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Crypto notches a win among professional accountants

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Crypto notches a win among professional accountants

In his regular column, J.W. Verret, a law professor, attorney, CPA, and head of the Crypto Freedom Lab covers law and regulation of cryptocurrency with a focus on decentralized finance (DeFi) and financial privacy.

Institutional adoption is an exciting yet frustrating topic in crypto. The true modern-day crypto inheritors of the 90s cypherpunk legacy have a vision for crypto as human empowerment through decentralization. That vision includes breaking down the intermediaries that charge rents and threaten human freedom and privacy. On the other hand, Crypto Twitter becomes abuzz when a large financial institution makes new moves into crypto.

Dogecoin (DOGE) mooned on the hopes that Elon Musk would use Twitter to help the cryptocurrency’s adoption. The cognitive dissonance extends to the institutions themselves, as banks start crypto projects without considering how a crypto payment system built on the Bitcoin Lightning Network or an Ethereum layer 2 is intended to make that very bank obsolete.

Those broader philosophical questions aside, the United States-based Financial Accounting Standards Board, or FASB, instituted a change to accounting standards in October that will help public companies hold digital assets on their balance sheet. For now, that’s good for both institutions and crypto.

The old method of accounting for crypto on company books was to account for it as software. It went on the balance sheet at its historical cost and then was written down as a value impairment on every price drop (but not written up again when prices went up). This was a deterrent to public company holdings for anyone but the die-hard Michael Saylors of the world. It’s hard to hold an asset that might remain recorded on your books at the bottomed-out price of the last bear market.

Related: Before ETH drops further, set some money aside for surprise taxes

The new rules take a more reasonable approach and implement the same fair value accounting rules that apply to company holdings of publicly traded stock. Crypto covered by the rule will simply be valued at the publicly listed price.

This shouldn’t be the end of accounting standard deliberation over crypto, however, and there are still many questions left to consider. For one, stablecoins backed by other assets are not included in the new accounting methodology.

Many public companies that are willing to accept crypto from customers do so to humor the customer and immediately convert that crypto into fiat dollars. That may not always be the case, and if companies start using crypto as currency themselves, then inclusion in some kind of new balance sheet quasi-case or digital cash category would be appropriate.

Another thing to consider is the differences in asset-backed stablecoins. USD Coin (USDC) is basically just a cash equivalent and would readily fit the standard cash equivalent category in generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP. Tether (USDT) is a closer case and was historically backed by riskier commercial paper, though that is changing. Maker’s Dai (DAI) is a very different form of stablecoin, partially backed by USDC and partially by other cryptocurrencies. Dai seems like it would need a novel quasi-cash or quasi-currency category.

And what about cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) or Ether (ETH) that a company holds for the purposes of using it to pay for things, like cash, and not for investment purposes? Will Bitcoin used as a means of payment be accounted for in a new quasi-currency category, or will it remain in an investment category despite its partial payment use case? While it is designed for payments, it is highly volatile, unlike stablecoins.

Related: Biden is hiring 87,000 new IRS agents — and they’re coming for you

Fair valuation methods will be relatively straightforward to apply to liquid, highly traded currencies like Bitcoin and Ether, which is most of what companies are holding. But as companies start holding and using other types of cryptocurrencies, there will be a wealth of questions to consider.

For those digital assets not in actively traded markets, it will be a challenge to apply classic financial valuation models to their valuation. Existing financial valuation methods for assets like stock in public companies may not entirely carry over to cryptocurrencies because of the unique design of the asset class.

The FASB should be saluted for its thoughtful adaption of accounting principles to this new technology, an approach the Securities and Exchange Commission and other financial regulators might learn from. The FASB hired crypto-native experts and adapted their rules to the reality of this new technology in a short period of time, ensuring that in the crypto revolution, GAAP is going to make it.

Many questions remain in GAAP accounting for crypto. Crypto natives will need to continue to develop their own accounting methods once we decentralize finance. For now, it’s a helpful change to encourage institutional crypto holding.

J.W. Verret is an associate professor at the George Mason Law School. He is a practicing crypto forensic accountant and also practices securities law at Lawrence Law LLC. He is a member of the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s Advisory Council and a former member of the SEC Investor Advisory Committee. He also leads the Crypto Freedom Lab, a think tank fighting for policy change to preserve freedom and privacy for crypto developers and users.

This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

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Whale Watching: The Top 5 Crypto Transactions of the Week

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Whale Watching: The Top 5 Crypto Transactions of the Week

Bitcoin takes the throne for this week’s 127,351 BTC ($2,062,504,721) whale transfer out of Binance into an unknown wallet on Nov. 28, 2022, while an Ethereum whale transferred about 231,782 ETH ($274 million) on Nov. 28, 2022.

Binance reportedly paid $0.42 in transaction fees to move the large volume of Bitcoin in a bid as part of an audit process with the goal of greater transparency following the collapse of FTX. It assured users of the exchange that all their funds were safe.

Three Major Whale Transactions Done by Binance, Admits CZ

Additionally, the crypto exchange made at least two other whale transactions of around 200,000,000 BUSD, its native stablecoin, on Nov. 30, 2022. Binance was responsible for 81% of the roughly $3.2 billion of all whale transfers in the past week, with these two similar transfers tied for the fifth position.

Binance CEO Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao took to Twitter to allay fears of malpractice at the exchange, stating that a third-party auditor requires Binance to transfer a certain amount of crypto to itself to prove that the company owns the wallet. The remainder goes to another address, called a “Change Address.”

This is part of the Proof-of-Reserve Audit. The auditor require us to send a specific amount to ourselves to show we control the wallet. And the rest goes to a Change Address, which is a new address. In this case, the Input tx is big, and so is the Change. Ignore FUD! https://t.co/36wUPphIZk pic.twitter.com/2NkH5L5J9j

— CZ 🔶 Binance (@cz_binance) November 28, 2022

Other cryptos coming in close behind Binance’s Bitcoin transfer is the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, Ethereum, with almost $560 million transferred in two transactions of 231,736 ETH ($272 million) and 231,782 ETH ($274 million). Validators were later rewarded with $1.32 and $2.51 in transaction fees.

In both cases, the source and destination addresses were unknown. Crypto Twitter has speculated that the first transaction could have involved Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin. Earlier this year, he reportedly dumped 3,000 ETH to DeFi protocol Uniswap V3 shortly after news broke of the failure of FTX.

Fueling the speculation was the fact that Buterin had moved 30,000 ETH out of his self-custodial wallet in May 2022, prompting speculation that Ethereum would dump later. However, it turned out that the transferred funds were set aside for charitable donations.

Whale Transaction Unlocks XRP From Escrow

Rounding up the top five is the transfer of 500,000,000 XRP ($204 million) from an escrow wallet to an unknown address on Dec. 1, 2022. The escrow is essentially a smart contract on the XRP Ledger, written to dispense locked tokens once certain external conditions are met.

In 2018, Ripple launched an initiative to release 1,000,000,000 XRP at the start of each month through an escrow to create a predictable supply of its native coin. 

Accordingly, the transfer of 500,000,000 XRP was followed by transfers of 400 million and 100 million coins to unlock 1,000,000,000 XRP for Dec. 2022. In the past, Ripple has kept 800,000,000 coins, choosing to lock up the remaining 200,000,000 XRP for a new release.

Summary of the Top 5 Whale Transactions

The top five transactions for the week were:

5. 200,000,000 BUSD ($200,080,000) was transferred from Binance to an unknown wallet on Nov. 30, 2022, followed by a transfer of the same amount of BUSD from an unknown wallet to Binance.

Tx costs: $3.31 and $1.27

4 – 500,000,000 XRP ($204,402,898) was unlocked from escrow at an unknown wallet on Dec. 1, 2022.

Tx cost: Not available

3 – 231,736 ETH ($271,829,771) was transferred from an unknown wallet to another unknown wallet on Nov. 28, 2022.

Tx cost: $1.32 

2 – 231,782 ETH ($274,046,462) was transferred from one unknown wallet to another on Nov. 28, 2022.

Tx cost: $2.51

1 – 127,351 BTC ($2,062,504,721) was transferred from Binance to an unknown wallet, likely another new Binance address, on Nov. 28, 2022.

Tx cost: $0.42

For Be[In]Crypto’s latest Bitcoin (BTC) analysis, click here.

Disclaimer

All the information contained on our website is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Any action the reader takes upon the information found on our website is strictly at their own risk.

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Bybit announces second round of layoffs in 2022 to survive bear market

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Bybit announces second round of layoffs in 2022 to survive bear market

Ben Zhou, the co-founder and CEO of Bybit, announced a reorganization plan amid a prolonged bear market, which involves a steep reduction in the workforce.

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Bybit announces second round of layoffs in 2022 to survive bear market

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Yes, the bear market weeds out the bad actor, but it also forces the existing players to rethink their business strategies to offset resultant losses. In this effort, crypto exchange Bybit announced mass layoffs for the second time in 2022.

Ben Zhou, the co-founder and CEO of Bybit, announced a reorganization plan amid a prolonged bear market, which involves a steep reduction in the workforce. The “planned downsizing” will affects employees across the board:

“We are all saddened by the fact this reorganization will impact many of our dear Bybuddies and some of our oldest friends.”

Independent reporter Colin Wu highlighted that the layoff ratio is 30%. On June 20, Bybit silently laid off employees, citing unsustainable growth, which was confirmed via leaked internal documents. Bybit’s employee headcount grew from a few hundred to over 2000 in 2 years.

1) Difficult decision made today, but tough times demand tough decisions. I have just announced plans to reduce our workforce as part of an ongoing re-organisation of the business as we move to refocus our efforts for the deepening bear market.

— Ben Zhou (@benbybit) December 4, 2022

While announcing the incoming downsizing, Zhou shared his intent to make the offboarding process as smooth as possible. Sufficing this need for restructuring, Zhou said:

“It’s important to ensure Bybit has the right structure and resources in place to navigate the market slowdown and is nimble enough to seize the many opportunities ahead.”

For affected Bybit employees, the revelation is a hard pill to swallow, but Wu reported that employees would receive three months of salary as compensation.

Related: Bybit releases reserve wallet addresses amid calls for transparency

On Nov. 24, Bybit launched a $100 million support fund to provide liquidity to institutional traders following the FTX collapse.

The fund was made available to eligible market makers and high-frequency trading institutions and distributed at a 0% interest rate.

The maximum amount distributed per applicant was $10 million under the condition that the funds would be used for spot and Tether (USDT) perpetual trading on Bybit.

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Elon Musk alleges SBF donated over $1B to Democrats: “Where did it go?”

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Elon Musk alleges SBF donated over $1B to Democrats: “Where did it go?”

SBF made the “highest ROI trade of all time” by donating $40 million to the right people for getting away with stealing over $10 billion, said Will Manidis, the CEO of ScienceIO.

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Elon Musk alleges SBF donated over B to Democrats: "Where did it go?"

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The attempts of mainstream media to water down the frauds committed by FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) did not fare well in convincing the crypto community and entrepreneurs. Instead, the misinformation campaign collided with Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s drive to position Twitter as “the most accurate source of information.”

The world is yet to overcome the shock after witnessing the legal leniency awarded to SBF for misappropriating users’ funds and shady investment practices via trading firms Alameda Research and FTX. Will Manidis, the CEO of ScienceIO, a healthcare data platform, pointed out that SBF made the “highest ROI trade of all time” by donating $40 million to the right people for getting away with stealing over $10 billion.

That’s just the publicly disclosed number. His actual support of Dem elections is probably over $1B. The money went somewhere, so where did it go?

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 3, 2022

On the other hand, Musk alleged that SBF donated over $1 billion to Democratic candidates, which is way more than the publicly disclosed amount of $40 million. SBF previously admitted to making backdoor donations to the Democratic Party. Musk asked:

“His actual support of Dem elections is probably over $1B. The money went somewhere, so where did it go?”

The United States House Financial Services Committee chair Maxine Waters, a Democrat, and ranking member Patrick McHenry, a Republican, have requested SBF to appear in an investigative hearing scheduled for Dec. 13.

.@SBF_FTX, we appreciate that you’ve been candid in your discussions about what happened at #FTX. Your willingness to talk to the public will help the company’s customers, investors, and others. To that end, we would welcome your participation in our hearing on the 13th.

— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) December 2, 2022

To this request, prominent entrepreneurs, including Polygon CEO Ryan Wyatt, informed Waters that “he’s (SBF) a criminal” after being shocked at the leniency shown by the people in power to the fugitive.

Related: FTX collapse drives curiosity around Sam Bankman-Fried, Google data shows

The crypto community openly criticizes paid narratives that try to show SBF in good light. The latest backlash is related to SBF’s interviews in New York Times DealBook Summit and Good Morning America interviews.

Speaking to the news outlets during the ‘apology tour,’ SBF portrayed himself as a victim and got applauded at the end. “Watching SBF’s interview is kind of like watching Casey Anthony’s documentary. They’re so mechanical, they’re so inauthentic in their delivery. If you feel any emotion, at all, it slows people down. The way it is expressed is a separate subjective matter,” said Twitter user and developer Naom.

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