What is money? Money is a measurement unit for the purpose of exchange. Money is used for valuation of goods, settling debts, accounting for work performed, and standardizing the measurement of production. Money has to be divisible, portable, stable in value, easy to obtain, durable over time and must be trusted by all parties using it.
Imagine money that is too large to divide into pieces, heavy to carry, spoils after 2 days, gets damaged easily or can be eaten by animals? If these are the characteristics of the currency, it would not be that useful and many business deals would not happen.
The most important element of money is trust. If you work for someone and you are not sure if you will get paid, would you do the work? If you did the work, and you got paid for something that was not accepted in many places, is it a valid payment? The economy and money system are built on trust, and it can be broken by a lack of trust by the majority of people.
Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are becoming more popular as a form of payment and as investment. However, there has been little attention paid to how this virtual currency will be treated by the IRS until now. In fact, the IRS is taking a much closer look and has established some tax guidelines.
According to an article published in accountingtoday.com, “For federal tax purposes, virtual currency is treated as property and not currency.” They add, “The fair market value of the virtual currency on the date of receipt determines the taxpayer’s basis.”
Some businesses are actually paying employee wages in virtual currency instead of U.S. dollars. Read More
Mark Twain has been credited with expressing that “History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes,” Regardless of who crafted the sentiment; it is clearly consistent with my experience associated with some disruptive technologies that are showing up in today’s financial markets.
Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once stated, “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT), the underlying software system that is simply and commonly referred to as Blockchain is an example of this “Truth”. This DLT system uses the collective computing power of many autonomous systems all agreeing on factual transactions covered by a specific ledger (e.g. Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dash, etc.). Read More
Gold and Bitcoin have been used synonymously as safe havens and currencies. What is a safe haven? It is a place to park wealth or money when there is a high degree of uncertainty in the environment. It has to be something that everyone can believe in even if the current institutions, governments or players in the business game are not available. The wealth has to be kept safe in times of trouble. What are the risks to someone’s wealth? There is theft by robbery if it is a physical asset. There is damage by fire, flood or other elements. There is the legal issue in not being able to determine if the asset is really yours or not. There is access risk in that you may own the asset but may not be able to get your hands on it. You may own the asset but may not be able to use it due to some restriction. Who else do you have to rely on to be able to use your wealth – spending it, investing it or converting it into different units of measure (currencies)? Read More