceptions), which most people will file in early 2019.
In general, you don't have to report or pay taxes on crypto currency holdings until you "cash out" all or part of your holdings. For now, I'm going to assume that you cash out by selling them for USD; however, other forms of cashing out will be covered later.
When you sell crypto, you report the difference between your basis (purchase price) and proceeds (sale price) on Schedule D. Your purchase price is commonly referred to as your basis; while the two terms don't mean exactly the same thing, they are pretty close to one another (in particular, there are three ways to calculate your basis - your average cost, a first-in, first-out method, and a "specific identification" method. See more about these here and here). If you sell at a gain, this gain increases your tax liability; if you sell at a loss, this loss decreases your tax liability (in most cases). If you sell multiple times during the year, you report each transaction separately (bad news if you trade often) but get to lump all your gains/losses together when determining how the trades impact your income.
One important thing to remember is that there are two different types of gains/losses from investments - short term gains (if you held an asset for one year or less) and long term gains (over one year; i.e. one year and one day). Short term gains are taxed at your marginal income rate (basically, just like if you had earned that money at a job) while long term gains are taxed at lower rates.
For most people, long term capital gains are taxed at 15%. However, if you are in the 10% or 15% tax bracket, congrats - your gains (up to the maximum amount of "unused space" in your bracket) are tax free! If you are in the 25%, 28%, 33%, or 35% bracket, long term gains are taxed at 15%. If you are in the 39.6% bracket, long term gains are taxed at 20%. Additionally, there is an "extra" 3.8% tax that applies to gains for those above $200,000/$250,000 (single/married). The exact computation of this tax is a little complicated, but if you are close to the $200,000 level, just know that it exists.
Finally, you should know that I'm assuming that you should treat your crypto gains/losses as investment gains/losses. I'm sure some people will try and argue that they are really "day traders" of crypto and trade as a full time job. While this is possible, the vast majority of people don't qualify for this status and you should really think several times before deciding you want to try that approach on the IRS.
"Cashing Out" - Trading Crypto for Goods/Services
I realize that not everyone that "cashes out" of crypto does so by selling it for USD. In fact, I understand that some in the crypto community view the necessity of cashing out itself as a type of myth. In this section, I discuss what happens if you trade your crypto for basically anything that isn't cash (minor sidenote - see next section for a special discussion on trading crypto for crypto; i.e. buying altcoins with crypto).
The IRS views trading crypto for something of value as a type of bartering that must be included in income. From the IRS's perspective, it doesn't matter if you sold crypto for cash and bought a car with that cash or if you just traded crypto directly for the car - in both cases, the IRS views you as having sold your crypto. This approach isn't unique to crypto - it works the same way if you trade stock for something.
This means that if you do trade your crypto for "stuff", you have to report every exchange as a sale of your crypto and calculate the gain/loss on that sale, just as if you had sold the crypto for cash.
Finally, there is one important exception to this rule. If you give your crypto away to charity (one recognized by the IRS; like a 501(c)(3) organization), the IRS doesn't make you report/pay any capital gains on the transaction. Additionally, you still get to deduct the value of your donation on the date it was made. Now, from a "selfish" point of view, you will always end up with more money if you sell the crypto, pay the tax, and keep the rest. But, if you are going to make a donation anyway, especially a large one, giving crypto where you have a big unrealized/untaxed gain is a very efficient way of doing so.
"Alt Coins" - Buying Crypto with Crypto
The previous section discusses what happens when you trade crypto for stuff. However, one thing that surprises many people is that trading crypto for crypto is also a taxable event, just like trading crypto for a car. Whether you agree with this position or not, it makes a lot of sense once you realize that the IRS doesn't view crypto as money, but instead as an asset. So to the IRS, trading bitcoin for ripple isn't like trading dollars for euros, but it is instead like trading shares of Apple stock for shares of Tesla stock.
Practically, what this means is that if you trade one crypto for another crypto (say BTC for XRP just to illustrate the point), the IRS views you as doing the following:
  • Selling for cash the amount of BTC you actually traded for XRP.
  • Owing capital gains/losses on the BTC based on its selling price (the fair market value at the moment of the exchange) and your purchase price (basis).
  • Buying a new investment (XRP) with a cost basis equal to the amount the BTC was worth when you exchanged them.
This means that if you "time" your trade wrong and the value of XRP goes down after you make the exchange, you still owe tax on your BTC gain even though you subsequently lost money. The one good piece of news in this is that when/if you sell your XRP (or change it back to BTC), you will get a capital loss for the value that XRP dropped.
There is one final point worth discussing in this section - the so called "like kind exchange" rules (aka section 1031 exchange). At a high level, these rules say that you can "swap" property with someone else without having to pay taxes on the exchange as long as you get property in return that is "like kind". Typically, these rules are used in real estate transactions. However, they can also apply to other types of transactions as well.
While the idea is simple (and makes it sound like crypto for crypto should qualify), the exact rules/details of this exception are very fact specific. Most experts (including myself, but certainly not calling myself an expert) believe that a crypto for crypto swap is not a like kind exchange. The recently passed tax bill also explicitly clarifies this issue - starting in 2018, only real estate qualifies for like kind exchange treatment. So, basically, the vast majority of evidence suggests that you can't use this "loophole" for 2017; however, there is a small minority view/some small amount of belief that this treatment would work for 2017 taxes and it is worth noting that I'm unaware of any court cases directly testing this approach.
Dealing with "Forks"
Perhaps another unpleasant surprise for crypto holders is that "forks" to create a new crypto also very likely generate a taxable event. The IRS has long (since at least the 1960s) held that "found" money is a taxable event. This approach has been litigated in court and courts have consistently upheld this position; it even has its own cool nerdy tax name - the "treasure trove" doctrine.
Practically, what this means is that if you owned BTC and it "forked" to create BCH, then the fair market value of the BCH you received is considered a "treasure trove" that must be reported as income (ordinary income - no capital gain rates). This is true whether or not you sold your BCH; if you got BCH from a fork, that is a taxable event (note - I'll continue using BTC forking to BCH in this section as an example, but the logic applies to all forks).
While everything I've discussed up to this point is pretty clearly established tax law, forks are really where things get messy with taxes. Thus, the remainder of this section contains more speculation than elsewhere in this post - the truth is that while the idea is simple (fork = free money = taxable), the details are messy and other kinds of tax treatment might apply to forks.
One basic practical problem with forks is that the new currency doesn't necessarily start trading immediately. Thus, you may have received BCH before there was a clear price or market for it. Basically, you owe tax on the value of BCH when you received it, but it isn't completely clear what that value was. There are several ways you can handle this; I'll list them in order from most accurate to least accurate (but note that this is just my personal view and there is ongoing disagreement on this issue with little/no authoritative guidance).
  • Use a futures market to determine the value of the BCH - if reliable sources published realistic estimates of what BCH will trade for in the future once trading begins, use this estimate as the value of your BCH. Pros/cons - futures markets are, in theory, pretty accurate. However, if they are volatile/subject to manipulation, they may provide an incorrect estimate of the true value of BCH. It would suck to use the first futures value published only to have that value plummet shortly thereafter, leaving you to pay ordinary income tax but only have an unrealized capital loss.
  • Wait until an exchange starts trading BCH; use the actual ("spot" price) as the value. Pros/cons - spot prices certainly reflect what you could have sold BCH for; however, it is possible that the true value of the coin was highelower when you received it as compared to when it started trading on the exchange. Thus this method seems less accurate to me than a futures based approach, but it is still certainly fairly reasonable.
  • Assume that the value is $0. This is my least preferred option, but there is still a case to be made for it. If you receive something that you didn't want, can't access, can't sell, and might fail, does it have any value? I believe the answer is yes (maybe not value it perfectly, but value it somewhat accurately), but if you honestly think the answer is no, then the correct tax answer would be to report $0 in income from the fork. The IRS would be most likely to disagree with this approach, especially since it results in the least amount of income reported for the current year (and the most favorable rates going forward). Accordingly, if you go this route, make extra sure you understand what it entails.
Note, once you've decided what to report as taxable income, this amount also becomes your cost basis in the new crypto (BCH). Thus, when you ultimately sell your BCH (or trade it for something else as described above), you calculate your gain/loss based on what you included in taxable income from the fork.
Finally, there is one more approach to dealing with forks worth mentioning. A fork "feels" a lot like a dividend - because you held BTC, you get BCH. In a stock world, if I get a cash dividend because I own the stock, that money is not treated as a "treasure trove" and subject to ordinary income rates - in most cases, it is a qualified dividend and subject to capital gain rates; in some cases, some types of stock dividends are completely non taxable. This article discusses this idea in slightly more detail and generally concludes that forks should not be treated as a dividend. Still, I would note that I'm unaware of any court cases directly testing this theory.
Ultimately, this post is supposed to be practical, so let me make sure to leave you with two key thoughts about the taxation of forks. First, I believe that the majority of evidence suggests that forks should be treated as a "treasure trove" and reported as ordinary income based on their value at creation and that this is certainly the "safest" option. Second, out of everything discussed in this post, I also believe that the correct taxation of forks is the murkiest and most "up for debate" area. If you are interested in a more detailed discussion of forks, see this thread for a previous version of this post discussing it at even more length and the comments for a discussion of this with the tax community.
Mining Crypto
Successfully mining crypto coins is a taxable event. Depending on the amount of effort you put into mining, it is either considered a hobby or a self-employment (business) activity. The IRS provides the following list of questions to help decide the correct classification:
  • The manner in which the taxpayer carries on the activity.
  • The expertise of the taxpayer or his advisors.
  • The time and effort expended by the taxpayer in carrying on the activity.
  • Expectation that assets used in activity may appreciate in value.
  • The success of the taxpayer in carrying on other similar or dissimilar activities.
  • The taxpayer’s history of income or losses with respect to the activity.
  • The amount of occasional profits, if any, which are earned.
If this still sounds complicated, that's because the distinction is subject to some amount of interpretation. As a rule of thumb, randomly mining crypto on an old computer is probably a hobby; mining full time on a custom rig is probably a business.
In either event, you must include in income the fair market value of any coins you successfully mine. These are ordinary income and your basis in these coins is their fair market value on the date they were mined. If your mining is a hobby, they go on line 21 (other income) and any expenses directly associated with mining go on schedule A (miscellaneous subject to 2% of AGI limitation). If your mining is a business, income and expenses go on schedule C.
Both approaches have pros and cons - hobby income isn't subject to the 15.3% self-employment tax, only normal income tax, but you get fewer deductions against your income and the deductions you get are less valuable. Business income has more deductions available, but you have to pay payroll (self-employment) tax of about 15.3% in addition to normal income tax.
What if I didn't keep good records? Do I really have to report every transaction?
One nice thing about the IRS treating crypto as an asset is that we can look at how the IRS treats people that "day trade" stock and often don't keep great records/have lots of transactions. While you need to be as accurate as possible, it is ok to estimate a little bit if you don't have exact records (especially concerning your cost basis). You need to put in some effort (research historical prices, etc...) and be reasonable, but the IRS would much rather you do a little bit of reasonable estimation as opposed to just not reporting anything. Sure, they might decide to audit you/disagree with some specifics, but you earn yourself a lot of credit if you can show that you honestly did the best you reasonably could and are making efforts to improve going forward.
However, concerning reporting every transaction - yes, sorry, it is clear that you have to do this, even if you made hundreds or thousands of them. Stock traders have had to go through this for many decades, and there is absolutely no reason to believe that the IRS would accept anything less from the crypto community. If you have the records or have any reasonable way of obtaining records/estimating them, you must report every transaction.
What if I don't trust you?
Well, first let me say that I can't believe you made it all the way down here to this section. Thanks for giving me an honest hearing. I would strongly encourage you to go read other well-written, honest guides. I'll link to some I like (both more technical IRS type guides and more crypto community driven guides). While a certain portion of the crypto community seems to view one of the benefits of crypto as avoiding all government regulation (including taxes), I've been pleasantly surprised to find that many crypto forums contain well reasoned, accurate tax guides. While I may not agree with 100% of their conclusions, that likely reflects true uncertainty around tax law that is fundamentally complex rather than an attempt on either end to help individuals unlawfully avoid taxes.
IRS guides
Non-IRS guides
submitted by Mrme487 to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Crypto-Currency: A Guide to Common Tax Situations

Introduction
All,
Based on the rapid increase in popularity and price of bitcoin, litecoin, and other crypto currencies (particularly over the past year), I expect that lots of people have questions about how crypto currency will impact their taxes. This thread attempts to address several common issues. I'm posting similar versions of it here, in several other major crypto subs, and in personalfinance.
I'd like to thank the /personalfinance mod team and the /tax community for their help with this thread and especially for reading earlier versions and offering several valuable suggestions/corrections.
Finally, please note that this thread attempts to provide information about your tax obligations as defined by United States law (and interpreted by the IRS under the direction of the Treasury Department). I understand that a certain portion of the crypto community tends to view crypto as "tax free" due to the (actual and perceived) difficulty for the IRS to "know" about the transactions involved. I will not discuss unlawfully concealing crypto gains here nor will I suggest illegal tax avoidance activities.
The Basics
This section is best for people that don't understand much about taxes. It covers some very basic tax principles. It also assumes that all you did during the year was buy/sell a single crypto currency.
Fundamentally, the IRS treats crypto not as money, but as an asset (investment). While there are a few specific "twists" when it comes to crypto, when in doubt replace the word "crypto" with the word "stock" and you will get a pretty good idea how you should report and pay tax on crypto.
The first thing you should know is that the majority of this discussion applies to the taxes you are currently working on (2017 taxes). The tax bill that just passed applies to 2018 taxes (with a few very tiny exceptions), which most people will file in early 2019.
In general, you don't have to report or pay taxes on crypto currency holdings until you "cash out" all or part of your holdings. For now, I'm going to assume that you cash out by selling them for USD; however, other forms of cashing out will be covered later.
When you sell crypto, you report the difference between your basis (purchase price) and proceeds (sale price) on Schedule D. Your purchase price is commonly referred to as your basis; while the two terms don't mean exactly the same thing, they are pretty close to one another (in particular, there are three ways to calculate your basis - your average cost, a first-in, first-out method, and a "specific identification" method. See more about these here and here). If you sell at a gain, this gain increases your tax liability; if you sell at a loss, this loss decreases your tax liability (in most cases). If you sell multiple times during the year, you report each transaction separately (bad news if you trade often) but get to lump all your gains/losses together when determining how the trades impact your income.
One important thing to remember is that there are two different types of gains/losses from investments - short term gains (if you held an asset for one year or less) and long term gains (over one year; i.e. one year and one day). Short term gains are taxed at your marginal income rate (basically, just like if you had earned that money at a job) while long term gains are taxed at lower rates.
For most people, long term capital gains are taxed at 15%. However, if you are in the 10% or 15% tax bracket, congrats - your gains (up to the maximum amount of "unused space" in your bracket) are tax free! If you are in the 25%, 28%, 33%, or 35% bracket, long term gains are taxed at 15%. If you are in the 39.6% bracket, long term gains are taxed at 20%. Additionally, there is an "extra" 3.8% tax that applies to gains for those above $200,000/$250,000 (single/married). The exact computation of this tax is a little complicated, but if you are close to the $200,000 level, just know that it exists.
Finally, you should know that I'm assuming that you should treat your crypto gains/losses as investment gains/losses. I'm sure some people will try and argue that they are really "day traders" of crypto and trade as a full time job. While this is possible, the vast majority of people don't qualify for this status and you should really think several times before deciding you want to try that approach on the IRS.
"Cashing Out" - Trading Crypto for Goods/Services
I realize that not everyone that "cashes out" of crypto does so by selling it for USD. In fact, I understand that some in the crypto community view the necessity of cashing out itself as a type of myth. In this section, I discuss what happens if you trade your crypto for basically anything that isn't cash (minor sidenote - see next section for a special discussion on trading crypto for crypto; i.e. buying altcoins with crypto).
The IRS views trading crypto for something of value as a type of bartering that must be included in income. From the IRS's perspective, it doesn't matter if you sold crypto for cash and bought a car with that cash or if you just traded crypto directly for the car - in both cases, the IRS views you as having sold your crypto. This approach isn't unique to crypto - it works the same way if you trade stock for something.
This means that if you do trade your crypto for "stuff", you have to report every exchange as a sale of your crypto and calculate the gain/loss on that sale, just as if you had sold the crypto for cash.
Finally, there is one important exception to this rule. If you give your crypto away to charity (one recognized by the IRS; like a 501(c)(3) organization), the IRS doesn't make you report/pay any capital gains on the transaction. Additionally, you still get to deduct the value of your donation on the date it was made. Now, from a "selfish" point of view, you will always end up with more money if you sell the crypto, pay the tax, and keep the rest. But, if you are going to make a donation anyway, especially a large one, giving crypto where you have a big unrealized/untaxed gain is a very efficient way of doing so.
"Alt Coins" - Buying Crypto with Crypto
The previous section discusses what happens when you trade crypto for stuff. However, one thing that surprises many people is that trading crypto for crypto is also a taxable event, just like trading crypto for a car. Whether you agree with this position or not, it makes a lot of sense once you realize that the IRS doesn't view crypto as money, but instead as an asset. So to the IRS, trading bitcoin for ripple isn't like trading dollars for euros, but it is instead like trading shares of Apple stock for shares of Tesla stock.
Practically, what this means is that if you trade one crypto for another crypto (say BTC for XRP just to illustrate the point), the IRS views you as doing the following:
  • Selling for cash the amount of BTC you actually traded for XRP.
  • Owing capital gains/losses on the BTC based on its selling price (the fair market value at the moment of the exchange) and your purchase price (basis).
  • Buying a new investment (XRP) with a cost basis equal to the amount the BTC was worth when you exchanged them.
This means that if you "time" your trade wrong and the value of XRP goes down after you make the exchange, you still owe tax on your BTC gain even though you subsequently lost money. The one good piece of news in this is that when/if you sell your XRP (or change it back to BTC), you will get a capital loss for the value that XRP dropped.
There is one final point worth discussing in this section - the so called "like kind exchange" rules (aka section 1031 exchange). At a high level, these rules say that you can "swap" property with someone else without having to pay taxes on the exchange as long as you get property in return that is "like kind". Typically, these rules are used in real estate transactions. However, they can also apply to other types of transactions as well.
While the idea is simple (and makes it sound like crypto for crypto should qualify), the exact rules/details of this exception are very fact specific. Most experts (including myself, but certainly not calling myself an expert) believe that a crypto for crypto swap is not a like kind exchange. The recently passed tax bill also explicitly clarifies this issue - starting in 2018, only real estate qualifies for like kind exchange treatment. So, basically, the vast majority of evidence suggests that you can't use this "loophole" for 2017; however, there is a small minority view/some small amount of belief that this treatment would work for 2017 taxes and it is worth noting that I'm unaware of any court cases directly testing this approach.
Dealing with "Forks"
Perhaps another unpleasant surprise for crypto holders is that "forks" to create a new crypto also very likely generate a taxable event. The IRS has long (since at least the 1960s) held that "found" money is a taxable event. This approach has been litigated in court and courts have consistently upheld this position; it even has its own cool nerdy tax name - the "treasure trove" doctrine.
Practically, what this means is that if you owned BTC and it "forked" to create BCH, then the fair market value of the BCH you received is considered a "treasure trove" that must be reported as income (ordinary income - no capital gain rates). This is true whether or not you sold your BCH; if you got BCH from a fork, that is a taxable event (note - I'll continue using BTC forking to BCH in this section as an example, but the logic applies to all forks).
While everything I've discussed up to this point is pretty clearly established tax law, forks are really where things get messy with taxes. Thus, the remainder of this section contains more speculation than elsewhere in this post - the truth is that while the idea is simple (fork = free money = taxable), the details are messy and other kinds of tax treatment might apply to forks.
One basic practical problem with forks is that the new currency doesn't necessarily start trading immediately. Thus, you may have received BCH before there was a clear price or market for it. Basically, you owe tax on the value of BCH when you received it, but it isn't completely clear what that value was. There are several ways you can handle this; I'll list them in order from most accurate to least accurate (but note that this is just my personal view and there is ongoing disagreement on this issue with little/no authoritative guidance).
  • Use a futures market to determine the value of the BCH - if reliable sources published realistic estimates of what BCH will trade for in the future once trading begins, use this estimate as the value of your BCH. Pros/cons - futures markets are, in theory, pretty accurate. However, if they are volatile/subject to manipulation, they may provide an incorrect estimate of the true value of BCH. It would suck to use the first futures value published only to have that value plummet shortly thereafter, leaving you to pay ordinary income tax but only have an unrealized capital loss.
  • Wait until an exchange starts trading BCH; use the actual ("spot" price) as the value. Pros/cons - spot prices certainly reflect what you could have sold BCH for; however, it is possible that the true value of the coin was highelower when you received it as compared to when it started trading on the exchange. Thus this method seems less accurate to me than a futures based approach, but it is still certainly fairly reasonable.
  • Assume that the value is $0. This is my least preferred option, but there is still a case to be made for it. If you receive something that you didn't want, can't access, can't sell, and might fail, does it have any value? I believe the answer is yes (maybe not value it perfectly, but value it somewhat accurately), but if you honestly think the answer is no, then the correct tax answer would be to report $0 in income from the fork. The IRS would be most likely to disagree with this approach, especially since it results in the least amount of income reported for the current year (and the most favorable rates going forward). Accordingly, if you go this route, make extra sure you understand what it entails.
Note, once you've decided what to report as taxable income, this amount also becomes your cost basis in the new crypto (BCH). Thus, when you ultimately sell your BCH (or trade it for something else as described above), you calculate your gain/loss based on what you included in taxable income from the fork.
Finally, there is one more approach to dealing with forks worth mentioning. A fork "feels" a lot like a dividend - because you held BTC, you get BCH. In a stock world, if I get a cash dividend because I own the stock, that money is not treated as a "treasure trove" and subject to ordinary income rates - in most cases, it is a qualified dividend and subject to capital gain rates; in some cases, some types of stock dividends are completely non taxable. This article discusses this idea in slightly more detail and generally concludes that forks should not be treated as a dividend. Still, I would note that I'm unaware of any court cases directly testing this theory.
Ultimately, this post is supposed to be practical, so let me make sure to leave you with two key thoughts about the taxation of forks. First, I believe that the majority of evidence suggests that forks should be treated as a "treasure trove" and reported as ordinary income based on their value at creation and that this is certainly the "safest" option. Second, out of everything discussed in this post, I also believe that the correct taxation of forks is the murkiest and most "up for debate" area. If you are interested in a more detailed discussion of forks, see this thread for a previous version of this post discussing it at even more length and the comments for a discussion of this with the tax community.
Mining Crypto
Successfully mining crypto coins is a taxable event. Depending on the amount of effort you put into mining, it is either considered a hobby or a self-employment (business) activity. The IRS provides the following list of questions to help decide the correct classification:
  • The manner in which the taxpayer carries on the activity.
  • The expertise of the taxpayer or his advisors.
  • The time and effort expended by the taxpayer in carrying on the activity.
  • Expectation that assets used in activity may appreciate in value.
  • The success of the taxpayer in carrying on other similar or dissimilar activities.
  • The taxpayer’s history of income or losses with respect to the activity.
  • The amount of occasional profits, if any, which are earned.
If this still sounds complicated, that's because the distinction is subject to some amount of interpretation. As a rule of thumb, randomly mining crypto on an old computer is probably a hobby; mining full time on a custom rig is probably a business.
In either event, you must include in income the fair market value of any coins you successfully mine. These are ordinary income and your basis in these coins is their fair market value on the date they were mined. If your mining is a hobby, they go on line 21 (other income) and any expenses directly associated with mining go on schedule A (miscellaneous subject to 2% of AGI limitation). If your mining is a business, income and expenses go on schedule C.
Both approaches have pros and cons - hobby income isn't subject to the 15.3% self-employment tax, only normal income tax, but you get fewer deductions against your income and the deductions you get are less valuable. Business income has more deductions available, but you have to pay payroll (self-employment) tax of about 15.3% in addition to normal income tax.
What if I didn't keep good records? Do I really have to report every transaction?
One nice thing about the IRS treating crypto as an asset is that we can look at how the IRS treats people that "day trade" stock and often don't keep great records/have lots of transactions. While you need to be as accurate as possible, it is ok to estimate a little bit if you don't have exact records (especially concerning your cost basis). You need to put in some effort (research historical prices, etc...) and be reasonable, but the IRS would much rather you do a little bit of reasonable estimation as opposed to just not reporting anything. Sure, they might decide to audit you/disagree with some specifics, but you earn yourself a lot of credit if you can show that you honestly did the best you reasonably could and are making efforts to improve going forward.
However, concerning reporting every transaction - yes, sorry, it is clear that you have to do this, even if you made hundreds or thousands of them. Stock traders have had to go through this for many decades, and there is absolutely no reason to believe that the IRS would accept anything less from the crypto community. If you have the records or have any reasonable way of obtaining records/estimating them, you must report every transaction.
What if I don't trust you?
Well, first let me say that I can't believe you made it all the way down here to this section. Thanks for giving me an honest hearing. I would strongly encourage you to go read other well-written, honest guides. I'll link to some I like (both more technical IRS type guides and more crypto community driven guides). While a certain portion of the crypto community seems to view one of the benefits of crypto as avoiding all government regulation (including taxes), I've been pleasantly surprised to find that many crypto forums contain well reasoned, accurate tax guides. While I may not agree with 100% of their conclusions, that likely reflects true uncertainty around tax law that is fundamentally complex rather than an attempt on either end to help individuals unlawfully avoid taxes.
IRS guides
Non-IRS guides
submitted by Mrme487 to litecoin [link] [comments]

The Origins of the Blocksize Debate

On May 4, 2015, Gavin Andresen wrote on his blog:
I was planning to submit a pull request to the 0.11 release of Bitcoin Core that will allow miners to create blocks bigger than one megabyte, starting a little less than a year from now. But this process of peer review turned up a technical issue that needs to get addressed, and I don’t think it can be fixed in time for the first 0.11 release.
I will be writing a series of blog posts, each addressing one argument against raising the maximum block size, or against scheduling a raise right now... please send me an email ([email protected]) if I am missing any arguments
In other words, Gavin proposed a hard fork via a series of blog posts, bypassing all developer communication channels altogether and asking for personal, private emails from anyone interested in discussing the proposal further.
On May 5 (1 day after Gavin submitted his first blog post), Mike Hearn published The capacity cliff on his Medium page. 2 days later, he posted Crash landing. In these posts, he argued:
A common argument for letting Bitcoin blocks fill up is that the outcome won’t be so bad: just a market for fees... this is wrong. I don’t believe fees will become high and stable if Bitcoin runs out of capacity. Instead, I believe Bitcoin will crash.
...a permanent backlog would start to build up... as the backlog grows, nodes will start running out of memory and dying... as Core will accept any transaction that’s valid without any limit a node crash is eventually inevitable.
He also, in the latter article, explained that he disagreed with Satoshi's vision for how Bitcoin would mature[1][2]:
Neither me nor Gavin believe a fee market will work as a substitute for the inflation subsidy.
Gavin continued to publish the series of blog posts he had announced while Hearn made these predictions. [1][2][3][4][5][6][7]
Matt Corallo brought Gavin's proposal up on the bitcoin-dev mailing list after a few days. He wrote:
Recently there has been a flurry of posts by Gavin at http://gavinandresen.svbtle.com/ which advocate strongly for increasing the maximum block size. However, there hasnt been any discussion on this mailing list in several years as far as I can tell...
So, at the risk of starting a flamewar, I'll provide a little bait to get some responses and hope the discussion opens up into an honest comparison of the tradeoffs here. Certainly a consensus in this kind of technical community should be a basic requirement for any serious commitment to blocksize increase.
Personally, I'm rather strongly against any commitment to a block size increase in the near future. Long-term incentive compatibility requires that there be some fee pressure, and that blocks be relatively consistently full or very nearly full. What we see today are transactions enjoying next-block confirmations with nearly zero pressure to include any fee at all (though many do because it makes wallet code simpler).
This allows the well-funded Bitcoin ecosystem to continue building systems which rely on transactions moving quickly into blocks while pretending these systems scale. Thus, instead of working on technologies which bring Bitcoin's trustlessness to systems which scale beyond a blockchain's necessarily slow and (compared to updating numbers in a database) expensive settlement, the ecosystem as a whole continues to focus on building centralized platforms and advocate for changes to Bitcoin which allow them to maintain the status quo
Shortly thereafter, Corallo explained further:
The point of the hard block size limit is exactly because giving miners free rule to do anything they like with their blocks would allow them to do any number of crazy attacks. The incentives for miners to pick block sizes are no where near compatible with what allows the network to continue to run in a decentralized manner.
Tier Nolan considered possible extensions and modifications that might improve Gavin's proposal and argued that soft caps could be used to mitigate against the dangers of a blocksize increase. Tom Harding voiced support for Gavin's proposal
Peter Todd mentioned that a limited blocksize provides the benefit of protecting against the "perverse incentives" behind potential block withholding attacks.
Slush didn't have a strong opinion one way or the other, and neither did Eric Lombrozo, though Eric was interested in developing hard-fork best practices and wanted to:
explore all the complexities involved with deployment of hard forks. Let’s not just do a one-off ad-hoc thing.
Matt Whitlock voiced his opinion:
I'm not so much opposed to a block size increase as I am opposed to a hard fork... I strongly fear that the hard fork itself will become an excuse to change other aspects of the system in ways that will have unintended and possibly disastrous consequences.
Bryan Bishop strongly opposed Gavin's proposal, and offered a philosophical perspective on the matter:
there has been significant public discussion... about why increasing the max block size is kicking the can down the road while possibly compromising blockchain security. There were many excellent objections that were raised that, sadly, I see are not referenced at all in the recent media blitz. Frankly I can't help but feel that if contributions, like those from #bitcoin-wizards, have been ignored in lieu of technical analysis, and the absence of discussion on this mailing list, that I feel perhaps there are other subtle and extremely important technical details that are completely absent from this--and other-- proposals.
Secured decentralization is the most important and most interesting property of bitcoin. Everything else is rather trivial and could be achieved millions of times more efficiently with conventional technology. Our technical work should be informed by the technical nature of the system we have constructed.
There's no doubt in my mind that bitcoin will always see the most extreme campaigns and the most extreme misunderstandings... for development purposes we must hold ourselves to extremely high standards before proposing changes, especially to the public, that have the potential to be unsafe and economically unsafe.
There are many potential technical solutions for aggregating millions (trillions?) of transactions into tiny bundles. As a small proof-of-concept, imagine two parties sending transactions back and forth 100 million times. Instead of recording every transaction, you could record the start state and the end state, and end up with two transactions or less. That's a 100 million fold, without modifying max block size and without potentially compromising secured decentralization.
The MIT group should listen up and get to work figuring out how to measure decentralization and its security.. Getting this measurement right would be really beneficial because we would have a more academic and technical understanding to work with.
Gregory Maxwell echoed and extended that perspective:
When Bitcoin is changed fundamentally, via a hard fork, to have different properties, the change can create winners or losers...
There are non-trivial number of people who hold extremes on any of these general belief patterns; Even among the core developers there is not a consensus on Bitcoin's optimal role in society and the commercial marketplace.
there is a at least a two fold concern on this particular ("Long term Mining incentives") front:
One is that the long-held argument is that security of the Bitcoin system in the long term depends on fee income funding autonomous, anonymous, decentralized miners profitably applying enough hash-power to make reorganizations infeasible.
For fees to achieve this purpose, there seemingly must be an effective scarcity of capacity.
The second is that when subsidy has fallen well below fees, the incentive to move the blockchain forward goes away. An optimal rational miner would be best off forking off the current best block in order to capture its fees, rather than moving the blockchain forward...
tools like the Lightning network proposal could well allow us to hit a greater spectrum of demands at once--including secure zero-confirmation (something that larger blocksizes reduce if anything), which is important for many applications. With the right technology I believe we can have our cake and eat it too, but there needs to be a reason to build it; the security and decentralization level of Bitcoin imposes a hard upper limit on anything that can be based on it.
Another key point here is that the small bumps in blocksize which wouldn't clearly knock the system into a largely centralized mode--small constants--are small enough that they don't quantitatively change the operation of the system; they don't open up new applications that aren't possible today
the procedure I'd prefer would be something like this: if there is a standing backlog, we-the-community of users look to indicators to gauge if the network is losing decentralization and then double the hard limit with proper controls to allow smooth adjustment without fees going to zero (see the past proposals for automatic block size controls that let miners increase up to a hard maximum over the median if they mine at quadratically harder difficulty), and we don't increase if it appears it would be at a substantial increase in centralization risk. Hardfork changes should only be made if they're almost completely uncontroversial--where virtually everyone can look at the available data and say "yea, that isn't undermining my property rights or future use of Bitcoin; it's no big deal". Unfortunately, every indicator I can think of except fee totals has been going in the wrong direction almost monotonically along with the blockchain size increase since 2012 when we started hitting full blocks and responded by increasing the default soft target. This is frustrating
many people--myself included--have been working feverishly hard behind the scenes on Bitcoin Core to increase the scalability. This work isn't small-potatoes boring software engineering stuff; I mean even my personal contributions include things like inventing a wholly new generic algebraic optimization applicable to all EC signature schemes that increases performance by 4%, and that is before getting into the R&D stuff that hasn't really borne fruit yet, like fraud proofs. Today Bitcoin Core is easily >100 times faster to synchronize and relay than when I first got involved on the same hardware, but these improvements have been swallowed by the growth. The ironic thing is that our frantic efforts to keep ahead and not lose decentralization have both not been enough (by the best measures, full node usage is the lowest its been since 2011 even though the user base is huge now) and yet also so much that people could seriously talk about increasing the block size to something gigantic like 20MB. This sounds less reasonable when you realize that even at 1MB we'd likely have a smoking hole in the ground if not for existing enormous efforts to make scaling not come at a loss of decentralization.
Peter Todd also summarized some academic findings on the subject:
In short, without either a fixed blocksize or fixed fee per transaction Bitcoin will will not survive as there is no viable way to pay for PoW security. The latter option - fixed fee per transaction - is non-trivial to implement in a way that's actually meaningful - it's easy to give miners "kickbacks" - leaving us with a fixed blocksize.
Even a relatively small increase to 20MB will greatly reduce the number of people who can participate fully in Bitcoin, creating an environment where the next increase requires the consent of an even smaller portion of the Bitcoin ecosystem. Where does that stop? What's the proposed mechanism that'll create an incentive and social consensus to not just 'kick the can down the road'(3) and further centralize but actually scale up Bitcoin the hard way?
Some developers (e.g. Aaron Voisine) voiced support for Gavin's proposal which repeated Mike Hearn's "crash landing" arguments.
Pieter Wuille said:
I am - in general - in favor of increasing the size blocks...
Controversial hard forks. I hope the mailing list here today already proves it is a controversial issue. Independent of personal opinions pro or against, I don't think we can do a hard fork that is controversial in nature. Either the result is effectively a fork, and pre-existing coins can be spent once on both sides (effectively failing Bitcoin's primary purpose), or the result is one side forced to upgrade to something they dislike - effectively giving a power to developers they should never have. Quoting someone: "I did not sign up to be part of a central banker's committee".
The reason for increasing is "need". If "we need more space in blocks" is the reason to do an upgrade, it won't stop after 20 MB. There is nothing fundamental possible with 20 MB blocks that isn't with 1 MB blocks.
Misrepresentation of the trade-offs. You can argue all you want that none of the effects of larger blocks are particularly damaging, so everything is fine. They will damage something (see below for details), and we should analyze these effects, and be honest about them, and present them as a trade-off made we choose to make to scale the system better. If you just ask people if they want more transactions, of course you'll hear yes. If you ask people if they want to pay less taxes, I'm sure the vast majority will agree as well.
Miner centralization. There is currently, as far as I know, no technology that can relay and validate 20 MB blocks across the planet, in a manner fast enough to avoid very significant costs to mining. There is work in progress on this (including Gavin's IBLT-based relay, or Greg's block network coding), but I don't think we should be basing the future of the economics of the system on undemonstrated ideas. Without those (or even with), the result may be that miners self-limit the size of their blocks to propagate faster, but if this happens, larger, better-connected, and more centrally-located groups of miners gain a competitive advantage by being able to produce larger blocks. I would like to point out that there is nothing evil about this - a simple feedback to determine an optimal block size for an individual miner will result in larger blocks for better connected hash power. If we do not want miners to have this ability, "we" (as in: those using full nodes) should demand limitations that prevent it. One such limitation is a block size limit (whatever it is).
Ability to use a full node.
Skewed incentives for improvements... without actual pressure to work on these, I doubt much will change. Increasing the size of blocks now will simply make it cheap enough to continue business as usual for a while - while forcing a massive cost increase (and not just a monetary one) on the entire ecosystem.
Fees and long-term incentives.
I don't think 1 MB is optimal. Block size is a compromise between scalability of transactions and verifiability of the system. A system with 10 transactions per day that is verifiable by a pocket calculator is not useful, as it would only serve a few large bank's settlements. A system which can deal with every coffee bought on the planet, but requires a Google-scale data center to verify is also not useful, as it would be trivially out-competed by a VISA-like design. The usefulness needs in a balance, and there is no optimal choice for everyone. We can choose where that balance lies, but we must accept that this is done as a trade-off, and that that trade-off will have costs such as hardware costs, decreasing anonymity, less independence, smaller target audience for people able to fully validate, ...
Choose wisely.
Mike Hearn responded:
this list is not a good place for making progress or reaching decisions.
if Bitcoin continues on its current growth trends it will run out of capacity, almost certainly by some time next year. What we need to see right now is leadership and a plan, that fits in the available time window.
I no longer believe this community can reach consensus on anything protocol related.
When the money supply eventually dwindles I doubt it will be fee pressure that funds mining
What I don't see from you yet is a specific and credible plan that fits within the next 12 months and which allows Bitcoin to keep growing.
Peter Todd then pointed out that, contrary to Mike's claims, developer consensus had been achieved within Core plenty of times recently. Btc-drak asked Mike to "explain where the 12 months timeframe comes from?"
Jorge Timón wrote an incredibly prescient reply to Mike:
We've successfully reached consensus for several softfork proposals already. I agree with others that hardfork need to be uncontroversial and there should be consensus about them. If you have other ideas for the criteria for hardfork deployment all I'm ears. I just hope that by "What we need to see right now is leadership" you don't mean something like "when Gaving and Mike agree it's enough to deploy a hardfork" when you go from vague to concrete.
Oh, so your answer to "bitcoin will eventually need to live on fees and we would like to know more about how it will look like then" it's "no bitcoin long term it's broken long term but that's far away in the future so let's just worry about the present". I agree that it's hard to predict that future, but having some competition for block space would actually help us get more data on a similar situation to be able to predict that future better. What you want to avoid at all cost (the block size actually being used), I see as the best opportunity we have to look into the future.
this is my plan: we wait 12 months... and start having full blocks and people having to wait 2 blocks for their transactions to be confirmed some times. That would be the beginning of a true "fee market", something that Gavin used to say was his #1 priority not so long ago (which seems contradictory with his current efforts to avoid that from happening). Having a true fee market seems clearly an advantage. What are supposedly disastrous negative parts of this plan that make an alternative plan (ie: increasing the block size) so necessary and obvious. I think the advocates of the size increase are failing to explain the disadvantages of maintaining the current size. It feels like the explanation are missing because it should be somehow obvious how the sky will burn if we don't increase the block size soon. But, well, it is not obvious to me, so please elaborate on why having a fee market (instead of just an price estimator for a market that doesn't even really exist) would be a disaster.
Some suspected Gavin/Mike were trying to rush the hard fork for personal reasons.
Mike Hearn's response was to demand a "leader" who could unilaterally steer the Bitcoin project and make decisions unchecked:
No. What I meant is that someone (theoretically Wladimir) needs to make a clear decision. If that decision is "Bitcoin Core will wait and watch the fireworks when blocks get full", that would be showing leadership
I will write more on the topic of what will happen if we hit the block size limit... I don't believe we will get any useful data out of such an event. I've seen distributed systems run out of capacity before. What will happen instead is technological failure followed by rapid user abandonment...
we need to hear something like that from Wladimir, or whoever has the final say around here.
Jorge Timón responded:
it is true that "universally uncontroversial" (which is what I think the requirement should be for hard forks) is a vague qualifier that's not formally defined anywhere. I guess we should only consider rational arguments. You cannot just nack something without further explanation. If his explanation was "I will change my mind after we increase block size", I guess the community should say "then we will just ignore your nack because it makes no sense". In the same way, when people use fallacies (purposely or not) we must expose that and say "this fallacy doesn't count as an argument". But yeah, it would probably be good to define better what constitutes a "sensible objection" or something. That doesn't seem simple though.
it seems that some people would like to see that happening before the subsidies are low (not necessarily null), while other people are fine waiting for that but don't want to ever be close to the scale limits anytime soon. I would also like to know for how long we need to prioritize short term adoption in this way. As others have said, if the answer is "forever, adoption is always the most important thing" then we will end up with an improved version of Visa. But yeah, this is progress, I'll wait for your more detailed description of the tragedies that will follow hitting the block limits, assuming for now that it will happen in 12 months. My previous answer to the nervous "we will hit the block limits in 12 months if we don't do anything" was "not sure about 12 months, but whatever, great, I'm waiting for that to observe how fees get affected". But it should have been a question "what's wrong with hitting the block limits in 12 months?"
Mike Hearn again asserted the need for a leader:
There must be a single decision maker for any given codebase.
Bryan Bishop attempted to explain why this did not make sense with git architecture.
Finally, Gavin announced his intent to merge the patch into Bitcoin XT to bypass the peer review he had received on the bitcoin-dev mailing list.
submitted by sound8bits to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

My biased look at Sigil (SGL)

DISCLAIMER:
  1. I am invested in this coin, so please take what I have to say with a grain of salt. I do seriously not want to encourage any novice traders (if they survived the dump at least) to naively flock to it (even though this would certainly raise the price)
  2. I want you to be aware that a motivating factor for my post is the weekly bounty that is awarded to those who advertise this coin.
READ: TAKE WHAT I SAY WITH A GRAIN OF SALT, DO YOUR RESEARCH, AND THINK FOR YOURSELF
I don't want to scare potential readers away with this, I just want to play with open cards so that we can have a basis of trust.
This is a compilation of the most important sources on this project. I want you to get an overview of the token, current state of the project, the community and last but not least the mining business. I found this coin through u/Joshalata 's post about how he finds and mines newborn cryptos. It's a great read, and I give kudos to him for leading me here.
Introduction
So, with all of that out of the way, what is Sigil? In their announcement post on bitcointalk, they described their project as follows:
That is nothing that you couldn't get out of their post, so let's pick it apart, shall we?
The Token
As stated in their post, as of now, the max supply will be 50,000,000 SGL.
That puts it into the ballpark of Litecoin (51M circulating/84M max), Bitcoin (21M max), Dash (~19M max) and other coins of higher value, not that that in itself is an indicator of future value.
What sets it apart from other emerging altcoins is the fact that there will be NO ICO to fund their efforts.
All costs associated with establishing this token (development cost, listing fees etc.) are paid out of the devs own pockets, as well as a 5% premine to keep them alive in the meantime. However, only 30% of that premine goes towards the developers and research. The rest is allocated to marketing, legal, and the bounty program , which should be emphasized.
500k SGL are currently being distributed over the bounty program, which rewards community members for completing tasks that generate exposure, such as making a reddit post (hah), doing a video or just generally contributing to the community and the project in some helpful manner (artwork etc.)
At the moment, SGL is already listed on coinhouse, and at its peak traded for ~12$, before sitting comfortably between ~0.50$ at the time of writing this post. As of the 16th of Jan., the developer has contacted Coinexchange, Kucoin, Stocks.Exchange and 27 others in order to get us as much exposure as possible. Expect Updates soon!
The Project
At the moment, decentralized crowdfunding is a market niche without competitors. Filling that gap provides Sigil the potential it requires to be successful where altcoins without a product fail.
As found in their whitepaper, traditional crowdfunding platforms take a sizable cut of the raised funds to cover the companies' expenses, such as general fees as well as fees for payment processing, taxes and marketing.
Sigil's developers estimate that only 60-80% of the raised funds actually end up in the pockets of those leading the campaign. This is where their platform, codenamed Sigil Go, comes in. Through the use of blockchain technology, these fees could be greatly diminished since the process of payment requires nothing more than the transaction fees to sustain miners and stake holders.
At the moment, Wallets for Windows, Linux and Mac are available, providing a robust interface and ease of use through both fast transaction times and fast synchronization.
The roadmap, which is found in the whitepaper, restricts itself to a realistic number of goals.
  • during Q1, the Sigil team will work on getting listed on a number of exchanges, paying the listing fees themselves.
  • Q2 will mark the launch of the Sigil Go Beta, their main project, as well as Wallets for Android and iOS.
  • Q3 will be dedicated to enabling Atomic Swaps in order to trade SGL for other cryptos.
  • lastly, Q4 will be used to launch the Lightning Network, which is focused on reducing both transaction times as well as fees.
The Community
At the moment, we are a small and humble community, with their slack featuring around a thousand members that are actively participating in the giveaways, mining discussions as well as bounties and trading shenanigans.
What stood out to me when I first joined was just how much direct contact there is between community and developers. If you have any questions, whether it is about bounties, the state of development or the mining pool, you can expect that the devs will keep in contact with you.
Giveaways are hosted daily (as often as twice a day), bounties are plentiful, and should the main mining pool be down, you can bet your behind there is no shortage of people reporting it, as well as the devs actively communicating with us in order to resolve the issue ASAP.
Which I guess brings us to...
The Mining
I first stumbled upon Sigil with the intention to mine a low difficulty, high potential coin that could find a market gap for itself, and I think I found what I was looking for.
Mining is done via Neoscrypt algorithm, which currently seems to favor Nvidia cards for its power efficiency and the fact that overclocking both memory and core clock doesn't seem to affect the hashrate by a significant margin, making low TDP mining the way to go.
The announcement post has a useful guide for getting started, but for everyone that just wants to do a quick test drive, I will provide a little quickstart guide:
DISCLAIMER: THE .7z's CONTAINING CCMINER AND NSGMINER ARE STRICTLY FOR ILLUSTRATING THE MINING PROCESS.
I DO NOT TAKE ANY CREDIT FOR THE WORK KLAUST AND GHOSTLANDER HAVE DONE TO PROVIDE US WITH THE SOFTWARE.
I AM ONLY PROVIDING EXAMPLES FOR THE WINDOWSx64 OPERATING SYSTEM, SORRY LINUX USERS :(
  • download the wallet at their website
  • register at the main pool (0% fee, highly configurable, live stats)
  • under "My Account" -> "My Workers" register a new worker with a name and a password.
  • a) If you are using Nvidia GPUs, download this
  • b) If you are using AMD GPUs, download this
  • Extract the folder, open it, right click on the start.bat and then select "edit"
  • Replace "Username" with the name you registered on the pool, "Workername" with the name of your registered worker, and "Workerpassword" with the password you set for your Worker
  • Save and Exit
  • run the start.bat
  • hope that I did everything correctly
  • Your miner should work now, check the Stats on your Dashboard to gauge Performance
If the miner does not work, I either messed up or there are incompatibilities. In any case, refer to the guide to set it up correctly, or to get info on CPU miners as well as support for other operating systems.
In Conclusion
I cannot predict whether this will be a success or a project destined to fail, noone can. However, for me at least, the project seems promising, the roadmap seems realistic and I've grown to like the community.
Sigil is in its early stages, and if you want, you can join the ride. In the end, isn't this also a crowdfunding campaign? ;)
submitted by Dezli to altcoin [link] [comments]

Crypto-Currency: A Guide to Common US Tax Situations

Introduction
All,
Based on the rapid increase in popularity and price of bitcoin and other crypto currencies (particularly over the past year), I expect that lots of people have questions about how crypto currency will impact their US taxes. This thread attempts to address several common issues. I posted a similar version yesterday, but it was eaten by the filter and I was told that I could repost today. I've also posted a similar version to personalfinance and several other crypto subs.
Please note that this thread attempts to provide information about your tax obligations as defined by United States law (and interpreted by the IRS under the direction of the Treasury Department). I understand that a certain portion of the crypto community tends to view crypto as "tax free" due to the (actual and perceived) difficulty for the IRS to "know" about the transactions involved. I will not discuss unlawfully concealing crypto gains here nor will I suggest illegal tax avoidance activities.
The Basics
This section is best for people that don't understand much about taxes. It covers some very basic tax principles. It also assumes that all you did during the year was buy/sell a single crypto currency.
Fundamentally, the IRS treats crypto not as money, but as an asset (investment). While there are a few specific "twists" when it comes to crypto, when in doubt replace the word "crypto" with the word "stock" and you will get a pretty good idea how you should report and pay tax on crypto.
The first thing you should know is that the majority of this discussion applies to the taxes you are currently working on (2017 taxes). The tax bill that just passed applies to 2018 taxes (with a few very tiny exceptions), which most people will file in early 2019.
In general, you don't have to report or pay taxes on crypto currency holdings until you "cash out" all or part of your holdings. For now, I'm going to assume that you cash out by selling them for USD; however, other forms of cashing out will be covered later.
When you sell crypto, you report the difference between your basis (purchase price) and proceeds (sale price) on Schedule D. Your purchase price is commonly referred to as your basis; while the two terms don't mean exactly the same thing, they are pretty close to one another (in particular, there are two ways to calculate your basis - a first-in, first-out method, and a "specific identification" method. See more about these here and here). If you sell at a gain, this gain increases your tax liability; if you sell at a loss, this loss decreases your tax liability (in most cases). If you sell multiple times during the year, you report each transaction separately (bad news if you trade often) but get to lump all your gains/losses together when determining how the trades impact your income.
One important thing to remember is that there are two different types of gains/losses from investments - short term gains (if you held an asset for one year or less) and long term gains (over one year; i.e. one year and one day). Short term gains are taxed at your marginal income rate (basically, just like if you had earned that money at a job) while long term gains are taxed at lower rates.
For most people, long term capital gains are taxed at 15%. However, if you are in the 10% or 15% tax bracket, congrats - your gains (up to the maximum amount of "unused space" in your bracket) are tax free! If you are in the 25%, 28%, 33%, or 35% bracket, long term gains are taxed at 15%. If you are in the 39.6% bracket, long term gains are taxed at 20%. Additionally, there is an "extra" 3.8% tax that applies to gains for those above $200,000/$250,000 (single/married). The exact computation of this tax is a little complicated, but if you are close to the $200,000 level, just know that it exists.
Finally, you should know that I'm assuming that you should treat your crypto gains/losses as investment gains/losses. I'm sure some people will try and argue that they are really "day traders" of crypto and trade as a full time job. While this is possible, the vast majority of people don't qualify for this status and you should really think several times before deciding you want to try that approach on the IRS.
"Cashing Out" - Trading Crypto for Goods/Services
I realize that not everyone that "cashes out" of crypto does so by selling it for USD. In fact, I understand that some in the crypto community view the necessity of cashing out itself as a type of myth. In this section, I discuss what happens if you trade your crypto for basically anything that isn't cash (minor sidenote - see next section for a special discussion on trading crypto for crypto; i.e. buying altcoins with crypto).
The IRS views trading crypto for something of value as a type of bartering that must be included in income. From the IRS's perspective, it doesn't matter if you sold crypto for cash and bought a car with that cash or if you just traded crypto directly for the car - in both cases, the IRS views you as having sold your crypto. This approach isn't unique to crypto - it works the same way if you trade stock for something.
This means that if you do trade your crypto for "stuff", you have to report every exchange as a sale of your crypto and calculate the gain/loss on that sale, just as if you had sold the crypto for cash.
Finally, there is one important exception to this rule. If you give your crypto away to charity (one recognized by the IRS; like a 501(c)(3) organization), the IRS doesn't make you report/pay any capital gains on the transaction. Additionally, you still get to deduct the value of your donation on the date it was made. Now, from a "selfish" point of view, you will always end up with more money if you sell the crypto, pay the tax, and keep the rest. But, if you are going to make a donation anyway, especially a large one, giving crypto where you have a big unrealized/untaxed gain is a very efficient way of doing so.
"Alt Coins" - Buying Crypto with Crypto
The previous section discusses what happens when you trade crypto for stuff. However, one thing that surprises many people is that trading crypto for crypto is also a taxable event, just like trading crypto for a car. Whether you agree with this position or not, it makes a lot of sense once you realize that the IRS doesn't view crypto as money, but instead as an asset. So to the IRS, trading bitcoin for ripple isn't like trading dollars for euros, but it is instead like trading shares of Apple stock for shares of Tesla stock.
Practically, what this means is that if you trade one crypto for another crypto (say BTC for XRP just to illustrate the point), the IRS views you as doing the following:
  • Selling for cash the amount of BTC you actually traded for XRP.
  • Owing capital gains/losses on the BTC based on its selling price (the fair market value at the moment of the exchange) and your purchase price (basis).
  • Buying a new investment (XRP) with a cost basis equal to the amount the BTC was worth when you exchanged them.
This means that if you "time" your trade wrong and the value of XRP goes down after you make the exchange, you still owe tax on your BTC gain even though you subsequently lost money. The one good piece of news in this is that when/if you sell your XRP (or change it back to BTC), you will get a capital loss for the value that XRP dropped.
There is one final point worth discussing in this section - the so called "like kind exchange" rules (aka section 1031 exchange). At a high level, these rules say that you can "swap" property with someone else without having to pay taxes on the exchange as long as you get property in return that is "like kind". Typically, these rules are used in real estate transactions. However, they can also apply to other types of transactions as well.
While the idea is simple (and makes it sound like crypto for crypto should qualify), the exact rules/details of this exception are very fact specific. Most experts (including myself, but certainly not calling myself an expert) believe that a crypto for crypto swap is not a like kind exchange. The recently passed tax bill also explicitly clarifies this issue - starting in 2018, only real estate qualifies for like kind exchange treatment. So, basically, the vast majority of evidence suggests that you can't use this "loophole" for 2017; however, there is a small minority view/some small amount of belief that this treatment would work for 2017 taxes and it is worth noting that I'm unaware of any court cases directly testing this approach.
Dealing with "Forks"
Perhaps another unpleasant surprise for crypto holders is that "forks" to create a new crypto also very likely generate a taxable event. The IRS has long (since at least the 1960s) held that "found" money is a taxable event. This approach has been litigated in court and courts have consistently upheld this position; it even has its own cool nerdy tax name - the "treasure trove" doctrine.
Practically, what this means is that if you owned BTC and it "forked" to create BCH, then the fair market value of the BCH you received is considered a "treasure trove" that must be reported as income (ordinary income - no capital gain rates). This is true whether or not you sold your BCH; if you got BCH from a fork, that is a taxable event (note - I'll continue using BTC forking to BCH in this section as an example, but the logic applies to all forks).
While everything I've discussed up to this point is pretty clearly established tax law, forks are really where things get messy with taxes. Thus, the remainder of this section contains more speculation than elsewhere in this post - the truth is that while the idea is simple (fork = free money = taxable), the details are messy and other kinds of tax treatment might apply to forks.
One basic practical problem with forks is that the new currency doesn't necessarily start trading immediately. Thus, you may have received BCH before there was a clear price or market for it. Basically, you owe tax on the value of BCH when you received it, but it isn't completely clear what that value was. There are several ways you can handle this; I'll list them in order from most accurate to least accurate (but note that this is just my personal view and there is ongoing disagreement on this issue with little/no authoritative guidance).
  • Use a futures market to determine the value of the BCH - if reliable sources published realistic estimates of what BCH will trade for in the future once trading begins, use this estimate as the value of your BCH. Pros/cons - futures markets are, in theory, pretty accurate. However, if they are volatile/subject to manipulation, they may provide an incorrect estimate of the true value of BCH. It would suck to use the first futures value published only to have that value plummet shortly thereafter, leaving you to pay ordinary income tax but only have an unrealized capital loss.
  • Wait until an exchange starts trading BCH; use the actual ("spot" price) as the value. Pros/cons - spot prices certainly reflect what you could have sold BCH for; however, it is possible that the true value of the coin was highelower when you received it as compared to when it started trading on the exchange. Thus this method seems less accurate to me than a futures based approach, but it is still certainly fairly reasonable.
  • Assume that the value is $0. This is my least preferred option, but there is still a case to be made for it. If you receive something that you didn't want, can't access, can't sell, and might fail, does it have any value? I believe the answer is yes (maybe not value it perfectly, but value it somewhat accurately), but if you honestly think the answer is no, then the correct tax answer would be to report $0 in income from the fork. The IRS would be most likely to disagree with this approach, especially since it results in the least amount of income reported for the current year (and the most favorable rates going forward). Accordingly, if you go this route, make extra sure you understand what it entails.
Note, once you've decided what to report as taxable income, this amount also becomes your cost basis in the new crypto (BCH). Thus, when you ultimately sell your BCH (or trade it for something else as described above), you calculate your gain/loss based on what you included in taxable income from the fork.
Finally, there is one more approach to dealing with forks worth mentioning. A fork "feels" a lot like a dividend - because you held BTC, you get BCH. In a stock world, if I get a cash dividend because I own the stock, that money is not treated as a "treasure trove" and subject to ordinary income rates - in most cases, it is a qualified dividend and subject to capital gain rates; in some cases, some types of stock dividends are completely non taxable. This article discusses this idea in slightly more detail and generally concludes that forks should not be treated as a dividend. Still, I would note that I'm unaware of any court cases directly testing this theory.
Ultimately, this post is supposed to be practical, so let me make sure to leave you with two key thoughts about the taxation of forks. First, I believe that the majority of evidence suggests that forks should be treated as a "treasure trove" and reported as ordinary income based on their value at creation and that this is certainly the "safest" option. Second, out of everything discussed in this post, I also believe that the correct taxation of forks is the murkiest and most "up for debate" area. If you are interested in a more detailed discussion of forks, see this thread for a previous version of this post discussing it at even more length and the comments for a discussion of this with the tax community.
Mining Crypto
Successfully mining crypto coins is a taxable event. Depending on the amount of effort you put into mining, it is either considered a hobby or a self-employment (business) activity. The IRS provides the following list of questions to help decide the correct classification:
  • The manner in which the taxpayer carries on the activity.
  • The expertise of the taxpayer or his advisors.
  • The time and effort expended by the taxpayer in carrying on the activity.
  • Expectation that assets used in activity may appreciate in value.
  • The success of the taxpayer in carrying on other similar or dissimilar activities.
  • The taxpayer’s history of income or losses with respect to the activity.
  • The amount of occasional profits, if any, which are earned.
If this still sounds complicated, that's because the distinction is subject to some amount of interpretation. As a rule of thumb, randomly mining crypto on an old computer is probably a hobby; mining full time on a custom rig is probably a business.
In either event, you must include in income the fair market value of any coins you successfully mine. These are ordinary income and your basis in these coins is their fair market value on the date they were mined. If your mining is a hobby, they go on line 21 (other income) and any expenses directly associated with mining go on schedule A (miscellaneous subject to 2% of AGI limitation). If your mining is a business, income and expenses go on schedule C.
Both approaches have pros and cons - hobby income isn't subject to the 15.3% self-employment tax, only normal income tax, but you get fewer deductions against your income and the deductions you get are less valuable. Business income has more deductions available, but you have to pay payroll (self-employment) tax of about 15.3% in addition to normal income tax.
What if I didn't keep good records? Do I really have to report every transaction?
One nice thing about the IRS treating crypto as an asset is that we can look at how the IRS treats people that "day trade" stock and often don't keep great records/have lots of transactions. While you need to be as accurate as possible, it is ok to estimate a little bit if you don't have exact records (especially concerning your cost basis). You need to put in some effort (research historical prices, etc...) and be reasonable, but the IRS would much rather you do a little bit of reasonable estimation as opposed to just not reporting anything. Sure, they might decide to audit you/disagree with some specifics, but you earn yourself a lot of credit if you can show that you honestly did the best you reasonably could and are making efforts to improve going forward.
However, concerning reporting every transaction - yes, sorry, it is clear that you have to do this, even if you made hundreds or thousands of them. Stock traders have had to go through this for many decades, and there is absolutely no reason to believe that the IRS would accept anything less from the crypto community. If you have the records or have any reasonable way of obtaining records/estimating them, you must report every transaction.
What if I don't trust you?
Well, first let me say that I can't believe you made it all the way down here to this section. Thanks for giving me an honest hearing. I would strongly encourage you to go read other well-written, honest guides. I'll link to some I like (both more technical IRS type guides and more crypto community driven guides). While a certain portion of the crypto community seems to view one of the benefits of crypto as avoiding all government regulation (including taxes), I've been pleasantly surprised to find that many crypto forums contain well reasoned, accurate tax guides. While I may not agree with 100% of their conclusions, that likely reflects true uncertainty around tax law that is fundamentally complex rather than an attempt on either end to help individuals unlawfully avoid taxes.
IRS guides
Non-IRS guides
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