Blockchain Week In Review

United States

IRS offers Tennessee couple tax refund over unsold staking rewards

Last week, in a closely watched federal court case in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, the IRS offered a taxpayer who had paid tax on staking rewards a refund, but the taxpayer has reportedly rejected the offer.

The plaintiff, Joshua Jarrett, obtained certain cryptocurrency tokens by staking in 2019 and paid taxes on 8,876 tokens within the Tezos blockchain. “Staking” is a way of earning rewards for holding certain cryptocurrencies. It is a process of actively participating in transaction validation (similar to mining), and by verifying transactions in a blockchain network, the staker can earn passive income. Jarrett staked the 8,000 tokens and did not sell them through 2020. After paying income taxes on the tokens he staked, he sought a refund from the IRS, but the agency declined his request. Jarrett then decided to pursue his case in federal court, filing a complaint on May 26, 2021. The question before the district court was whether the receipt of staking rewards generates taxable income at the date the rewards are received. Jarrett argued that the government didn’t have the right to tax tokens he staked before the tokens were sold or exchanged. In court filings, Jarrett analogized his position to that of a baker who bakes a cake or an author who writes a novel before the baker or the author actually sells their creations.

On February 3rd, it was reported that the IRS offered to refund Jarrett’s money for the taxes paid on the staking rewards, but Jarrett rejected the offer. Unless a judge finally rules on whether tokens obtained in staking constitute taxable income, the matter may remain unsolved for other stakers in the future. Although a judicial opinion in this case may provide some much-needed clarity for stakers, the case could take years to litigate and is only binding precedent for taxpayers in the Middle District of Tennessee.

A trial is set for March 2023. The case is Jarrett v. United States, Case No. 3:21-cv-00419 (M.D. Tenn.).

Recent letters exchanged between Jarret’s counsel and the IRS can be found here.

The complaint can be read here.Continue Reading Blockchain Week in Review: Week of February 11, 2022

Week in Review

  • Federal Jury says crypto-mining products are not securities
  • Biden Working Group recommends regulating Stablecoin issuers like banks
  • Historic Bitcoin trial over self-proclaimed “Satoshi” kicks off
  • Mayors taking their paychecks in bitcoin
  • Ant Group, Tencent, JD.com sign NFT Self-Regulation Convention
  • South Africa bans pension funds from investing in crypto
  • Australian Bank goes all-in on crypto
  • Kazakhstan limits crypto investments for retail traders

Continue Reading Blockchain Week In Review: Week Of November 5, 2021

Weekly Blockchain Focus

  • House Passes Crypto Bills
  • SEC delays decision on Valkyrie Bitcoin ETF – client
  • 11th Circuit Tosses Crypto Case against rapper T.I.
  • Biden nominee for Treasury Department pushes for crypto regulations
  • China Continues Crackdown on Crypto
  • South Africa Banks Block Crypto
  • UK Financial Markets Regulator Issues Crypto Warning
  • BIS Comments on Bitcoin 

Continue Reading Blockchain Week in Review: Week of June 25, 2021

Weekly Focus:

  • Bipartisan crypto bill passes House of Representatives
  • Fed leaves interest rates unchanged, while Chairman Powell says equity markets are a “bit frothy”
  • Paxos becomes third federally regulated crypto bank (& raises $300 million)
  • Wyoming DAO law to go into effect in July
  • DOJ announces arrest of Bitcoin Fog founder who allegedly laundered $335M in crypto
  • Turkey bans cryptocurrency payments, sets up central custodian
  • South Korea set to tax crypto trading gains

Continue Reading Blockchain Week in Review: Week of April 30, 2021

Weekly Focus:

  • Tesla buys $1.5 billion in Bitcoin
  • BNY Mellon launches crypto custody unit
  • OCC welcomes new crypto company
  • Iowa introduces smart contracts bill
  • Rhode Island introduces blockchain act
  • BitMEX publishes data storage framework for FATF ‘Travel Rule’
  • Bank of Korea says CBDCs are fiat currency
  • Central Bank of Nigeria issues prohibition on crypto trading

Continue Reading Blockchain Week in Review: Week of February 12, 2021

Weekly Focus:

  • Kik & SEC Agree to $5M Judgment
  • CFTC Releases Advisory on Futures Commission Merchants
  • New York “Techsprint” Focuses on Virtual Currency Companies
  • Powell Considers U.S. Digital Dollar at IMF Virtual Panel
  • Ripple Considers Leaving U.S. over Lack of Regulatory Clarity
  • New Jersey “Digital Asset and Blockchain Technology Act” Moves Forward in State Legislature
  • IMF Issues New Report on CBDCs and GSCs
  • The Bahamas Rolls Out First CBDC, the “Sand Dollar”
  • Bank of Spain Releases CBDC Research Plan

Continue Reading Blockchain Week in Review: Week of October 23, 2020

Weekly Focus:

  • Libra Association updates white paper with plans to release multiple stablecoins
  • New Wyoming law allows insurance companies to invest in crypto
  • CFTC proposes updates to Part 190
  • Andreessen Horowitz to raise $450 million for second crypto fund
  • ATBCoin settles class action lawsuit for $250k
  • Financial Stability Board releases document on global stablecoins
  • Chinese tech companies file most blockchain patents in 2019
  • China to launch blockchain platform this week

Continue Reading Blockchain Week in Review: Week of April 17, 2020