Articles Posted in Cryptocurrency

Technology is constantly changing, and sometimes it is difficult to keep up with all of these futuristic alterations. One big technology that has gripped Texas—and the nation—is digital currency and assets. Because more and more people are getting involved in digital currency, the federal government has started to regulate and mitigate the risks of digital assets and their underlying technology. These pieces of legislation and regulations may be confusing to individuals just learning about cryptocurrency. Because of this, explanations to common questions about digital assets and their legislation are below.

What Are Digital Assets?

While the terms “digital asset” and “digital currency” have become more popular over the years, many individuals are still unsure of what these terms mean. Digital currencies are a form of digital money or monetary value. Similarly, a digital asset refers to financial assets that are issued or represented in a digital form through the use of a technology ledger. A digital currency, therefore, can be a form of a digital asset, along with cryptocurrencies, securities, derivatives, and other financial products. Digital assets can be exchanged across digital asset trading platforms. Digital assets have grown exponentially over the past few years: by November 2021, non-state issues digital assets reached a combined market capitalization of $3 trillion.

What Are Some Recent Laws Impacting Digital Assets?

One regulation that impacts digital assets was an Executive Order—entitled Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets—recently signed by President Biden. The goal of this Executive Order is to create a national policy for digital assets by addressing the risks of cryptocurrency while also encouraging Americans to take advantage of its potential benefits. The Order directs various areas of the federal government, including the Justice Department, the Department of Treasury, and the Federal Reserve System among others, to study the legal and economic implications of creating a U.S. central bank digital currency. This would be a form of digital money with a national unit that has direct ties to a central bank.

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With the emergence of cryptocurrency, many questions have arisen, including the impact of cryptocurrency on everyday life and the economy. However, whether someone has a small amount of Bitcoin or millions in cryptocurrency assets, many individuals do not consider how cryptocurrency assets should be incorporated into an estate plan. Incorporating cryptocurrency into an estate plan allows assets to be protected and ensures these digital goods are passed along after a person has died. Below are common questions and explanations about cryptocurrency and its role in the estate planning process.

What is Cryptocurrency?

Although the word “cryptocurrency” is used often, not many people know what cryptocurrency actually is. Cryptocurrency is a digital currency based on a network distributed across computers, and it is nearly impossible to counterfeit. Cryptocurrencies are decentralized, meaning they operate outside the control of governments. Bitcoin is the most well-known of the cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency is accessed through a private key, which is usually a password that only the owner of the cryptocurrency knows. Without knowing the private key, an individual cannot access, buy, or sell the money. Alternatively, some brokerage houses allow investors to purchase cryptocurrency through their existing accounts.

How Can I Incorporate Cryptocurrency into My Estate Plan?

Because cryptocurrency is digital, it is essential for individuals to include instructions in their estate plan on how to access these assets. Otherwise, if the person dies, the funds may be lost forever—or it may take years to regain access. Estate planning attorneys recommend including a list of all cryptocurrency assets an individual has, along with detailed information about the cryptocurrency’s private key and login information. This will allow beneficiaries to access digital assets and ensure they are not lost forever.

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Information in this article is current as of the date of publication. The policies, regulations, and laws within are subject to change with the IRS, state, or federal legislature.

There’s no denying it: It appears that cryptocurrency is here to stay.

Once confined to hidden corners of the internet, cryptocurrency transactions are now accessible to almost anyone through popular payment platforms like PayPal. Even top financial advisors are now counseling investors who can afford some additional risk in their portfolios to invest in crypto. Indeed, earlier this month, El Salvador became the first nation to recognize Bitcoin as legal tender.

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