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10 cryptocurrency news stories that tickle our fancy

(FINANCE) Everything you wanted to know about recent cryptocurrency stories in a nice little list so you don’t have to lift a finger. You’re welcome.

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Cyrptocurrency is the buzz here at AG, and we’ve collected some of our favorite crypto stories all in one place for your reading pleasure. Full disclosure, I wrote like, half of these. But I swear I didn’t pick the list — it was curated by the higher ups. Get all caught up on the latest in digital currency and have fun rabbit-holing down whatever catches your attention:

How to keep the IRS off of your ass when you invest
So you bought some Bitcoin because all your friends were doing it, but now tax time is coming up and you’re like wait what do I do with this? Does the IRS need to know about my awesome digital currency investment? Yes, they do. Good news though, you can stay out of tax jail using Token Tax, a tool that helps report your cryptocurrency investments. Think of it as the Turbo Tax of crypto, and your personal tax savior this year.

AI can spot crypto investment opportunities
Take most of the thought out of investing your crypto with TokenAI, a decentralized investment platform powered by artificial intelligence. Advanced algorithms anticipate market trends, and users have access to Wall Street-level tools to execute democratic investment opportunities.

TokenAI converts money into Total Market Tokens, which can be bought in bulk and converted into any form of crypto. Its creators note, “AI does not feel fear, does not get greedy, does not have an ego,” so the emotional nature of trading is removed making for better investment opportunities.

Crypto beats historic market cap
Cryptocurrency’s total market capitalization spiked over $600 billion on December 18, 2017 according to data tracking site CoinMarketCap. At the time, this broke a historic market cap record. Since then, the total market cap has roller coastered, reaching peaks of over $830 billion in mid-January and lows around $425 billion just a few weeks later.

Blockchain has a competitor that could already obsolete the tech
Blockchain better watch its back, there’s a new kid on the block…chain. Data structure and consensus algorithm Hashgraph offers an alternative to blockchain, with a decentralized platform that uses Asynchronous Byzantine fault tolerance, faster transactions, and could maybe even use your smartphone as a node. Since Hasgraph uses every container in a chain, transactions could be up to 50,000 times faster than blockchain.

Millennials prefer bitcoin to stocks
Last November venture capital firm Blockchain Capital conducted a survey that found participants in the 18-34 age range preferred Bitcoin to stock. Respondents said they would rather own $1000 of Bitcoin than government bonds or stocks. As cryptocurrency becomes easier to buy, trade, and sell, its popularity rises.

Plus, the decentralized yet transparent nature of transactions gives crypto a leg up on banks, since many millennials are wary of traditional banking methods (hi, Wells Fargo).

Debit card that lets you spend crypto lke cash
In November, London Block Exchange (LBX) announced plans for a cryptocurrency debit card dubbed “Dragoncard” because why not. Dragoncard will be powered by Visa, allowing users to spend crypto like cash by converting digital currency to sterling with the LBX app. Currently, the app will support Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, and Monero.

LBX will handle conversions when using Dragoncard at retailers to (hopefully) speed up transactions. Due to release sometime this month, pre-registration for the digital wallet app is still open to the public if you’re lucky enough to be in the UK.

Space crypto
It’s a bird, it’s a place, it’s…space crypto? Nexus cryptocurrency aims to team up with the aerospace industry to broadcast its network from space instead of Earth. By throwing up a ton of satellites into the atmosphere, crypto infrastructure would theoretically be free from government and telecommunication regulation.

Nexus cryptocurrency founder Colin Cantrell’s father Jim Cantrell is a space entrepreneur, because that’s a thing we can be now. With their powers combined, we may have cryptocurrency in space.

The crypto that keeps Buddhists honest
Surprise, everyone can be terrible, even monks. In light of recent a corruption scandal in Thailand where several Buddhist temples were suspected of embezzling, American Buddhists are turning to cryptocurrency to build trust. Lotus Network, a “digital temple” where students and teachers can connect, uses blockchain to track online transactions.

Students can pay for classes and even make donations to specific teachers or temples with “Karma Tokens,” an Ethereum-based cryptocurrency. Since everything is tracked with blockchain, funds and spending are totally transparent, which will hopefully curb corruption.

Russia made cryptocurrencies illegal, and then made their own that IS legal. Pretty neat, comrades.
Back in October 2017, Russia decided it wasn’t really into all that cryptocurrency stuff. At least, the government wasn’t a fan of crypto that it didn’t create for itself. So after blocking citizens from accessing cryptocurrency on the basis of it being a “pyramid scheme,” the Kremlin released its own digital currency, the CyrptoRuble.

In complete defiance of the whole decentralized thing that makes crypto so appealing to users, CryptoRuble will likely be heavily monitored by the Russian government.

What happens to crypto if net neutrality dies for really real, tho?
Hey, remember that time the FCC decided to burn net neutrality at the stake and we were all worried about Netflix and stuff? Well net neutrality’s death may also impact cryptocurrency. If the execution goes as planned, Internet Service Providers could throttle the speed of crypto exchange sites, prioritize their own interests, or even cut off access entirely. Maybe go write or call your Congress representatives.

Lindsay is an editor for The American Genius with a Communication Studies degree and English minor from Southwestern University. Lindsay is interested in social interactions across and through various media, particularly television, and will gladly hyper-analyze cartoons and comics with anyone, cats included.

Business Finance

Politicians reconsider PPP rules too cumbersome for small businesses

(BUSINESS FINANCE) The PPP loans may have some changes coming soon, to help small businesses even more by extending the time they have to spend the money.

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Congress has reported talks over fixing parts of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a key program designed to help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. Changes could range between small tweaks to an overhaul of program requirements. Congress remains divided over a phase four relief bill (passed in the House last week) which includes several of those PPP changes.

The PPP was created to provide forgivable loans to businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Although the Treasury is continuing to offer updated guidance, any significant changes will require approval from Congress.

One of the major potential changes is an extension to the eight-week time frame for businesses to spend their loan money. Senator Marco Rubio (R.-Fla.) is advocating the change. He told reporters “I think the more important thing to change is the time frame in which they can use it for,” Rubio told reporters. “We do need to give them more time to spend those monies.” The hope is to pass those changes before the first PPP loan recipients reach their deadline in early June.

Other changes proposed in the House bill include extending the spending time period to 24-weeks and eliminating the requirement for 75 percent of loan spending on payroll in order to qualify for full forgiveness. The flexibility could allow recipients to allocate money towards rent, another challenge facing small business owners. While Senate Republicans haven’t shot down that option, they’ve voiced concern on the spending rule which was originally designed to keep workers employed. Meanwhile, Democrats argue for flexibility which could support businesses with fixed costs. Both sides are open to discussing a 50 percent payroll and 50 percent additional cost breakdown in a new PPP changes.

The Small Business Administration has reported $195 billion from the $310 billion of the second tranche of PPP has been approved. With no defined plan to reopen the country, small businesses are counting on relief programs. Senior White House advisor Kevin Hassett has said the government can’t continue to lend money to businesses indefinitely. “It is something we can do through Jun, I would, guess if there’s enough cash for that.”

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Business Finance

Unless you call your representative, the IRS will be forced to screw PPP recipients

(BUSINESS FINANCE) Small business owners, can your Covid-19 loans really be forgiven? “Free money” never sounded so good…or bad. The CARES act missed a vital tax hole.

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Cares act taxes due

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) portion of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) was hailed as a revolutionary life line to small businesses that had to shutter their doors against the plague.

Basically, the Feds said: Keep your expenses up, pay your staff so they don’t have to go on assistance, and not only will we loan you the cash to do so, so long as you can prove it was spent stimulating your business, we’ll not only forgive the loan, it won’t be taxed as income.

Right said, Fed. But some sharp-eyed readers of the letter of the law say they’re too savvy for these loans, and here’s why.

It was announced on April 30th that anything paid with PPP payments won’t be tax deductible.

Specifically, the IRS says, expenses that qualify a business owner loan forgiveness cannot be deducted from 2020’s tax filings, in order to keep people from getting “double tax benefit[s].” You can read up on the tax code citations and legal precedents right here, straight from the tax horse’s mouth.

So what’s happening here is you can “enjoy” free money from the government, but if you were counting on it being non-taxable income, then you’d best count again.

I may be a simple country (adjacent) April, but is the purpose of handing out money somehow… NOT to put business owners AHEAD?

This move strikes me as a ship throwing someone in the water a life-vest… then sailing off without reeling them in.

‘Well you don’t want people to double-dip,’ is a rebuttal I’d expect. Or ‘that’s how the CARES Act was written,’ but right now we’re dealing with people and their businesses needing EXTRA. Not ‘a bit,’ not ‘enough,’ but quantifiably EXTRA help in order to do better than just tread water. We NEED that extra dip… and individual bowls for everyone while we’re at it.

“No half measures,” as a wise, narcissistic fictional criminal once said. Brian Cranston won an Emmy for delivering that line, so I figure it’s stand-by-able.

As of right now, there’s not much that can be done except for business owners to gather and lobby their representatives en masse to alter the language of the CARES Act, or add an amendment to it that allows the IRS to let the deductions business owners need to slide.

As is, strict interpretation of the law doesn’t give our beloved agents enough wiggle room to LET this money be deducted. And I’m guessing that the IRS isn’t really the type of agency to DO interpretative judgements as a matter of course so… the ball is in Congress’ court on this one.

Fortunately, it seems like they’re taking it and running with it!

On May 12, a bill aptly named the HEROES Act was proposed in the house, and it clarifies: “For purposes of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and notwithstanding any other provision of law, any deduction and the basis of any property shall be determined without regard to whether any amount is excluded from gross income under section 20233 of this Act or section 1106(i) of the CARES Act.”

They’re reaching past the last stimulus bundle (that I haven’t received my share of yet by the way, cough cough) with a total of three trillion as a distribution goal. That’s a three followed by twelve zeroes, sweeties. And this is all cold, hard, tax free, DEDUCTIBLE cash.

My advice here? Get your letter-writing hands ready, business owners! It’s not a law YET, so keep pushing your politicians as best you can, and telling your friends, (and sharing our articles) And best of luck.


Sidenote from the Editor: Research for this story includes insights from Caleb Ellinger at Ellinger Services (CPA wizard (our word, not his) in Austin who is very well known as serving startup and freelance communities).

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Business Finance

Companies seek brownie points by returning PPP cash they shouldn’t have applied for

(BUSINESS FINANCE) It turns out some large national companies received millions of dollars of the PPP loans that were pitched as for small businesses, what gives?

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The CARES Act, passed last month in response to the COVID19 pandemic, allocated over $370 billion to small businesses in the form of PPP loans. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was hastily ran through Congress, with many of the small details left for the SBA, IRS and other entities to iron out, even though the legislation was over 800 pages.

Now, Bloomberg is reporting that many small businesses are returning loans as the Trump administration issues new guidance for these loans.

PPP loans- confusion over eligibility, rules and restrictions

The PPP was designed to incentivize employers to maintain payroll through the pandemic. The law’s intent was to help small businesses, non-profits and smaller organizations without other resources.
Within just a few days, the money was exhausted.

As Congress allocated more money for the program, it came to light that many larger businesses made requests for the money. Shake Shack, a national chain, received $10 million. Ruth’s Chris steakhouse received $20 million. Even the Los Angeles Lakers received about $4.6 million through the PPP. It should be noted that each of these entities returned the money. Technically, each of the entities qualified under the PPP, too.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the SBA announced that all PPP loans over $2 million will be reviewed to ensure borrower eligibility. The SBA continues to provide guidance for the PPP loans. One financial expert likened it to building the plane while it was still in the air. Some companies are receiving guidance that no publicly traded companies qualify, even though these companies have received PPP funding, and some intend to keep it.

If a company doesn’t qualify for the PPP, they could face criminal charges for making false certifications on their loan applications. This could include statements that indicate the PPP funding is necessary to support ongoing operations.

Return the PPP money or not?

The SBA is giving borrowers a deadline of May 14 to return PPP loans without any legal trouble. Some companies are returning the money, not only because of public backlash, but to avoid problems. The government is sending a message that it will be vigilant over the use of PPP funding. There are still so many questions about how the loans will work and will be forgiven, it pays to tread carefully if you’ve received more than $2 million in funding under PPP.

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