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Blockchain Startup, Libra, Earns $15 Million in Series B Funding

New York-based blockchain startup, Libra, has raised $15 million from its recently concluded Series B funding round. The firm aims to provide full spectrum audit, tax, and fund administration services to cryptocurrency companies.

$24.8 Million in Funding

Provider of financial reporting services for cryptocurrency assets ecosystem, Libra, has raised $15 million in a series B funding. With the amount raised in the Series B funding, the company has successfully raised $24.8 million.

The New York-based company plans to use its new funding to further build out its core product, the Libra Crypto Office platform. It also plans to release new products and services later in the year. Further speaking on the company’s expansion plans for its clients, Libra founder, and CEO, Jake Benson, said:

Libra’s mission is to provide a system of record that allows institutions with crypto transactions to meet the reporting requirements of managers, investors, auditors, and regulators. We are very excited our investors have affirmed their continued support for Libra with their contribution to our Series B raise. Their commitment allows us to expand our customer offerings, grow our team and increase our customer base.

This new round was led by Libra’s previous top investor, an anonymous multibillion-dollar European family office. It had continued participation from Liberty City Ventures.

The announcement comes closely after the company launched its new offering for fund administrators and the expansion of its customer portfolio. In July, blockchain startup also announced something in store for fund administrator customers. Fund administrator customers would be provided with timely information required to support the striking of daily net asset values (NAV).

Blockchain-based Auditing for Cryptocurrency Ecosystem

The New York-based blockchain startup, Libra, was founded in 2014. It is a pioneer in financial software for the blockchain and digital currency industry. The company delivers the leading middle and back office solution for the crypto asset ecosystem.

The company provides a system of record that automates and optimizes accounting, audit, and tax processes for funds, fund administrators, and exchanges. It also stretches to exchanges, trading operations, and enterprises. These top-notch solutions make sure of real-time visibility to crypto transaction activity and holdings for institutions that require security and scalability in reporting. Compliance and control solutions are also one of the perks that Libra provides.

In November 2017, the company unveiled its Libra Crypto Office. This enterprise eliminates the manual, inconvenient, and inefficient method of the back and middle processes, and automating the process instead. Formerly based in San Francisco, the company is now headquartered in New York.

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Regulation, Taxation Loom Over Crypto Investors

The legacy of the W.J. Howey Company lives on, though not in a way the owners of the Florida citrus grove would have likely envisioned.

Seven decades after its legal battles with the SEC, the company has been enshrined with near legendary status in the cryptocurrency space, as the investment contract test every initial coin offering token is being judged by.

“Many of us lawyers studied this Howey case when we were in law school, and we couldn’t have, in our wildest dreams, imagined going into a room like this where it could be recited like it’s the Pledge of Allegiance,” joked Lewis Cohen, a partner with Hogan Lovells, during a legal panel Tuesday at Consensus: Invest in New York.

As the world of cryptocurrencies and ICOs continues to race ahead, the lingering questions the test elicits in the ICO community about how these tokens will fit within existing legal and regulatory frameworks remains the elephant in the room.

Perhaps the most pressing question is whether there is a distinction to be made between tokens that function as securities and those that have a broader utility for a future platform.

In that regard, the Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT) framework, which sought to advance the dialogue of what a two-tiered token sale that separates the primary and secondary markets might look like, has received a good deal of optimism.

But yesterday at the conference, multiple speakers poured cold water on the concept and suggested a return to the drawing board.

Matthew Roszak, co-founder and chairman of blockchain startup Bloq, said:

“I’m not a huge fan of [SAFT]. I think trying to hermetically seal that pre-ICO financing is not as democratized and open as you’d like it to be.”

‘Too many hands’

But regulatory uncertainties in the space extend well beyond the SEC.

Numerous agencies at the federal level are still determining their approaches toward these new assets, and with additional state authorities likely to get in on the action, jurisdictional complications could make the space even more confusing, argued Gary DeWaal, special counsel with Katten Muchin Rosenman LP.

DeWaal explained:

“Too many hands in the pot are never a good thing for the development of an asset class.”

Especially since many regulators are under inaccurate impressions about tokenized assets, according to Lee Schneider, a partner at Will McDermott & Emery.

He noted that many are making the mistake of juxtaposing the existence of liquidity with whether or not the underlying asset meets the definition of a commodity or a security.

“The nature of the token is hugely important here. You can’t divorce the regulation of the thing from what it is just because you’ve digitized it,” he said, adding that he’s been pushing back against these misperceptions.

Taxation is … coming

Another legal gray area within the cryptocurrency space relates to taxation, and with the price of bitcoin eclipsing $10,000 per coin Tuesday, the IRS will be paying greater attention in the coming year.

“If you hold large positions and you’ve been moving in and out of a lot of these tokens and coins, the IRS is probably going to start digging into this stuff,” said Kelsey Lemaster, a partner specializing in taxation at Goodwin Procter.

And the advent of ICOs only complicates matters further, as the IRS has not issued guidance there, but according to Lemaster, investing in an ICO token is most likely a taxable event.

“I’m sure it’s not reported in 99 percent of transactions, but I’m sure that’s what the IRS would say,” he contends.

But the taxation issue could become more manageable as a slew of cryptocurrency-focused tax software products, including a new app rolled out by Libra, are beginning to hit the market.

Such products, which look to bring automated tools to traders instead of them having to manually input data into Excel spreadsheets, better enable traders acting in good faith to comply with IRS requirements, and could springboard cryptocurrency activity.

On why tax tools are so important, Jeremy Drane, chief commercial officer at Libra, said:

“At some point in time, you reach a level of complexity in your operations where you can’t scale.”

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Bloq. 

Libra executives image via Aaron Stanley

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Interested in offering your expertise or insights to our reporting? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.

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Libra Eyes Institutional Investors with Crypto Tax and Accounting App

Blockchain startup Libra has today unveiled a new compliance application for the institutional market, targeting businesses like crypto funds, market makers and exchanges.

Called Libra Crypto Office, the app is being pitched as a way to both connect to the broader ecosystem of cryptocurrency services and automate the real-time gathering of critical information for compliance purposes.

According to Libra CEO Jake Benson, the product came about after discussions with people working in the tax, compliance, and risk assessment fields. Amongst the issues raised, he said, were concerns over scaling due to increasingly complicated processes.

“Further, we found without the right systems and processes, institutional investors were unwilling to allocate significant investment into the industry,” he continued. “With the introduction of Libra Crypto Office, we hope to continue industry efforts to upgrade information accuracy, transparency, and compliance practices.”

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.

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Cryptocurrency Tax Software Startup Libra Raises $7.8 Million

Blockchain startup Libra has raised $7.8 million in a new Series A funding round, the company announced today.

The financial resources came from a group of investors which included an unnamed family office based in Europe. Also contributing to the round, according to Libra, was seed-stage VC firm Liberty City Ventures, cryptocurrency market maker XBTO and Lee Linden, an early-stage investor who previously worked for Facebook.

Of that group, Liberty City is a returning investor after putting in $500,000 in a seed stage round in 2014. Libra develops cryptocurrency and blockchain-oriented accounting and tax software, and the new funds will be put toward the development of its Libra Enterprise Platform, the startup said.

“Libra’s vision is to be the premier provider of next-generation accounting, audit, and tax software and data services for the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry,” Jake Benson, Libra’s CEO, said in a statement.

Founded in 2014, Libra first started with offering its LibraTax accounting software, an early entrant in the market for cryptocurrency-specific tax tools. That was the year the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) notably issued guidance stating that it would treat cryptocurrencies like bitcoin as kinds of taxable property.

More recently, the company has eyed the enterprise-level market, developing tools that are aimed in part at exchanges and other trading-oriented companies. Libra added a former chief risk officer from Siemens to its team in May as part of that enterprise push.

Image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.