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ATO Australian tax treatment for options trades 🇦🇺
I am posting this as I hope it will help other Australian options traders trading in US options with their tax treatment for ATO (Australian Tax Office) purposes. The ATO provides very little guidance on tax treatment for options trading and I had to do a lot of digging to get to this point. I welcome any feedback on this post.
The Deloitte Report from 2011
My initial research led me to this comprehensive Deloitte report from 2011 which is hosted on the ASX website. I've been through this document about 20 times and although it's a great report to understand how different scenarios apply, it's still really hard to find out what's changed since 2011. I am mainly relating myself to the scenario of being an individual and non-sole trader (no business set up) for my trading. I think this will apply to many others here too. According to that document, there isn't much guidance on what happens when you're an options premium seller and close positions before they expire. Note that the ATO sometimes uses the term "ETO" (Exchange Traded Option) to discuss what we're talking about here with options trading. Also note: The ATO discusses the separate Capital Gains Tax ("CGT") events that occur in each scenario in some of their documents. A CGT event will then determine what tax treatment gets applied if you don't know much about capital gains in Australia.
ATO Request for Advice
Since the Deloitte report didn't answer my questions, I eventually ended up contacting the ATO with a request for advice and tried to explain my scenario: I'm an Australian resident for tax purposes,I'm trading with tastyworks in $USD, I'm primarily a premium seller and I don't have it set up with any business/company/trust etc. In effect, I have a rough idea that I'm looking at capital gains tax but I wanted to fully understand how it worked. Initially the ATO respondent didn't understand what I was talking about when I said that I was selling a position first and buying it to close. According to the laws, there is no example of this given anywhere because it is always assumed in ATO examples that you buy a position and sell it. Why? I have no idea. I sent a follow up request with even more detail to the ATO. I think (hope) they understood what I meant now after explaining what an options premium seller is!
First, I have to consider translating my $USD to Australian dollars. How do we treat that? FX Translation If the premium from selling the options contract is received in $USD, do I convert it to $AUD on that day it is received? ATO response:
Subsection 960-50(6), Item 5 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA 1997) states the amount should be translated at the time of the transaction or event for the purposes of the Capital Gains Tax provisions. For the purpose of granting an option to an entity, the time of the event is when you grant the option (subsection 104-20(2) ITAA 1997).
This is a very detailed response which even refers to the level of which section in the law it is coming from. I now know that I need to translate my trades from $USD to $AUD according to the RBA's translation rates for every single trade. But what about gains or losses on translation? There is one major rule that overrides FX gains and losses after digging deeper. The ATO has a "$250k balance election". This will probably apply to a lot of people trading in balances below $250k a lot of the FX rules don't apply. It states:
However, the $250,000 balance election broadly enables you to disregard certain foreign currency gains and losses on certain foreign currency denominated bank accounts and credit card accounts (called qualifying forex accounts) with balances below a specified limit.
Therefore, I'm all good disregarding FX gains and losses! I just need to ensure I translate my trades on the day they occurred. It's a bit of extra admin to do unfortunately, but it is what it is.
This is the scenario where we SELL a position first, collect premium, and close the position by making an opposite BUY order. Selling a naked PUT, for example. What happens when you open the position? ATO Response:
The option is grantedCGT event D2 happens when a taxpayer grants an option. The time of the event is when the option is granted. The capital gain or loss arising is the difference between the capital proceeds and the expenditure incurred to grant the option.
This seems straight forward. We collect premium and record a capital gain. What happens when you close the position? ATO Response:
Closing out an optionThe establishment of an ETO contract is referred to as opening a position (ASX Explanatory Booklet 'Understanding Options Trading'). A person who writes (sells) a call or put option may close out their position by taking (buying) an identical call or put option in the same series. This is referred to as the close-out of an option or the closing-out of an opening position. CGT event C2 happens when a taxpayer's ownership of an intangible CGT asset ends. Paragraph 104-25(1)(a) of the ITAA 1997 provides that ownership of an intangible CGT asset ends by cancellation, surrender, or release or similar means. CGT event C2 therefore happens to a taxpayer when their position under an ETO is closed out where the close-out results in the cancellation, release or discharge of the ETO. Under subsection 104-25(3) of the ITAA 1997 you make a capital gain from CGT event C2 if the capital proceeds from the ending are more than the assets cost base. You make a capital loss if those capital proceeds are less than the assets reduced cost base. Both CGT events (being D2 upon granting the option and C2 upon adopting the close out position) must be accounted for if applicable to a situation.
My take on this is that the BUY position that cancels out your SELL position will most often simply realise a capital loss (the entire portion of your BUY position). In effect, it 'cancels out' your original premium sold, but it's not recorded that way, it's recorded as two separate CGT events - your capital gain from CGT event D2 (SELL position), then, your capital loss from CGT event C2 (BUY position) is also recorded.In effect, they net each other out, but you don't record them as a 'netted out' number-you record them separately. From what I understand, if you were trading as a sole tradecompany then you would record them as a netted out capital gain or loss, because the trades would be classified as trading stock but not in our case here as an individual person trading options. The example I've written below should hopefully make that clearer. EXAMPLE: Trade on 1 July 2020: Open position
SELL -1 SPY 85 PUT, exp 30 August 2020
Collect Premium USD$1 per unit, and brokerage USD$5
= USD$100 premium collected, minus USD$5
= Net amount of USD$95 collected
FX Translation rate on the date of the trade: AUD $1.00 = $USD 0.70
Net Premium Collected in $AUD
= USD$95 x (1/.7)
CGT Event D2 triggered and a capital gain of $135.71 is recorded
Trade on 15 July 2020: Close position
BUY 1 SPY 85 PUT, exp 30 August 2020
Pay Premium $0.50 per unit, and brokerage $5
= $50 premium paid, plus $5
= Net amount of USD$55 paid
FX Translation rate on the date of the trade: AUD $1.00 = $USD 0.60
Net Premium Collected in $AUD
= USD$55 x (1/.6)
CGT Event C2 triggered and a capital loss of $91.66 is recorded
We can see from this simple example that even though you made a gain on those trades, you still have to record the transactions separately, as first a gain, then as a loss. Note that it is not just a matter of netting off the value of the net profit collected and converting the profit to $AUD because the exchange rate will be different on the date of the opening trade and on the date of the closing trade we have to record them separately. What if you don't close the position and the options are exercised? ATO Response:
The option is granted and then the option is exercisedUnder subsection 104-40(5) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA 1997) the capital gain or loss from the CGT event D2 is disregarded if the option is exercised. Subsection 134-1(1), item 1, of the ITAA 1997 refers to the consequences for the grantor of the exercise of the option. Where the option binds the grantor to dispose of a CGT asset section 116-65 of the ITAA 1997 applies to the transaction. Subsection 116-65(2) of the ITAA 1997 provides that the capital proceeds from the grant or disposal of the shares (CGT asset) include any payment received for granting the option. The disposal of the shares is a CGT event A1 which occurs under subsection 104-10(3) of the ITAA 1997 when the contract for disposal is entered into. You would still make a capital gain at the happening of the CGT event D2 in the year the event occurs (the time the option is granted). That capital gain is disregarded when the option is exercised. Where the option is exercised in the subsequent tax year, the CGT event D2 gain is disregarded at that point. An amendment may be necessary to remove the gain previously included in taxable income for the year in which the CGT event D2 occurred.
This scenario is pretty unlikely - for me personally I never hold positions to expiration, but it is nice to know what happens with the tax treatment if it ultimately does come to that.
What about the scenario when you want to BUY some options first, then SELL that position and close it later? Buying a CALL, for example. This case is what the ATO originally thought my request was about before I clarified with them. They stated:
When you buy an ETO, you acquire an asset (the ETO) for the amount paid for it (that is, the premium) plus any additional costs such as brokerage fees and the Australian Clearing House (ACH) fee. These costs together form the cost base of the ETO (section 109-5 of the ITAA 1997). On the close out of the position, you make a capital gain or loss equal to the difference between the cost base of the ETO and the amount received on its expiry or termination (subsection 104-25(3) of the ITAA 1997). The capital gain or loss is calculated on each parcel of options.
So it seems it is far easier to record debit trades for tax purposes. It is easier for the tax office to see that you open a position by buying it, and close it by selling it. And in that case you net off the total after selling it. This is very similar to a trading shares and the CGT treatment is in effect very similar (the main difference is that it is not coming under CGT event A1 because there is no asset to dispose of, like in a shares or property trade).
Other ATO Info (FYI)
The ATO also referred me to the following documents. They relate to some 'decisions' that they made from super funds but the same principles apply to individuals they said.
The ATO’s Interpretative Decision in relation to the tax treatment of premiums payable and receivable for exchange traded options can be found on the links below. Please note that the interpretative decisions below are in relation to self-managed superannuation funds but the same principles would apply in your situation [as an individual taxpayer, not as a super fund].
Key quote from this decision: CGT Event D2will apply on the writing of an ETO by the Fund. The Fund as grantor of the option will make a capital gain (or loss) of the difference between the capital proceeds (that is, the premium receivable) and the cost of granting the option (for example, brokerage fees) at the time the option is granted
My take on this is that you will realise a capital gain on issuing of the selling position. I don't see how you could realise a capital loss in that scenario? Or maybe if you sell a position and the brokerage is so high that it outweighs the premium received (a dumb trade) then that would be a capital loss (a rare scenario).
Key quote from decision: When the Fund opens a position by buying an ETO, no immediate taxation consequences arise.CGT Event C2will happen to the Fund when its position under an ETO is closed out where the close-out results in the cancellation, release or discharge of the ETO
Don't forget to declare your trades on your tax return and keep a nice spreadsheet
Keep track of the exchange rates for each day you make a trade. You could do as you go and check the RBA exchange rates website for the daily number, or just do it all at once at the end of the financial year
Finally - I recommend ensuring that you save a portion of your income to pay the capital gains tax at the end of the year so you don't have to withdraw it from your portfolio and pay exchange rate fees to convert it back to Australian dollars. It will depend on your marginal tax rate what that percentage will work out to be in the end.
I'm confused about how to calculate CGT for foreign shares. Assume that I:
Exchange some AUD into USD.
A few days later, purchase some US shares using the USD.
At some point in the future, sell the shares and receive the USD proceeds.
A few days after that, convert the USD into AUD.
What values do I use for calculating CGT? I can think of at least two approaches:
Use the ATO's published forex rates for the purchase & sale dates of the shares.
Or, use the actual AUD amounts that went out of and into my Australian bank account.
The second option seems more logical to me, as it more accurately reflects the exchange rate I got and the actual profit I made. It also seems to be the approach suggested by this ATO page, but maybe I'm misunderstanding it? Also, is CGT the only thing I need to worry about? Or do other forex taxation rules also come into the picture? Thanks for any help :)
The app is still in Beta. IE there likely will be some bugs, but we are working on them.
The price for the full package is set cheap - $22 for this Financial Year and includes 10,000 trades IF you purchase before EOFY. Afterwards the price will be higher (TBA).
We have had a Chartered Accountant go through the platform to check for whether the output would work for them.
If you have trades that are from an exchange that is not supported send the exchange and your export file to us ([email protected] - include your username/account email so we know who we are talking to)! Worst case scenario we can manually import them for you, but best case we will add support for the exchange pretty quickly. We don't guarantee this service level will last forever, but in the early days we can be very hands on.
Please use the Feature Request page when signed in (free users too) - voting and requesting new features does impact where we put our development resources to.
Future developments (aside from more exchange integrations):
Trader vs CGT differentiation
Mining support (coming soontmbutseriously )
Fork Management (also coming soontm)
Multiple Forex Rate Providers (primarily for accountants)
Specific exchange rates (E.g. Binance) rather than averages - Pending ATO confirmation of what is defined as a reliable source of pricing.
Estimated current portfolio value (I think most people have their own apps for this though - not a high priority unless more people request it)
Accountant Portal (to share data with your accountant in a read-only simplified format)
Popular (think top 10) cryptocurrency address tracking (to automatically import and track expenses)
Coming Later: Integration with popular accounting platforms (Xero, Quickbooks, MYOB).
A final notice - our legal department has made sure I include this disclaimer: Sublime IP and our services do not provide tax, financial or legal advice. Seek a professional for that! We have an accountant already listed on the platform who is versed in cryptocurrency and more soon to come. Kind regards, Nathan P.S. Testers - your accounts have full access and are limited to 100,000 trades. Thank you to those who gave feedback and found bugs.
"Satoshi Nakamoto" the mysterious creator of Bitcoin is no other than the CIA
Bitcoin has surged to all time highs, Who created Bitcoin, and why? The creator of Bitcoin is officially a name, “Satoshi Nakamoto” – very few people believe that it was a single male from Japan. In the early days of Bitcoin development this name is associated with original key-creation and communications on message boards, and then the project was officially handed over to others at which point this Satoshi character never appeared again (Although from time to time someone will come forward saying they are the real Satoshi Nakamoto, and then have their posts deleted). Bitcoin could very well be the ‘one world currency’ that conspiracy theorists have been talking about for some time. It’s a kill five birds with one stone solution – not only is Bitcoin an ideal one world currency, it allows law enforcement a perfect record of all transactions on the network. It states very clearly on bitcoin.org (the official site) in big letters “Bitcoin is not anonymous” : Some effort is required to protect your privacy with Bitcoin. All Bitcoin transactions are stored publicly and permanently on the network, which means anyone can see the balance and transactions of any Bitcoin address. However, the identity of the user behind an address remains unknown until information is revealed during a purchase or in other circumstances. This is one reason why Bitcoin addresses should only be used once. Another advantage of Bitcoin is the problem of Quantitative Easing – the Fed (and thus, nearly all central banks in the world) have painted themselves in a corner, metaphorically speaking. QE ‘solved’ the credit crisis, but QE itself does not have a solution. Currently all currencies are in a race to zero – competing with who can print more money faster. Central Bankers who are in systemic analysis, their economic advisors, know this. They know that the Fiat money system is doomed, all what you can read online is true (just sensationalized) – it’s a debt based system based on nothing. That system was created, originally in the early 1900’s and refined during Breton Woods followed by the Nixon shock (This is all explained well in Splitting Pennies). In the early 1900’s – there was no internet! It is a very archaic system that needs to be replaced, by something modern, electronic, based on encryption. Bitcoin! It’s a currency based on ‘bits’ – but most importantly, Bitcoin is not the ‘one world currency’ per se, but laying the framework for larger cryptocurrency projects. In the case of central banks, who control the global monetary system, that would manifest in ‘Settlement Coin’ : Two resources available almost exclusively to central banks could soon be opened up to additional users as a result of a new digital currency project designed by a little-known startup and Swiss bank UBS. One of those resources is the real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system used by central banks (it’s typically reserved for high-value transactions that need to be settled instantly), and the other is central bank-issued cash. Using the Utility Settlement Coin (USC) unveiled today, the five-member consortium that has sprung up around the project aims to help central banks open-up access to these tools to more customers. If successful, USC has the potential to create entirely new business models built on instant settling and easy cash transfers. In interview, Robert Sams, founder of London-based Clearmatics, said his firm initially worked with UBS to build the network, and that BNY Mellon, Deutsche Bank, ICAP and Santander are only just the first of many future members. the NSA/CIA often works for big corporate clients, just as it has become a cliche that the Iraq war was about big oil, the lesser known hand in global politics is the banking sector. In other words, Bitcoin may have very well been ‘suggested’ or ‘sponsored’ by a banker, group of banks, or financial services firm. But the NSA (as we surmise) was the company that got the job done. And probably, if it was in fact ‘suggested’ or ‘sponsored’ by a private bank, they would have been waiting in the wings to develop their own Bitcoin related systems or as in the above “Settlement Coin.” So the NSA made Bitcoin – so what? The FX markets currently represent the exchange between ‘major’ and ‘minor’ currencies. In the future, why not too they will include ‘cryptocurrencies’ – we’re already seeing the BTC/EUR pair popup on obscure brokers. When BTC/USD and BTC/EUR are available at major FX banks and brokers, we can say – from a global FX perspective, that Bitcoin has ‘arrived.’ Many of us remember the days when the synthetic “Euro” currency was a new artificial creation that was being adopted, although the Euro project is thousands of degrees larger than the Bitcoin project. But unlike the Euro, Bitcoin is being adopted at a near exponential rate by demand (Many merchants resisted the switch to Euros claiming it was eating into their profit margins and they were right!). And to answer the question as to why Elite E Services is not actively involved in Bitcoin the answer is that previously, you can’t trade Bitcoin. Now we’re starting to see obscure brokers offering BTC/EUR but the liquidity is sparse and spreads are wacky – that will all change. When we can trade BTC/USD just like EUUSD you can bet that EES and a host of other algorithmic FX traders will be all over it! It will be an interesting trade for sure, especially with all the volatility, the cross ‘pairs’ – and new cryptocurrencies. For the record, for brokers- there’s not much difference adding a new symbol (currency pair) in MT4 they just need liquidity, which has been difficult to find. So there’s really nothing revolutionary about Bitcoin, it’s just a logical use of technology in finance considering a plethora of problems faced by any central bank who creates currency. And there are some interesting caveats to Bitcoin as compared to major currencies; Bitcoin is a closed system (there are finite Bitcoin) – this alone could make such currencies ‘anti-inflationary’ and at the least, hold their value (the value of the USD continues to deteriorate slowly over time as new M3 introduced into the system.) But we need to pay Here’s some interesting theories about who or whom is Satoshi: A corporate conglomerate Some researchers proposed that the name ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ was derived from a combination of tech companies consisting of Samsung, Toshiba, Nakayama, and Motorola. The notion that the name was a pseudonym is clearly true and it is doubtful they reside in Japan given the numerous forum posts with a distinctly English dialect. Craig Steven Wright This Australian entrepreneur claims to be the Bitcoin creator and provided proof. But soon after, his offices were raided by the tax authorities on ‘an unrelated matter’ Soon after these stories were published, authorities in Australia raided the home of Mr Wright. The Australian Taxation Office said the raid was linked to a long-running investigation into tax payments rather than Bitcoin. Questioned about this raid, Mr Wright said he was cooperating fully with the ATO. “We have lawyers negotiating with them over how much I have to pay,” he said. Other potential creators Nick Szabo, and many others, have been suggested as potential Satoshi – but all have denied it: The New Yorker published a piece pointing at two possible Satoshis, one of whom seemed particularly plausible: a cryptography graduate student from Trinity College, Dublin, who had gone on to work in currency-trading software for a bank and published a paper on peer-to-peer technology. The other was a Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, Vili Lehdonvirta. Both made denials. Fast Company highlighted an encryption patent application filed by three researchers – Charles Bry, Neal King and Vladimir Oksman – and a circumstantial link involving textual analysis of it and the Satoshi paper which found the phrase “…computationally impractical to reverse” in both. Again, it was flatly denied. THE WINNER: It was the NSA The NSA has the capability, the motive, and the operational capacity – they have teams of cryptographers, the biggest fastest supercomputers in the world, and they see the need. Whether instructed by their friends at the Fed, in cooperation with their owners (i.e. Illuminati banking families), or as part of a DARPA project – is not clear and will never be known (unless a whistleblower comes forward). In fact, the NSA employs some of the best mathematicians and cryptographers in the world. Few know about their work because it’s a secret, and this isn’t the kind of job you leave to start your own cryptography company. But the real smoking Gun, aside from the huge amount of circumstantial evidence and lack of a credible alternative, is the 1996 paper authored by NSA “HOW TO MAKE A MINT: THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF ANONYMOUS ELECTRONIC CASH” The NSA was one of the first organizations to describe a Bitcoin-like system. About twelve years before Satoshi Nakamotopublished his legendary white paper to the Metzdowd.com cryptography mailing list, a group of NSA information security researchers published a paper entitled How to Make a Mint: the Cryptography of Anonymous Electronic Cash in two prominent places, the first being an MIT mailing list and the second being much more prominent, The American Law Review The paper outlines a system very much like Bitcoin in which secure financial transactions are possible through the use of a decentralized network the researchers refer informally to as a Bank. They list four things as indispensable in their proposed network: privacy, user identification (protection against impersonation), message integrity (protection against tampering/substitution of transaction information – that is, protection against double-spending), and nonrepudiation (protection against later denial of a transaction – a blockchain!). It is evident that SHA-256, the algorithm Satoshi used to secure Bitcoin, was not available because it came about in 2001. However, SHA-1 would have been available to them, having been published in 1993. Why would the NSA want to do this? One simple reason: Control. As we explain in Splitting Pennies – Understanding Forex – the primary means the US dominates the world is through economic policy, although backed by bombs. And the critical support of the US Dollar is primarily, the military. The connection between the military and the US Dollar system is intertwined inextricably. There are thousands of great examples only one of them being how Iraq switched to the Euro right before the Army’s invasion. In October 2000 Iraq insisted on dumping the US dollar – ‘the currency of the enemy’ – for the more multilateral euro. The changeover was announced on almost exactly the same day that the euro reached its lowest ebb, buying just $0.82, and the G7 Finance Ministers were forced to bail out the currency. On Friday the euro had reached $1.08, up 30 per cent from that time. Almost all of Iraq’s oil exports under the United Nations oil-for-food programme have been paid in euros since 2001. Around 26 billion euros (£17.4bn) has been paid for 3.3 billion barrels of oil into an escrow account in New York. The Iraqi account, held at BNP Paribas, has also been earning a higher rate of interest in euros than it would have in dollars. The point here is there are a lot of different types of control. The NSA monitors and collects literally all electronic communications; internet, phone calls, everything. They listen in even to encrypted voice calls with high powered microphones, devices like cellphones equipped with recording devices (See original “Clipper” chip). It’s very difficult to communicate on planet Earth in private, without the NSA listening. So it is only logical that they would also want complete control of the financial system, including records of all electronic transactions, which Bitcoin provides. Could there be an ‘additional’ security layer baked into the Blockchain that is undetectable, that allows the NSA to see more information about transactions, such as network location data? It wouldn’t be so far fetched, considering their past work, such as Xerox copy machines that kept a record of all copies made (this is going back to the 70’s, now it’s common). Of course security experts will point to the fact that this layer remains invisible, but if this does exist – of course it would be hidden. More to the point about the success of Bitcoin – its design is very solid, robust, manageable – this is not the work of a student. Of course logically, the NSA employs individuals, and ultimately it is the work of mathematicians, programmers, and cryptographers – but if we deduce the most likely group capable, willing, and motivated to embark on such a project, the NSA is the most likely suspect. Universities, on the other hand, didn’t product white papers like this from 1996. Another question is that if it was the NSA, why didn’t they go through more trouble concealing their identity? I mean, the internet is rife with theories that it was in fact the NSA/CIA and “Satoshi Nakamoto” means in Japanese “Central Intelligence” – well there are a few answers for this, but to be congruent with our argument, it fits their profile. Where could this ‘hidden layer’ be? Many think it could be in the public SHA-256, developed by NSA (which ironically, was the encryption algorithm of choice for Bitcoin – they could have chosen hundreds of others, which arguably are more secure): Claims that the NSA created Bitcoin have actually been flung around for years. People have questioned why it uses the SHA-256 hash function, which was designed by the NSA and published by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). The fact that the NSA is tied to SHA-256 leads some to assume it’s created a backdoor to the hash function that no one has ever identified, which allows it to spy on Bitcoin users. “If you assume that the NSA did something to SHA-256, which no outside researcher has detected, what you get is the ability, with credible and detectable action, they would be able to forge transactions. The really scary thing is somebody finds a way to find collisions in SHA-256 really fast without brute-forcing it or using lots of hardware and then they take control of the network,” cryptography researcher Matthew D. Green of Johns Hopkins University said in a previous interview. Then there’s the question of “Satoshi Nakamoto” – if it was in fact the NSA, why not just claim ownership of it? Why all the cloak and dagger? And most importantly, if Satoshi Nakamoto is a real person, and not a group that wants to remain secret – WHY NOT come forward and claim your nearly $3 Billion worth of Bitcoin (based on current prices). Did the NSA create Satoshi Nakamoto? The CIA Project, a group dedicated to unearthing all of the government’s secret projects and making them public, hasreleased a video claiming Bitcoin is actually the brainchild of the US National Security Agency. The video entitled CIA Project Bitcoin: Is Bitcoin a CIA or NSA project? claims that there is a lot of compelling evidences that proves that the NSA is behind Bitcoin. One of the main pieces of evidence has to do with the name of the mysterious man, woman or group behind the creation of Bitcoin, “Satoshi Nakamoto”. According to the CIA Project, Satoshi Nakamoto means “Central Intelligence” in Japanese. Doing a quick web search, you’ll find out that Satoshi is usually a name given for baby boys which means “clear thinking, quick witted, wise,” while Nakamoto is a Japanese surname which means ‘central origin’ or ‘(one who lives) in the middle’ as people with this surname are found mostly in the Ryukyu islands which is strongly associated with the Ry?ky? Kingdom, a highly centralized kingdom that originated from the Okinawa Islands. So combining Nakamoto and Satoshi can be loosely interpreted as “Central Intelligence”. Is it so really hard to believe? This is from an organization that until the Snowden leaks, secretly recorded nearly all internet traffic on the network level by splicing fiber optic cables. They even have a deep-sea splicing mission that will cut undersea cables and install intercept devices. Making Bitcoin wouldn’t even be a big priority at NSA. Certainly, anonymity is one of the biggest myths about Bitcoin. In fact, there has never been a more easily traceable method of payment. Every single transaction is recorded and retained permanently in the public “blockchain”. The idea that the NSA would create an anarchic, peer-to-peer crypto-currency in the hope that it would be adopted for nefarious industries and become easy to track would have been a lot more difficult to believe before the recent leaks by Edward Snowden and the revelation that billions of phone calls had been intercepted by the US security services. We are now in a world where we now know that the NSA was tracking the pornography habits of Islamic “radicalisers” in order to discredit them and making deals with some of the world’s largest internet firms to insert backdoors into their systems. And we’re not the only ones who believe this, in Russia they ‘know’ this to be true without sifting through all the evidence. Nonetheless, Svintsov’s remarks count as some of the more extreme to emanate from the discussion. Svintsov told Russian broadcast news agency REGNUM:“All these cryptocurrencies [were] created by US intelligence agencies just to finance terrorism and revolutions.”Svintsov reportedly went on to explain how cryptocurrencies have started to become a payment method for consumer spending, and cited reports that terrorist organisations are seeking to use the technology for illicit means. Let’s elaborate on what is ‘control’ as far as the NSA is concerned. Bitcoin is like the prime mover. All future cryptocurrencies, no matter how snazzy or functional – will never have the same original keys as Bitcoin. It created a self-sustained, self-feeding bubble – and all that followed. It enabled law enforcement to collect a host of criminals on a network called “Silk Road” and who knows what other operations that happened behind the scenes. Because of pesky ‘domestic’ laws, the NSA doesn’t control the internet in foreign countries. But by providing a ‘cool’ currency as a tool, they can collect information from around the globe and like Facebook, users provide this information voluntarily. It’s the same strategy they use like putting the listening device in the chips at the manufacturing level, which saves them the trouble of wiretapping, electronic eavesdropping, and other risky methods that can fail or be blocked. It’s impossible to stop a cellphone from listening to you, for example (well not 100%, but you have to physically rewire the device). Bitcoin is the same strategy on a financial level – by using Bitcoin you’re giving up your private transactional information. By itself, it would not identify you per se (as the blockchain is ‘anonymous’ but the transactions are there in the public register, so combined with other information, which the NSA has a LOT OF – they can triangulate their information more precisely. That’s one problem solved with Bitcoin – another being the economic problem of QE (although with a Bitcoin market cap of $44 Billion, that’s just another day at the Fed buying MBS) – and finally, it squashes the idea of sovereignty although in a very, very, very subtle way. You see, a country IS a currency. Until now, currency has always been tied to national sovereignty (although the Fed is private, USA only has one currency, the US Dollar, which is exclusively American). Bitcoin is a super-national currency, or really – the world’s first one world currency. Of course, this is all great praise for the DOD which seems to have a 50 year plan – but after tens of trillions spent we’d hope that they’d be able to do something better than catching terrorists (which mostly are artificial terrorists)
Hey all, trying to get my head around capital gains and losses on foreign shares. How do I calculate tax on foreign shares (for my case, in the US)? I've read around the ATO website a bit, but a bit difficult to follow. It mentions forex realisations, but not sure how to apply it. I use Commsec's international trading platform, so all my money there is in US dollars, and hasn't converted yet to Australian dollars. For example:
I deposit AUD$1000 into my trading account at 1AUD=0.80USD so I receive USD$800.
I then buy USD$800 worth of some share. But when I buy the shares, the exchange rate is now 1AUD=0.75USD.
I sell the shares for USD$900. Now the exchange rate is 1AUD=0.70USD.
Now, I don't withdraw the USD into AUD, so it's still in USD. In the hypothetical above, how much is capital gains? Really appreciate the help!
A mate of mine is a real estate agent in Balwyn – the epicentre of Chinese investment in Melbourne property. He tells some interesting stories. The new restrictions are really having an effect. One Chinese buyer had to go to extraordinary lengths to settle on a property last week. Apparently they used to be able to get lots of people in China to transfer $50k each to a single bank account here in Australia ($50k was the max you could transfer out in 3 or 6 months or something from a Chinese bank account). Now China is also tracking the account receiving the money – the same overseas account cannot receive more than $50k from Chinese accounts. Anyway, the Chinese buyer tried the ‘old’ approach and was rung by the Bank of China advising her that the attempted money transfers were illegal. The buyer needed about $2m. What they ended up doing was flying their whole family out (10+ people) to all set up bank accounts here in Australia. The flights would have cost of fortune. Plus they contacted people they knew in Australia to help out. They then used multiple accounts in China to transfer to multiple accounts in Australia, before putting the money into a single account in Australia. So it’s much harder to get money out – but still possible. Has to stop some buyers, at least. More generally my mate tells me that expressions of interest are down, there are fewer Chinese turning up to open for inspections, etc – all in the past 2 or so weeks. Will be interesting to see what happens when the ATO steps up later this year.
It interests me to consider: does Bitcoin help the person in this case? It doesn't make the transfer any less illegal to the CCP, but let's put that to one side for the moment. Consider that a $2 million dollar (this is AUD not USD so it's actually 30% less but let's pretend it's $2m for simpler numbers) buy would be about 10K BTC. Given that there are multiple fairly big exchanges and a lot of USD and RMB liquidity, I guess you could buy this fairly quickly, but once the market gets wind of such a big buyer the offers will start disappearing rapidly. In other words, you might get a lot of slippage on price and might end up paying a few percent more than the starting price. (Doing a special deal with a miner might make some sense, but that would be seriously hard if not impossible). Then consider liquidating into AUD. Much less AUD liquidity of course, but you could liquidate into USD and transfer to an arbitrary international account; after all, a wire transfer fee into Australia is basically zero compared to everything else discussed here. Another problem might crop up there: wire transfers of $2m into a new account could create AML/KYC flags, at the Bitcoin exchange, and at the one or two bank accounts involved. Add to that the general volatility risk of the Bitcoin exchange rate; it's more of a risk than a certain cost, but if BTC moves against fiat by more than 5% in all this, it could be quite a big hit. Compare all that to the cost of flying 15 people to and from Australia and doing it that way. I would ballpark that at $40K (also huge hassle, which is not so quantifiable), even imagining you can find that many people amongst friends and family that can do this for you. Overall? I doubt the person involved even considered Bitcoin, but on balance I think they would still go with the flights approach, because the limitations/costs of it are more certain. But, I see scenarios which would skew it more in Bitcoin's favour:
Increased govt. crackdown; if they start checking and investigating more, it's going to be more and more difficult to do it the "normal" way. But this could cut both ways; depending on what kind of crackdown we're talking about, Bitcoin might be a lot harder to acquire.
Increased Bitcoin liquidity; Bitcoin's price and daily exchange volume need to be much higher for these kinds of transactions to be doable without worrying about price slippage. That would only leave the volatility concern, which is still larger than normal Forex but is getting smaller.
The obvious: wider ownership/acceptance of Bitcoin always helps incrementally - the buyer already owns BTC, the home seller accepts BTC, you have a friend with BTC already etc. etc.
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