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What Can Be Tokenized?

Virtually any asset can be tokenized. However, not all tokenization proceeds in the same way. There are a number of different use cases even in the area of security tokens. We have highlighted a few of these use cases and will now focus on the first 3 in this article.

Source: Adapted from EY’s Tokenization of Assets Report

EY’s Tokenization of Assets Report describes five main categories of assets that are being made into security tokens including collectibles, financial instruments, consumables, precious metals, and intangible assets. However, this list does not describe the most popular ways in which security token issuers extract economic interest from these tangible and intangible assets in practice. The security token can represent one of these four economic interests:

Tokenized Profit Participation Rights

Tokenized profit sharing was originally not very popular for ICO investors, because a firm could hypothetically increase their costs up until the point that the company showed no profit. However, companies with compliant security tokens that follow disclosure requirements and subject themselves to supervision from financial market authorities can garner trust for this type of investment
contract.

Republic

The Republic note, structured as a debt instrument, pays out a portion of its profits in the form of a dividend to investors. However, the dividend is only paid out when a startup company that raised capital on their platform has a successful exit by being acquired or going public. This is because Republic charges a 2% commission and 1 – 16% carry interest to the startup. The note managed to raise more than $16 million despite the risks associated with the security token i.e. that the startups may never have a successful exit or the website Republic.co does not stay in business long enough to see the startups have a successful exit, which can take up to 10 – 20 years.

Bitbond | STO

Bitbond Finance GmbH’s security token is structured as a subordinate bond/loan/note, and they pay out 60% of their company’s pretax profits to token holders over the life of the bond. Bitbond revenue comes from charging 2 – 3% loan origination fees to borrowers and pays out 0.5 – 1.5% to the investors that gave Bitbond the capital to lend out to borrowers.1

Tokenized Revenue Participation Rights

Similar to profit sharing rights, revenue sharing rights are often structured as notes (debt instruments) that give the investor a right to receive a share of top line revenue from a company rather than a fixed periodic payment based on a percentage of the monies loaned to a company.2 Also, similar to profit sharing rights, the investors are not buying the equity of the issuing company. The security token explicitly states the percentage of revenue that investors will receive. However, the dividends each period will be variable as well as the length of the note’s maturity.

INX

The Gibraltar-based securities trading platform that recently merged with Open Finance Network, INX Limited, launched an initial public offering in 2020, which recently ended in April 2021.3 However, the IPO was not really an IPO, because INX was not offering equity. Rather, they offered a revenue share from their operations. Their goal was to raise $10 million in this funding round. INX’s revenue share security token offering in the US is for both retail and professional investors. Currently, INX is also using a SPAC to list their equity on the Canadian stock exchange. A public company owned by a private equity firm bought all INX’s equity and is now listing the equity on the Canadian Stock exchange.

Tokenized Commitments to Use or Voucher

A security token issuer can sell tokens that can be redeemed in the future for a certain good or service. This investment type is popular with ICOs and initial exchange offerings (IEOs). The funds collected from investors are used to finance the company in its early stages. However, if this investment type is deemed to be an investment contract by financial market authorities, it becomes an unregistered security. Therefore, it may behoove companies to have legal experts determine if their tokenized commitment to use or voucher is a utility token or a security token prior to doing the sale. A voucher can also be structured to manage accounting and tax consequences or it can be linked to the other instruments presented above, such as a profit participation right in a corporation.4

Blockstream

The recently announced Blockstream Bitcoin mining security token Blockstream Mining Unit (BMN) represents the use of Blockstream’s mining equipment. The investment contract is structured as a note with a minimum investment of €200,000 that only qualified investors can buy. Each note entitles the security token investor to the BTC mined by up to 2,000 TH/s of hashrate.5 The bitcoin is paid out at the end of the note, and the note’s maturity is set to 36 months. The note is issued by a Luxembourg Securities Vehicle, which is a unique type of fund that can sell shares or issue debt to qualified investors with lighter compliance requirements. 6 Although the structure is not extremely risky, the BMN states that no return is guaranteed due to how fast mining equipment degrades.

And what else can be tokenized? To further explore this question, we will look at various practical examples next week as well. These will include the tokenization of property and the tokenization of organizations.

1 https://www.bitbondsto.com/files/bitbond-sto-lightpaper.pdf
2 http://moolapitch.com/revenue-participation-notes/
3 https://cointelegraph.com/news/sec-registered-crypto-issuer-inx-to-wrap-up-ipo-in-april
4 https://www.svlaw.at/en/tokenize-the-world
5 https://stokr.io/blockstream-mining/pitch
6 https://www.loyensloeff.com/media/475533/lll-securitisation-vehicles-brochure-small.pdf

This article is an extract from the 90+ page Security Token Report 2021 co-published by the Crypto Research Report and Cointelegraph Consulting, written by thirteen authors and supported by Crypto Finance, Blocklabs Capital Management, HyperTrader, Ten31 Bank, Stadler Völkel Attorneys at Law, Riddle&Code, Coinfinity, Bitpanda Pro, Tokeny Solutions, AlgoTrader, and Elevated Returns.

What are Security Tokens?

Security Token have gained importance among Digital Assets in recent years, as they play an important role connecting the new technology and the traditional markets. In this article, we will clarify what Security Tokens are, how they work and their potential impact in the future.

Security token offerings (STOs) are a hybrid between initial coin offerings (ICO) and the more traditional initial public offering (IPO). Instead of offering a digital share or bond stored in a single company’s database, such as the shares held by the Depository Trust Company (DTCC) in New Jersey, a STO involves a security token. A security token is a regulated investment contract hosted on a distributed ledger technology. Two defining features of a security token are that the investment con-tract is “tokenized”, which means that 1.) cryptographic techniques such as hash functions are used to verify the integrity of the data (which wallet address owns the token and how many tokens does that wallet address have) and 2.) asymmetric encryption is used to create public and private key pairs.

Security Token Market Cap on Secondary Markets is Expected to Breach $1 Billion by August 1, 2021

Source: stomarket.com, Cointelegraph Research

In practice, security tokens often exist in both traditional databases stored by one company and a duplicate, or courtesy copy, lives on a blockchain. This allows investors to have the best of both worlds. On the one hand, one copy exists to outline which investors own which securities in case a problem arises with the blockchain technology, and on the other hand, a tokenized copy exists on a blockchain so that investors can have more control over the use of their security such as 24-hour trading and lending. We predict a large trend over the next few decades will be the emergence of self-custody of securities and the re-establishment of bearer financial instruments.

STOs can be for blockchain related investment or non-blockchain related investments. Today, security tokens can already be bought, sold, and traded in regulated and centralized security token exchanges referred to as “digital asset marketplaces” such as tZERO, MERJ, TokenSoft, or on decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges such as Uniswap.

When we first started writing this report, we were not convinced that security tokens would have a disruptive impact on financial markets. This is because the global market cap of security tokens trading on regulated secondary markets is currently only $700 million, and the daily trading volume averaged a little over $100,000 in April 2021.

However, our perspective completely changed once we understood the hockey stick in demand for tokenized traditional stocks such as Tesla (TSLA), Coinbase (COIN), Gamestop (GME), and Apple (AAPL). Tokenized stocks are fully backed digital representations of traditional stocks that are traded on a traditional exchange such as the NYSE or an alternative trading system (ATS) such as NASDAQ. Recently, the cryptocurrency exchanges FTX and Binance enabled tokenized stock trading for their users, and the daily trading volume grew from zero to over $4 million within one month. The US-based Uphold exchange also recently acquired JNK Securities and can now use their broker-dealer license in order to enable security token issuance and trading as well.1 Also, in the US, the newly chartered crypto bank, Anchorage, may become a leader in security token custody. Anchorage recently struck a partnership with Prometheum, a retail platform for trading digital securities.2

Many people think the digital representations are derivatives, but they actually aren’t. The tokenized stocks can be converted into traditional stocks through a process with the issuer named CM Equity AG in Germany. Although various regulators have questioned the legality of tokenizing traditional stocks, the CEO of CM Equity AG, Michael Kott, upholds that they are fully compliant with all regulations.

Gap in Prices of TESLA Stock on Different Exchanges Leaves Room For Arbitrageurs

Source: stomarket.com, Yahoo Finance, Cointelegraph Research

Whether the current first movers are shut down or not, we see a wave of demand for tokenized stocks from investors on the horizon. Blockchain-based assets put investors in the driver’s seat instead of letting regulators steer. We see a large trend being the self-custody of securities and the re-establishment of bearer financial instruments. In the future, investors will be able to remove securities from an exchange such as Binance and send them to a different exchange such as the NYSE with a private key.

Arbitrageurs will seek risk-free returns by trading the same shares on different exchanges. Exchanges will compete with each other in order to attract investors by offering them interest on their security deposits for lending their securities to the exchange who will in turn lend the shares to other borrowers (i.e. shorts or leveraged longs). Exchanges may also allow investors to use their securities as collateral for loans or margin trading. This will drastically change the demand for securities as less investors will sell and trigger taxable events in order to acquire liquidity. The demand will also increase for attractive securities as a global pool of investors will now be able to easily invest in securities in other countries.

Securities aren’t the only asset that can be tokenized. The new technology can be applied in many other areas of finance, as well as in other sectors of the economy. Next week, we will therefore turn to the question in which areas this tokenization is already gaining importance and we will also look at some examples.

1 https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/uphold-to-acquire-us-broker-dealer-jnk-securities-after-regulatory-approval-301259582.html
2 https://medium.com/anchorage/better-trading-ahead-anchorage-and-prometheum-partner-to-launch-first-digital-asset-ats-c9c8ba868417

This article is an extract from the 90+ page Security Token Report 2021 co-published by the Crypto Research Report and Cointelegraph Consulting, written by thirteen authors and supported by Crypto Finance, Blocklabs Capital Management, HyperTrader, Ten31 Bank, Stadler Völkel Attorneys at Law, Riddle&Code, Coinfinity, Bitpanda Pro, Tokeny Solutions, AlgoTrader, and Elevated Returns.

Tax Implications of Digital Assets in Germany and Austria

This article is the first part of an analysis on the differences in tax implications of digital assets and cryptocurrencies in the German-speaking countries. The article covers three types of qualified investors with three different products in which these investors invest. The first part dealt with Liechtenstein and Switzerland, while the second part refers to Germany and Austria.

The report will treat three different types of qualified investors in four different countries with three different investment products. The facts and circumstances always stay the same, only the residence changes. First of all, we have Lisa who possesses assets worth CHF 10 million and has declared in writing that she wants to be considered as a qualified investor. These are private assets. Her sister Sara did not make such a declaration but possesses the same amount of money. She is not considered to be a qualified investor. Secondly, there is Paul. Paul possesses assets worth CHF 20 million, but half of them are invested through a legal entity: Paul’s Road to Happiness AG. Lastly, there is CryptInvest AG, a bank which buys crypto on behalf of its clients and is considered a legal person. CryptInvest has assets of CHF 50 million and charges a provision of 1% of the amount invested for each of their clients’ asset investment. In addition, the bank charges 1% of the realized capital gain at the time of the sale.

All of them want to invest 10% of their assets in Bitcoin and expect a 50% rise of the investment. However, they are not sure if they should invest this amount directly, via an AIF, or a certificate. It is assumed that they will sell the Bitcoin investment as soon as it has increased by 50%. An AIF is a collective investment that raises capital from some investors to invest it in accordance with the specific investment strategy and with the aim to generate benefits for the investors. A certificate represents the evidence of ownership of a financial security such as a bond or stock market shares in corporation. It depends on the performance of the underlying asset. Furthermore, they have to take the intended time of holding the asset into account when comparing the investment possibilities.

Germany

Lisa and Sara

Lisa and Sara have their residency in Germany. First of all, it can be noted that no wealth tax exists in Germany. Hence, only the income tax has to be examined in order to check if there is a possible tax liability from holding and selling Bitcoin. As explained above, Germany considers Bitcoin to be digital private money. It follows that the sale of Bitcoin is classified as a private speculation. According to Section 23 (1) sentence 1 no. 2 of the German Income Tax Act (Einkommenssteuergesetz — EStG), the sale of Bitcoin is tax exempt if the period between acquisition and sale exceeds one year. However, there is one exception: If ongoing revenue has been earned with this digital currency, the income is subject to tax at the personal tax rate plus an additional solidarity surcharge. Additionally, the speculation period is extended to ten years as the asset served as a source of income. If Lisa or Sara sell Bitcoin within one year after the acquisition, they have to tax the capital gain from the sale with their personal tax rate if the exemption limit of €600 is exceeded. If the gain of €500,000 is their only income, they have to tax it with a tax rate of 45% and subtract €17,078.4, which results in a tax liability of €207,921.6. The amount of €17,078.4 has to be subtracted as the formula to calculate the tax liability — in the case of a taxable income above €270,501 − is: 0.45 × X − 17,078.4 (as 2020). Furthermore, a solidarity surcharge of 5.5%, here €11,435.69, has to be paid.

If they, in contrast, invest in a certificate, they would pay a withholding tax of 25% plus a solidarity surcharge of 5.5% on the withholding tax for both — the capital gains from the sale of the certificate and the current earnings. The duration of the holding of the certificate does not affect the tax liability. The same is true if they invested in an AIF. This would result in a tax liability of €131,875. Therefore, investing via a certificate or AIF is more advantageous in case of a high income from capital gains.

Paul’s Road to Happiness AG

Paul’s investment is considered to be in the business assets of his business. Therefore, there is no income from private sales, but from commercial business. The capital gains have to be taxed as income of Paul’s Road to Happiness AG and with a corporate tax rate of 15% plus solidarity surcharge of 5.5% of the corporate tax. This leads to a tax liability of €158,250. Nothing changes when Paul invests the money via a certificate or an AIF as the income is still considered to be income of the AG from commercial business activity.

Additionally, business tax has to be applied on the taxable income. The tax rate is a federal rate and amounts to 3.5%. The municipal assessment rate comes on top and ranges from 200% to 490% of the 3.5%, with an average rate of 380%. This leads to a tax rate of at least 7%. Hence, there are taxes from business tax worth €70,000 as a minimum. If the assessment rate of the municipality is higher, the tax liability increases as well. With regard to VAT, Germany also states that the exchange from conventional currencies to Bitcoin and vice versa is to be classified as a taxable other service, but tax exempt if used as a means of payment.

CryptInvest AG

CryptInvest AG’s income is also subject to corporate tax. Therefore, the income from the initial investment activity and the income from the participation on the gains are subject to the corporate tax of 15% plus solidarity surcharge of 5.5%. This leads to a tax liability of €11,868.75. Same as in the case of Paul’s Road to Happiness AG,investing the money via a certificate or an AIF does not result in a different tax liability as the generated income is considered to be income related to business activity of CryptInvest AG.
CryptInvest AG is also subject to business tax. As it has a taxable income of €75,000, the business tax liability amounts to at least €5,250.

With regard to VAT, there is no tax liability for the initial investment of the clients’ money and for the capital gains as brokerage of financial assets and income that is based on that activity are tax exempt.

Austria

Lisa and Sara

Lisa and Sara have their residency in Austria. Similar to Germany, the investment in Bitcoin is considered to be an exchange of assets. As long as there is no interest income coming from the crypto asset, as it is the case here, the sale of the asset has to be taxed using the personal tax rate as long as the time period between the acquisition and the sale is less than a year. In this case, it is considered to be a speculative trade. Furthermore, the capital gain has to be more than €440. If it is below this threshold, there is no tax liability. The personal tax rate can amount up to 55%. If Lisa and Sara hold the Bitcoins for more than a year and sell them afterwards, they do not have to pay taxes on the capital gain.

In contrast, if they invest via a certificate or a fund, they have to pay capital gains tax. The tax rate is 27.5%. As they would have capital gains of €500,000, they would have a tax liability of €137,500 when investing via a certificate or a fund. The duration of holding the certificate or fund has no impact on the tax liability.

Paul’s Road to Happiness AG

Bitcoins are assets of the business and are, therefore, considered to be business assets. The income from the sale of such assets is income from business activity and has to be taxed with a tax rate of 25% leading to a tax liability of €25,000. If the investment was made via an AIF or a certificate, the capital gains tax rate of 27.5% has to be applied. This would result in a tax liability of €275,000.

Similar to Germany, there is no VAT as the exchange of legal tenders to Bitcoin is a non-taxable activity according to the European Court of Justice.

CryptInvest AG

As a corporation, CryptInvest AG’s income is subject to a corporate tax rate of 25%. Therefore, the income from the investment activity has to be taxed with 25% resulting in a tax liability of €12,500. The income from the provisions in contrast has to be taxed with 27.5%, which would lead to a tax liability of €6,875. All together the corporation has a tax liability of €19,375. It would make no difference if the investment were to be made via an AIF or a certificate as the income from this investment is still considered to be income from the normal business activity of the corporation and has to be taxed with 25% and 27.5%.
Similar to Germany, brokerage of financial assets is exempt from VAT. Hence, there is no VAT liability for CryptInvest AG.

Conclusion

To summarize, Liechtenstein shows the lowest taxes on Bitcoin for natural and legal persons followed by Switzerland, which depends on the specific canton of residence. Germany and Austria have the highest taxes. However, it should be noted that in Liechtenstein and Switzerland, there is a wealth tax that can lead to high taxes if high amounts of cryptocurrencies are held. In most cases, there are no advantages of holding a certificate or AIF. However, if the investor has its residence in Germany or Austria and holds a digital asset for less than a year, it is advantageous if they invested in an AIF or certificate as long as his personal tax rate is above 27.5% in Austria and 26.375% in Germany. If they hold the digital asset for more than a year, it is better to invest directly. It all depends on the investing horizon and the tax rate, which again depends on the personal income overall.

This article is an extract from the 70+ page Discovering Institutional Demand for Digital Assets research report co-published by the Crypto Research Report and Cointelegraph Consulting, written by eight authors and supported by SIX Digital Exchange, BlockFi, BitmainBlocksize Capital, and Nexo.

Transfer Data Fully Securely with 4-SOFT Blockchain Software

Transfer Data Fully Securely with 4-SOFT Blockchain Software

One of the secrets to a successful company is the communication between teams and departments. 

However, in the last couple of years, this was primarily transferred into digital, especially now in the pandemic. And who can blame us? Digital communication makes everything happen quickly, and it exceeded the area for new employees. 

But this raises a lot of issues regarding the security of data transferred. Messages, written documents, images, videos – each of them is extremely fragile to malicious actors. 

The more successful the company is, the more it’s exposed to attacks. And cyber-security software tools are often expensive. Plus, it depends on the level of security of the communication platform itself as well (Slack, Telegram, Sharepoint, etc.). To fight against all of these, you need something much stronger than what you are used to. You need blockchain technology, and luckily, 4-SOFT is already on the market.

What is 4-SOFT?

4-SOFT is a computer software company founded in 2018, which realized how much impact blockchain technology has over the economic and IT areas.  

Therefore, the team decided to join the decentralized movement and rethink its vision. Now, the company aims to improve the security of business communication through encryption

The new software bears the same name as the company, and it is a great addition to any business that relies on digital communication. 

How does it work?

4-SOFT is basically a data transferal system with an API structure linked with its own DAPP and blockchain. There are three stages of data encryption:

  • Stage 1: The type of the input is converted to a Y-GEN structure;
  • Stage 2: The new data package is sent to the blockchain storage through APIs;
  • Stage 3: The encrypted data is sent to the recipient. 

The benefits are huge. The data is kept in cold storage, and nobody else can access it besides you and your partner. Even more, if you are not online, the recipient can’t open the documents and vice-versa. 4-SOFT needs both of you. 

By having your data stored into the blockchain, malicious actors would need to own at least 51% of all the inputs existent, which is almost impossible (and expensive to try). 

The BEP-20 4-STOCK Token

In order to get access to 4-SOFT services, you need to own some 4-STOCK, which is the core token of the ecosystem. The gasoline, if you will. It can be bought on PancakeSwap and will serve two purposes:

  • For tokenized share;
  • For 4-SOFT platform’s payment.

4-SOFT Partners

The pilot project was already bought by no less than 140 companies in Saudi Arabia, including the Ministry of Health, SFDA, and MODON. 

4-SOFT is part of Google, IBM, and Amazon Web Services, which proves the potential of this innovation in both economic and IT systems. 

If all of these sounds intriguing, you know what to do. Get 4-SOFT and update your business shield! 

Tax Implications of Digital Assets in Switzerland and Liechtenstein

This article is the first part of an analysis on the differences in tax implications of digital assets and cryptocurrencies in the German-speaking countries. The article covers three types of qualified investors with three different products in which these investors invest. The first part deals with Liechtenstein and Switzerland, while the second part refers to Germany and Austria.

The report will treat three different types of qualified investors in four different countries with three different investment products. The facts and circumstances always stay the same, only the residence changes. First of all, we have Lisa who possesses assets worth CHF 10 million and has declared in writing that she wants to be considered as a qualified investor. These are private assets. Her sister Sara did not make such a declaration but possesses the same amount of money. She is not considered to be a qualified investor. Secondly, there is Paul. Paul possesses assets worth CHF 20 million, but half of them are invested through a legal entity: Paul’s Road to Happiness AG. Lastly, there is CryptInvest AG, a bank which buys crypto on behalf of its clients and is considered a legal person. CryptInvest has assets of CHF 50 million and charges a provision of 1% of the amount invested for each of their clients’ asset investment. In addition, the bank charges 1% of the realized capital gain at the time of the sale.

All of them want to invest 10% of their assets in Bitcoin and expect a 50% rise of the investment. However, they are not sure if they should invest this amount directly, via an AIF, or a certificate. It is assumed that they will sell the Bitcoin investment as soon as it has increased by 50%. An AIF is a collective investment that raises capital from some investors to invest it in accordance with the specific investment strategy and with the aim to generate benefits for the investors. A certificate represents the evidence of ownership of a financial security such as a bond or stock market shares in corporation. It depends on the performance of the underlying asset. Furthermore, they have to take the intended time of holding the asset into account when comparing the investment possibilities.

Liechtenstein

Lisa and Sara

Lisa has her residency in Liechtenstein and is, therefore, subject to unlimited tax liability in Liechtenstein. As she invests 10% of her assets in Bitcoin, she invests CHF 1 million in Bitcoin. Apart from wealth tax, which has to be paid on assets in Liechtenstein, individuals have to pay income tax, which will be treated in the following. However, Lisa does not have to pay taxes on her gains from the sale of the Bitcoin as capital gains are tax exempt in Liechtenstein. The duration the asset is held has no impact on taxation. The same applies to Sara. There are no distinctions between Lisa as a qualified investor and Sara as a “normal” investor.

The only difference is that Lisa has more investment possibilities in general because of her classification as a qualified investor.
There are no differences if Lisa and Sara would choose to invest in an AIF or certificate as capital gains from the sale of private assets and profit shares due to shareholdings in legal entities are tax exempt.

As Bitcoin is a payment token, there is also no risk that Lisa and Sara could be subject to VAT. This results from the fact that payment tokens are a pure exchange of currencies due to the missing prerequisites of a service rendered against payment and, therefore, do not fall within the scope of the VAT.

Paul’s Road to Happiness AG

Paul also has his residency in Liechtenstein. He invests CHF 2 million of the business assets in Bitcoin, so the investment is considered to be part of the business assets. As a result, the capital gains linked to the 50% rise have to be taxed with the corporate tax rate of 12.5%. This would lead to a tax liability of CHF 125,000.

If he had invested the same amount in an AIF instead, the annually realized profits of the AIF would be taxed with the tax rate of 12.5%. If the fund were only invested in Bitcoin and were equal to a direct investment in Bitcoin, it would lead to the same tax liability.

If he had invested in a certificate, which represents an investment in a financial security, and sold this certificate with a 50% increase in value, i.e., with a gain of CHF 1 million, he would also have to pay corporate tax of 12.5%. Hence, the different investment structures all lead to the same tax liability.

As Bitcoin is a payment token, there is no VAT. Payment tokens do not fall within the scope of the VAT Act as they are a pure exchange of currencies and miss the prerequisites of a service rendered against payment.

CryptInvest AG

CryptInvest AG is a legal person and has its residency in Liechtenstein. Therefore, the AG is subject to taxation in Liechtenstein. It invests CHF 5 million of their clients’ money into Bitcoin and gets a profit of CHF 50,000 out of these investments plus the profit of the realized capital gain of CHF 25,000. This amount of investment reflects the income of the bank and is subject to corporate tax. The tax rate is 12.5%. Therefore, it has to pay CHF 9,375 in taxes due to the direct investment in Bitcoin. This is also the case if the bank invests in certificates.

If the bank decides to invest the money in a self-administered AIF, the results are the same. Profits from such fund investments are tax exempt. They have to tax the income coming from the general investment activity of CHF 50,000 and the profit of CHF 25,000 which would lead to taxes of CHF 9,375. The income from the AIF is tax exempt on fund level. Therefore, the tax liability equals the tax liability in case of a direct investment.

The sale of shares and the management of investment companies with fixed capital is exempt from VAT according to the VAT Act. This includes the brokerage of securities, book-entry securities, and derivatives as well as units in companies and other associations. Same applies to the sale of AIF shares. Hence, there is no VAT in this context. However, there is turnover tax that has to be paid in relation to paid transfers of shares, obligations, certificates, or shares in collective capital investments of a bank. The tax rate is 1.5%. In this context, this would amount to CHF 50.

Wealth Tax

Liechtenstein and Switzerland have a wealth tax. As part of the wealth tax in Liechtenstein, the assets of natural persons are taxed. In Switzerland, legal persons have to pay capital tax, natural persons wealth tax. Hence, natural persons that hold assets through a legal entity must also pay wealth tax for the holding of this legal entity. In Liechtenstein the tax is based on the value of the assets at the beginning of the fiscal year, in Switzerland on the value at the end of the fiscal year. Therefore, wealth tax results from holding Bitcoin. In the Principality of Liechtenstein, the assets are integrated into the income tax via the target income (Sollertrag). There is, therefore, no separate wealth tax statement as this is part of the income tax. In Liechtenstein, it ranges from 0% to 0.89% depending on the assessment rate of the specific municipality. In Switzerland, the wealth tax also depends on the respective municipality and can be between 0% and 1%.

As we examine the Liechtenstein assessment in this section and Lisa has her residency in Liechtenstein, her wealth of CHF 10 million is subject to wealth tax in Liechtenstein. She first has to determine the so-called “Sollertrag”, which is 4% of the taxable wealth. In this case this would be CHF 400,000. This amount is then taxed within the income tax. The applicable tax rate in this case is 0,08% of the amount minus CHF 6,100. This leads to a tax liability of CHF 25,900. On top of this there is a municipality tax, which is at least 150%. This would lead to taxes worth CHF 38,850. In summary, a total wealth tax of at least CHF 64,750 has to be paid in this case. As Lisa has a wealth of CHF 10 million, the applied tax rate is 0.6%.

Switzerland

Lisa and Sara

In Switzerland, the tax rate depends on the respective canton and the municipality the person lives in. For this report, Zürich has been chosen, where income coming from the sale of private assets is tax exempt. This would mean that Lisa and Sara do not have to pay taxes on the gains coming from the Bitcoin investment as long as they are not classified as private securities dealers. However, the holding of Bitcoin is taxed within the Swiss wealth tax.

Paul’s Road to Happiness AG

In Zürich, capital gains from the sale of business assets are subject to taxes. This also includes income from collective capital investments and certificates. Paul would have capital gains of CHF 1 million and a tax rate of approximately 20% would be applied, which is the profit tax rate. This leads to a tax liability of CHF 200,000 regardless of the time horizon and the investment structure.

CryptInvest AG

The CryptInvest AG is a legal entity and has to pay taxes on its profits like every other entity. As there are no tax exemptions according to the Swiss Tax Law, it also has to pay a profit tax of approximately 20% on its capital gains. In our case the amount of CHF 50,000 plus the amount of CHF 25,000 would be taxed, if we assume no further income or expenses. This leads to a tax liability of CHF 15,000. Additionally, similar to the wealth tax that natural persons have to pay, the AG is subject to capital tax. As Liechtenstein has adopted the tax norms of Switzerland,no VAT has to be paid but a turnover tax of CHF 50.

The second part of this analysis will deal with the tax relevance of digital assets and cryptocurrencies in the two EU member states Germany and Austria. As we shall see, these are significantly different from the countries covered here and also more distinctly different from each other than is the case with Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

This article is an extract from the 70+ page Discovering Institutional Demand for Digital Assets research report co-published by the Crypto Research Report and Cointelegraph Consulting, written by eight authors and supported by SIX Digital Exchange, BlockFi, BitmainBlocksize Capital, and Nexo.

Bitcoin as a Payment Coin

What is the difference between Bitcoin as a means of payment and Bitcoin as a speculative object from a tax perspective? And how is it classified as a payment instrument in the various jurisdictions of the DACH region?

The report will explain tax impacts using Bitcoin as an example. Bitcoin is classified as a payment token according to the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (FTA) and the European Court of Justice.30 Despite the fact that a coin or token has already been qualified by the Liechtenstein or Swiss Financial Market Authority, the classification may deviate from the FTA’s criteria for tax purposes.

Therefore, it is important to bear in mind that when considering or examining a token from a tax perspective and evaluating the tax impacts in Liechtenstein or Switzerland, FTA’s classification criteria must always be taken into account. Also, the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) has classified cryptocurrencies as billing units in accordance with Section 1 (11) of the German Banking Act (Kreditwesengesetz — KWG).31

This means that they are not considered to be legal tender and are, therefore, classified as private money for German tax purposes.32 Austria takes the same perspective and does not accept Bitcoin as a legal tender or financial instrument but as a virtual means of payment.33

The FTA is necessary for Liechtenstein’s value-added tax (VAT) assessment, since the Principality of Liechtenstein and the Swiss Confederation concluded the Customs Treaty on the annexation of the Principality of Liechtenstein to the Swiss customs territory on The FTA is necessary for Liechtenstein’s value-added tax (VAT) assessment, since the Principality of Liechtenstein and the Swiss Confederation concluded the Customs Treaty on the annexation of the Principality of Liechtenstein to the Swiss customs territory on October 28, 1994. For this reason, the substantive Swiss provisions on VAT are relevant and have been incorporated into Liechtenstein law.

Payment coins or token within the meaning of the FTA may be used exclusively as means of payment for the purchase of supplies and/or services from one or more service providers. They, therefore, do not entitle the holder to receive specific or determinable services but merely represent the agreed means of payment. As Bitcoin is used as a means of payment and does not entitle the owner to receive specific services, it is classified as a payment token.

Before evaluating a crypto asset and a case, the type of asset always has to be clarified, because it determines the proper sections of the law. This means that the following assessment cannot be easily transferred to another crypto asset. If assets fall under the classification of a utility or security token, this would lead to different tax assessments. For further information on the taxation of specific crypto assets, contact actus ag.

After this article we will take a closer look at the individual jurisdictions in the DACH region, as promised last week. For this purpose, we will start next week with a detailed analysis of the currently applicable tax law in Liechtenstein with regard to cryptocurrencies.

30 Swiss Federal Tax Administration (EStV), 2019, Working Paper Kryptowährungen, July 2020. Retrieved from https://www.estv.admin.ch/estv/de/home/direkte-bundessteuer/direkte-bundessteuer/fachinformationen/kryptowaehrungen.html; Reichlin Hess Rechtsanwälte, 2019, Besteuerung von Kryptowährungen und anderen Token: Eidgenössische Steuerverwaltung publiziert Arbeitspapier, July 2020, Retrieved from https://www.reichlinhess.ch/2019/10/04/besteuerung-kryptowaehrungen-token-schweiz-arbeitspapier-eidgenoessische-steuerverwaltung/; European Court of Justice preliminary ruling case C-264/14 from October 22, 2015.
31 BaFin, Merkblatt: Zweites Hinweisschreiben zu Prospekt- und Erlaubnispflichten im Zusammenhang mit der Ausgabe sogenannter Krypto-Token; BaFin, Kryptotoken: Beitrag aus dem Jahresbericht 2019 der BaFin,July 2020. Retrieved from https://www.bafin.de/DE/PublikationenDaten/Jahresbericht/Jahresbericht2017/Kapitel2/Kapitel2_7/Kapitel2_7_3/kapitel2_7_3_node.html.
32 Zitzmann, F., 2017, Steuerliche Behandlung der Kryptowährungen, July 21, 2020. Retrieved from
https://www.haufe.de/compliance/management-praxis/steuerliche-behandlung-der-kryptowaehrungen_230130_431018.html.
33 Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF), Steuerliche Behandlung von Krypto-Assets, July 21, 2020. Retrieved from
https://www.bmf.gv.at/themen/steuern/sparen-veranlagen/Steuerliche-Behandlung-von-Krypto-Assets.html.

This article is an extract from the 70+ page Discovering Institutional Demand for Digital Assets research report co-published by the Crypto Research Report and Cointelegraph Consulting, written by eight authors and supported by SIX Digital Exchange, BlockFi, BitmainBlocksize Capital, and Nexo.

Earn Lunch Money to Review Restaurants

Now that the Crypto industry has the spotlight, everybody wants to join the blockchain revolution. However, getting Bitcoin or other altcoins requires some investments, and you can’t always be sure if it’ll be worth it.

But what if you could receive pay by doing nothing more than submitting feedback on your restaurant visit or order?

Sounds too good to be true? Then let’s see how Lunch Money is making that a reality.

What is Lunch Money?

Lunch Money is a decentralized app developed by Cofounders Jeffery Varnado and Adrian Triplett that incentivizes real feedback from restaurant customers worldwide with instant payments in the platform’s native currency. For restaurants and eateries, Lunch Money eliminates low quality reviews while improving service quality using real customer insights.

To give you some context, it’s well known that reviews are mostly given by those who had a bad experience, rather than those who were satisfied with the restaurant’s service or their meal. So how can restaurants convince their loyal customers to provide feedback aimed at improving their services?

That’s where Lunch Money comes in. Using Lunch Money, restaurants can receive real feedback and reward the customer.

How does it work?

The process is quite simple and requires your favorite restaurant to partner with Lunch Money. After you submit feedback, and it has been verified, a percentage of the bill will be sent to your wallet of choice in the form of Lunch Money (LMY).

What you have to do:

  1. After you’ve patronized a restaurant or eatery, take a picture of your receipt;
  2. Register or Login to lunchmoney.io and search, select or add the restaurant;
  3. Fill in your feedback and upload a picture of your receipt 
  4. Input your receive address where you want to hold your LMY or choose for the rewards to be sent to your account;
  5. Submit the feedback form and wait for approval 

What will happen next:

  1. After the feedback is verified, the approval triggers a market buy from crypto exchanges like Uniswap thus increasing LMY’s value and liquidity each time.
  2. The asset is then sent directly from the market to the receive address submitted by you;
  3. You can hold LMY on the account and earn Lunch Money; it can be spent, swapped, or deposited into a Uniswap LMY liquidity pool for earning passive income. 

Join the Gig Economy

Simply put, why not get paid for your reviews? Receive loyalty rewards that grow in value for doing nothing more than eating at your favorite restaurants and writing a review. Restaurants can receive a lot more awareness from tokenized reviews. Even more, LMY is backed by feedback. Since feedback drives the value of LMY, as its user base grows, so does the value of the token. 

The Best Opportunity

Whether you’re a foodie or you like to amaze people with your recipes, you can earn income while gaining real and valuable insights. Be up to date with world innovations and visit lunchmoney.io for a unique crypto experience. 

Tax Impacts on Investors Investing in Digital Assets in the DACHLI Region

This article outlines the tax impacts of investing in digital assets for investors in the DACHLI region. Through a series of further articles, we will use case studies to explain the tax implications of purchase, ownership and sale for individuals and legal entities.

Although many people believe that Liechtenstein and Switzerland have the lowest taxes on digital assets for individuals and companies, this is a myth. As long as an investor in Germany or Austria holds onto their digital assets personally, not within a company structure, and for longer than one year, they actually have lower taxes than investors in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. This is because of the bothersome wealth tax in Liechtenstein and Switzerland. On the positive side, Liechtenstein and Switzerland do not have capital gains taxes unlike Germany and Austria.

However, Germany and Austria do not have wealth taxes. So which one outweighs the other? The German and Austrian taxes are more onerous if assets are held for less than one year and less onerous if assets are held for over a year. This is why investors in Germany with a personal tax rate above 26.375% and in Austria above 27.5% actually have a tax advantage of holding a certificate or investing in a regulated fund product like an Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) or Undertakings for the Collective Investment in Transferable Securities fund (UCITS) fund if they want to speculate on short-term moves of the price of digital assets. If the investor’s personal tax rate is lower than those rates, then there is no tax advantage of holding a fund or certificate over holding the digital assets directly.

The following section contributed by Lara Olms and Matthias Langer of actus ag outlines the tax impacts on investors investing in digital assets in the DACHLI region. By using explanatory cases, the consequences on taxation of buying and holding Bitcoin over specific time periods are explained for natural and legal persons. Furthermore, the report treats cases of investors with different residences — namely Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland — and specific investment strategies and structures: investing directly, via an AIF or a certificate.

Natural and Legal Persons

First of all, the terms legal and natural person as well as the term qualified investor should be defined. For the purpose of taxation, the tax law distinguishes between natural and legal persons. Every individual is a natural person and holds rights and obligations. A legal person such as corporations in contrast arises from a legal act and is considered to be a single individual for legal purposes. Dealing with natural persons, there is another important distinction to be made: It has to be defined if the assets are part of private assets or business assets. Business assets are assets that are used predominantly and directly for the company’s own business.25 Consequently, private assets are defined as assets that have little or no relation to the business of the taxpayer such as his fully privately used residence.

Qualified Investors

Qualified investors are according to Section 10 (3) of the Swiss Collective Investment Schemes Act (Kollektivanlagengesetz — KAG) supervised financial intermediaries such as banks, securities dealers, or asset managers of collective investments as well as companies with professional treasury.26 However, natural persons can also be classified as qualified investors. According to Section 10 (3bis)s of the KAG and Section 6 of the Swiss Collective Investment Schemes Ordinance (Kollektivanlagenverordnung — KKV), high-net-worth individuals can declare that they want to be considered qualified investors.27 They have to confirm in writing that they have the knowledge required to understand the risks of the investments based on personal education and have assets of at least CHF 500,000 according to Section 5 of the Swiss Financial Services Act (FIDLEG).28

Professional Investors

According to the Directive 2004/39/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, professional investors are “entities which are required to be authorized or regulated to operate in the financial markets” like credit institutions, insurance companies, or pension funds.29 In addition, large companies and “national and regional governments, public bodies that manage public debt, Central Banks, international and supranational institutions” as well as similar institutions are defined as professional investors.

Furthermore, investors such as public sector bodies or private individual investors may be treated as professionals on request. To be qualified as an professional investor, they must satisfy two of the three following criteria: During the last year, the investor carried out transactions on the specific market with an average frequency of ten per quarter; the size of the financial instrument portfolio exceeds € 0.5 million (defined to include deposits and financial instruments); the investor has worked or works at least one year in a professional position in the financial sector that required knowledge of the specific transactions or services.

Another area we have not yet looked at is how payments with bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies are to be treated. If the cryptocurrency is a payment token and is applied in this way, it is treated differently for tax purposes than is the case with investment assets. This is the question we will address next week before we start our series on the individual countries in the DACHLI region.

25 Jonas, M., 2019, Wirtschaftsgüter: Unterscheidung von Privat- und Betriebsvermögen, July 20, 2020. Retrieved from
https://www.steuba.de/einkommensteuer/wirtschaftsgueter-privatvermoegen-betriebsvermoegen/.
26 Swiss Federal Tax Administration (EStV), Kollektivanlagengesetz, July 2020. Retrieved from
https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classified-compilation/20052154/index.html.
27 Swiss Federal Tax Administration (EStV), Kollektivanlagengesetz; EStV, Kollektivanlagenverordnung, July 2020. Retrieved from
https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classified-compilation/20140344/index.html.
28 Swiss Federal Tax Administration (EStV), Finanzdienstleistungsgesetz, July 2020. Retrieved from
https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classified-compilation/20152661/index.html.
29 Official Journal of the European Union, 2004, Directive 2004/39/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004, August 2020. Retrieved from https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32004L0039&from=DE, pp. 43 – 44.

This article is an extract from the 70+ page Discovering Institutional Demand for Digital Assets research report co-published by the Crypto Research Report and Cointelegraph Consulting, written by eight authors and supported by SIX Digital Exchange, BlockFi, BitmainBlocksize Capital, and Nexo.

Checking the Origin of Digital Assets

If a customer declares the origin of their assets as “Crypto Investments” or wants to directly bring in digital assets, such a transaction constitutes a greater risk than a fiat money investment or transaction. For digital assets, however, unlike the origin of assets in fiat, there is the possibility to actually check all transactions linked to a declared wallet on the blockchain and carry out a wallet screening of the wallet.

At first, the background checks do not differ significantly from traditional fiat money checks. In any case, background information on the investment or receipt of digital assets should be obtained. Among other things, the timing, size, type and service provider used for the transaction play a key role. Needless to say, it makes a difference whether, for example, assets come from a past Initial Coin Offering (ICO), from an earlier mining activity, or an earlier investment.

Wallet Screening and Analysis

In addition to the background checks, it is usually possible to analyze the wallet of the customer by means of wallet screening. So-called wallet analyses can be carried out via various providers. During such analyses, the wallet address is examined with the support of information from databases. The wallet analysis clarifies whether the wallet holds “tainted coins”, i.e., digital assets derived from a tainted source. This could be, for instance, digital assets coming from the darknet, stolen assets, or assets coming from a wallet that is sanctioned and blacklisted. The wallet analysis specifies a risk value that can be used to assess the cleanliness of digital assets. In complex and ambiguous cases, it is worthwhile to prepare a detailed wallet analysis report or have it prepared by a provider. There are various providers that interrelate the results of the wallet screening with the background information. Such a detailed wallet analysis report not only indicates the result in the form of a risk value but also provides the appropriate interpretation of the result by including the customer’s background and information and checking for their plausibility.

Verification of the Beneficial Owner of Digital Assets

In addition to the obligation to identify the beneficial owner according to the existing money laundering regulations, verification checks must also be carried out. In practice, two methods are regularly used for this:

  • Microtransactions
  • Message Signing

Microtransactions are actually small payments from the customer’s wallet to a wallet of the service provider or financial institution, whereby the customer proves that they have access to the private key. It is assumed that the person who has access to the private key is the beneficial owner.

The method of “Message Signing” is somewhat more complicated, but it can also be used to demonstrate that the person with the private key can control the wallet address and is thus the owner of the digital assets. When signing, the customer uses the private key to generate a message agreed in advance between him and the service provider. The service provider can then check whether the private key is really linked to the wallet by using the public key.

In conclusion, should a business wish to enter the digital asset market, be it to serve customers in this domain, to issue products in the form of tokens, or invest in digital assets, it is advisable to carry out an in-depth risk analysis of the new line of business. Once the risks have been identified, measures to reduce these risks have to be implemented, and existing processes as well as internal compliance directives have to be adapted. Among the greater risks in regard to digital assets are compliance risks that need to be understood before entering the market.

This article is an extract from the 70+ page Discovering Institutional Demand for Digital Assets research report co-published by the Crypto Research Report and Cointelegraph Consulting, written by eight authors and supported by SIX Digital Exchange, BlockFi, BitmainBlocksize Capital, and Nexo.

Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Risks

In the area of digital assets, there are increased risks for companies. This article will take a closer look at risks related to money laundering and terrorist financing.

In general, there are increased risks in business relationships in regard to digital assets. ML/TF risks must be identified, analyzed and ultimately contained by service providers or financial institutions. A service provider or financial institution has the risk of accepting digital assets or fiat assets that fall within money laundering or terrorist financing offences. In addition to the ML/TF risks, there is also a reputation risk to be involved in a money laundering case.

ML/TF Risk in Customer Business Relationships

Onboarding of new customers wishing to contribute digital assets or the tracing of the transferred assets resulting from the exchange of digital assets requires specific clarifications. With regards to digital assets, there are different types of customer groups that pose different risks. If a private individual invested some time ago at a low price in digital assets, held them over the years and then sold them to a broker in the DACHLI region, the ML risk is rather low. The digital assets were purchased with fiat money, e.g., via a bank transaction or a credit card. The person should be able to provide proof of this transaction and the purchase of digital assets. The increase in value of the digital assets over the last few years can be traced, and the trade at a digital asset exchange should also be traceable. Since the assets of this person’s digital asset wallet as well as any transaction can be viewed and traced on the blockchain, they can also be checked for plausibility. In addition, digital assets in a wallet, unlike fiat currencies, can be examined for their risk, e.g., darknet risk, by means of a so-called wallet analysis or wallet screening. Such a case is uncomplicated and rather risk-free, but in reality, there are often far more complex cases which cannot easily be traced and where the origin of assets cannot easily be reconstructed. In such cases, it is advisable in case of doubt not to enter into a business relationship with the customer.

ML/TF Risk in Exchange Transactions

A financial institution should be aware of the risk involved in exchange transactions. Such transactions usually take place via digital asset exchanges or brokers. The choice of digital asset exchanges and brokers for an exchange transaction can pose a risk that should not be underestimated. The exchange/broker risk must be analyzed both in terms of the financial institution’s own transactions but also for customer transactions. In addition to the liquidity and default risk of an exchange for digital assets, there may be a significant risk of money laundering. Digital asset exchanges and brokers exist worldwide in various jurisdictions. However, the regulatory treatment of these exchanges and brokers in the various jurisdictions is not standardized and varies greatly. In certain jurisdictions, for example, digital asset exchanges fall within the regulated domain and are even subject to additional licensing, however, in other jurisdictions, digital asset exchanges are hardly regulated or not at all. The lack of licensing or regulation often means that these digital asset exchanges are not regulated in the area of money laundering. Such exchanges have an insufficient customer KYC, no or only weak transaction monitoring in place, and do not or only insufficiently clarify the origin of customers’ assets. In order to assess the exchange risk, the assessment of the exchange involved in a transaction is of great importance in terms of money laundering risks. If a financial institution wants to connect to an exchange to carry out transactions directly and to make investments, a Know Your Exchange (KYE) should definitely be made on the basis of defined criteria. The following criteria are to be taken into account (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Jurisdiction (FATF state vs. non-FATF state)
  • Type of regulation
  • Implementation of local money laundering obligations
  • Execution and result of an AML audit by an external third party

If a client of a financial institution intends to invest using digital assets or fiat assets derived from the exchange, similar exchange risks may exist. The creation of a “whitelist” of exchanges, based on internally defined criteria by the financial institution, may be a risk mitigation measure. This whitelist with the names of exchanges is then communicated to the customer. This essentially means that only assets that have been exchanged on one of these exchanges will be accepted. However, this is only possible if the customer has not yet exchanged their assets. If the customer has already exchanged their assets, they may present a detailed report prepared by a specialised service provider on the background and details of their initial investments in digital assets. If this report is positive and the risks are manageable, the customer and their assets can be accepted.

ML/TF Risk in Transactions

Transactions are exposed to the risk that terrorists and other criminals can have unhindered access to money transfers and moving assets. To prevent this, on June 21, 2019, the FATF adopted — on an international level — recommendations on financial services in the blockchain domain with regards to digital asset transfers. As in the case of a bank transfer, such transfers require the provision of information about the client and the beneficiary. This is aimed at preventing money laundering and terrorist financing. The receiving service provider can thus check the name of the sender against sanctions lists or verify the correctness of the information on the beneficiary.

In August 2019, FINMA emphasized the technology-neutral application of the law. The Anti-Money Laundering Act has been applied to blockchain financial services from the start. The Swiss law already says that service providers and financial institutions supervised by FINMA can only send digital assets to external wallets of their own, already identified customers and can only receive digital assets from these wallets. Digital assets can only be accepted if information about the sender or recipient can be reliably transmitted in the corresponding payment system. This Swiss regulation goes further than the international FATF standard, which provides an exception for transfers to and from unidentified wallets or wallet providers.

The question is how should companies deal with the provenance of digital assets? This is an issue that needs close attention, because carelessness in this area can lead to serious consequences for the parties involved. We will therefore explore this very question in another article next week.

This article is an extract from the 70+ page Discovering Institutional Demand for Digital Assets research report co-published by the Crypto Research Report and Cointelegraph Consulting, written by eight authors and supported by SIX Digital Exchange, BlockFi, BitmainBlocksize Capital, and Nexo.

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