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The opportunity in embracing cryptocurrency today

Written on Jul 15, 2021

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager   

The introduction of non-fungible tokens in the past year shows how quickly the cryptocurrency space is evolving, and its impact isn’t slowing down anytime soon, said one crypto expert.  

“During the last twelve months, it really has proven how quickly crypto can move from being an idea that had been almost written off to a concept that is increasingly part of everyday conversations,” said Sean Stein Smith, CPA, assistant professor at Lehman College. “It’s being talked about at the IRS level, audit firms, tax firms, accounting conferences and podcasts, and at those higher levels including policymakers here in the US and overseas.”  

Smith serves on the advisory board of the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance and will present “Cryptocurrency, Blockchain and Financial Services,” at the Financial Institutions Virtual Conference on Aug. 25. He’ll cover where cryptocurrency is now along with how crypto and blockchain technology relates to the financial services industry. 

“As Bitcoin and other crypto become integrated into firms, markets, tax audit practices, and advisory services, it really is becoming that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are this new platform for how firms can transfer payments, transfer information and conduct activities,” he said.  

Smith said he’s hearing practitioners ask about how to handle clients that have Bitcoin and other crypto from a tax or other compliance-related angle. He’s also getting questions from external companies about how to start using crypto for payments and integrating blockchain into operation.  

He said much of the attention has been on the income tax impact of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency and is now becoming more about how to help external clients onboard and accept crypto as a form of payment or to help them pay employees, suppliers, and others.  

“One piece of advice I have is try to have a long-term view on this as an investment or a pivot toward what is ultimately going to be the new paradigm for how payments and transactions happen,” he said. 

Smith said continuing education when it comes to cryptocurrency is key, as the space is evolving quickly. He expects more countries by the end of the year will use some form of crypto asset that is qualified as a currency alternative.  

“There are certain areas of the country where, on the surface, blockchain and crypto are not headlines every single day,” Smith said. “But they are really becoming an integrated part of the overall economic landscape.” 

Register for the Financial Institutions Virtual Conference and hear more from Sean Stein Smith and other excellent speakers.  

For additional learning on blockchain, visit my.ohiocpa.com