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Blockchain and Cryptocurrency: Point/Counterpoint

Nov 28, 2018

EisnerAmper’s 10th annual Private Wealth & Family Office Summit at the United Nations included a workshop titled “Blockchain and Cryptocurrency: Point/Counterpoint.”  The session was moderated by Alan Frank, EisnerAmper partner, and featured panelists Rachel Ingwer, partner, Winston & Strawn LLP, and Rik Willard, founder and managing director, Agentic Ventures.

The workshop focused on topics from an investor’s point of view while highlighting the pros and cons of blockchain and cryptocurrency investments.  In addition, the panel discussed some of the tax implications of such investments.

During the course of the workshop, the panel provided useful background information relating to the origination of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.  This background also included a brief discussion on some key terms, such as tokens, coins, initial coin offering (ICO), smart contracts, bitcoin, and mining.

Much of the workshop focused on current investment opportunities for both blockchain and cryptocurrency.  The audience was very interested in learning current use cases for blockchain and areas being explored for development.  Mr. Willard provided examples of how blockchain is being utilized to track title and as a method to increase liquidity and accelerate the access to capital.

Ms. Ingwer led the conversation for tax implications associated with cryptocurrencies.  She discussed how cryptocurrency transactions are treated for U.S. income tax purposes, while also sharing the reporting requirements and IRS focus for cryptocurrency investments.  Eventually, the conversation delved into how cryptocurrencies may be part of someone’s estate plan which led to topics related to valuation and whether cryptocurrency can be gifted to a charity.

Throughout the workshop the audience was actively engaged in asking questions and providing their experiences with blockchain and cryptocurrencies.  Although the workshop was designed to provide an overview of some of the key topics and trends related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies, the attendees were able to gain useful insights and examples in an emerging technology and industry.

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