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The cryptocurrency market has exploded in recent years, with early investors and new entrants continuing to amass large wealth.

But with crypto still in its infancy, largely unregulated and often misunderstood, do you know how to protect your cryptoassets?

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The cryptocurrency market has exploded in recent years, with early investors and new entrants continuing to amass large wealth.

Cryptocurrency (crypto) is decentralized money designed to be used over the internet. It exists digitally and uses cryptography to secure transactions.

Crypto makes it possible to transfer funds online without the need for a bank or payment processor. Instead of being issued or controlled by a government or central authority, they're managed by peer-to-peer networks of computers running free, open-source software. This enables anyone, anywhere, to send and receive payments.

Crypto transactions run on a distributed public ledger called blockchain, similar to a bank's balance sheet. Each currency has its own blockchain, which records all transactions. This record is updated and distributed across participants of the digital currency's network.

Cryptocurrencies allow individuals to gain complete control of their own assets.


The first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, launched in 2008 and remains the most traded. Other cryptocurrencies, or altcoins, have also grown as digital alternatives, including Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple.

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Ethereum (2015)

A blockchain platform with its own cryptocurrency. The most popular after Bitcoin.

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Litecoin (2011)

Most like Bitcoin. It's quickly developed faster payments and processes, allowing for more transactions.

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Ripple (2012)

A distributed ledger system that can be used to track a multitude of transactions, not just cryptocurrency.


Decision 1:
Choose a currency

Bitcoin and Ethereum are the most popular. If you are risk-tolerant, there are also smaller altcoins, which could offer higher upside potentials (see our post on different cryptocurrencies).

Step 1: Choose a platform

Consider which cryptocurrencies they offer, their fees, security features, storage and withdrawal options, and any educational resources they have. You can either invest via a traditional broker, or a cryptocurrency exchange.

Step 2: Fund your account

Crypto exchanges allow you to purchase cryptocurrency using government-issued currencies such as USD, GBP or Euro via your debit or credit card.
Accepted payment methods and the time taken for transactions vary by platform. Fees also vary, including potential deposit and withdrawal transaction fees, as well as trading fees, so do your due diligence.

Step 3: Place an order

Bitcoin and Ethereum are the most popular. If you are risk-tolerant, there are also smaller altcoins, which could offer higher upside potentials (see our post on different cryptocurrencies).


Today's crypto market is large and active.

There is ongoing debate around cryptocurrency, as countries decide whether to embrace, regulate or ban it. Added to this, Bitcoin has recently come under fire from climate experts.

The industry is still in its infancy and is evolving. As digital assets become more widely accepted, governments worldwide are developing cryptocurrency regulations, and financial institutions are working to adapt their infrastructure to adopt crypto.


ISO 20022 has been introduced as the global data standard for modern payments.

Cryptocurrencies are beginning to focus on streamlining international transfers and looking at meeting ISO 20022. Several digital currencies already meet its requirements, including:

  • Ripple
  • Stellar Lumens
  • XDC
  • Iota
  • Alogrand

As crypto's adoption increases, and with it, its importance in the global investment landscape, countries have taken different approaches to regulation.

Despite the prevalence of crypto in the US and UK, neither have yet introduced a clear regulatory framework. And varying regulations across countries mean that cryptocurrencies are subject to different classifications and taxation.



HMRC has issued guidance on how to wrap the existing tax code around crypto, and how to report taxes on DeFi (Decentralised Finance) staking and lending.

For individuals, crypto tax is split between capital gains and income. If you profit from selling crypto, you'll be charged capital gains tax. If you've earned crypto from working, you'll be charged income tax and national insurance on your profits. You don't pay tax for simply holding crypto.

In the US:

Taxpayers are required to report crypto sales, conversions, payments and income to the IRS and state tax authorities. Crypto is considered a digital asset, and the IRS treats it like stocks, bonds and other capital assets. The money you gain is taxed as capital gains or income, and assessed based on whether they are taxable or non-taxable events.

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2. What you can buy with crypto

Bitcoin was intended to be used in daily transactions, for everything from a coffee to a computer, or even property. That hasn't quite materialised, and while the number of institutions accepting crypto is growing, large transactions remain rare.

That said, you can buy a host of products from e-comm websites using crypto, including:

Technology and e-commerce sites

  • Newegg.com
  • Microsoft
  • Overstock
  • Shopify
  • Rakuten
  • Home Depot

Luxury Goods

Bitdials offers Rolex and Patek Philippe watches


Bitcars offers supercars and classic cars


AXA now accepts Bitcoin for all insurance (except life)

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3. What is crypto banking and Decentralised Finance (DeFi)?

The emerging digital currency market is creating an alternate ecosystem of finance, commerce, investment, and speculation, which could transform the global economy and disrupt industries. It's starting to reshape the way people borrow and save, and is remaking banking as we know it.

CeFi, TradFi and DeFi

Crypto banking encompasses a range of platforms; centralised finance (CeFi), with roots in Traditional Finance (TradFi), and newer Decentralised Finance (DeFi) platforms.

DeFi is a global peer-to-peer ecosystem of smart-contract-powered apps that allow many banking activities while eliminating human intermediaries (e.g. brokers) and institutions (e.g. banks).

The complete approval process overseeing the financial transactions is executed via smart-contract algorithms layered within blockchains.

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4. What are crypto banks?

Like traditional banks, crypto banks provide interest-bearing accounts, term deposits, credit cards, collateralised loans backed by crypto asset deposits, and more. However, unlike traditional banks, crypto banks are unregulated, with no reserve requirements, and engage in opaque lending (loaning to unidentified third parties), so the risk is higher.

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5. Crypto Licenses

What are they?

Anonymity and decentralisation are strong characteristics of digital currencies. However, as the crypto market emerges from the shadows, governments are realising its potential, and developing clear norms and regulations. To marry decentralisation with greater protection, centralised licenced trading platforms are seen by some as the future of crypto trading.

Why choose a licenced exchange?

To become licenced, a trading exchange must meet certain legal standards, which gives holder's funds greater protection. Licenced exchanges also require some personal information, reducing the opportunity for money laundering. For these reasons, many beginner investors favour centralised licenced exchanges.

Which countries offer licenced exchanges?

As the market evolves, the list of crypto-friendly countries is growing. Jurisdictions which are best in terms of receiving a crypto licence include Malta, Estonia, the UK and USA, Japan, and New Zealand.

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Our solutions are as individual as you are

If you are interested in how we can help you manage your crypto assets, leave your details and one of our consultants will be in touch.

Turner Little and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. Material on this page has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.