Insights From the FMco Team



FMCO has always been a company that has embraced and used the latest technology. One of our recently retired partners, Niall, first hauled a personal computer and a server into our offices back in the mid-1980s. One of our very first clients was in the nascent computer business and Niall quickly recognised where the practice needed to go – and that was in the days of typewriters.

These days we are the first accountancy firm in Ireland to accept cryptocurrencies as payments. We are dealing with bitcoin (BTC), litecoin (LTC), and ethereum (ETH), which are the three primary cryptocurrencies, and the ones that are supported by Coinbase, the world’s leading digital currency platform.

We mentioned before that a lot of our new business came from start-ups, and we’ve found that many of the directors of those businesses graduated between 2007 and 2010, right in the depths of the recession. Therefore, unlike the generations before them, they have little or no faith in the banking system that they hold accountable for playing such a key role in the financial crisis that engulfed Ireland from 2008 onwards. These clients may not even have a bank account in a bricks-and-mortar high street bank, instead preferring to use mobile-only banking options like Revolut or Starling.

Because these services are so much more agile than the high street banks, they allow for customers to maintain accounts in cryptocurrencies, as well as allowing for payments between accounts in different real currencies at the actual inter-bank rate (i.e. the best possible rate you can avail of). In the short term, there are many upsides for a business to use one of these services.

While cryptocurrencies – or more particularly, the dollar value of bitcoin – have been a big media talking point over the last few years, use of them as a form of payment has not become widespread in Ireland. Ethereum has positioned itself as “silver” to bitcoin’s “gold” – something its developers hope will allow it to maintain a much more stable and useful value. You don’t want to end up with a situation where you buy a pizza with X amount of a cryptocurrency and a year later that amount is worth a million dollars. But there are huge upsides to it: it’s so easily transferable, and easily liquidated that it makes a lot of sense for many transactions.

Similarly, we are happy to advise our clients regarding any liabilities they have as a result of using cryptocurrencies. The Revenue do not treat it as a currency, but as an asset transfer, like a play on the market, the same as stocks and shares, and the tax implications are the same. However, attitudes to cryptocurrencies will change as its use becomes more commonplace, and so too might the legislation surrounding it, which is something we are keeping a keen eye on.

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