6 Questions for Michelle Legge of Koinly – Cointelegraph Magazine

Cointelegraph Magazine

We asked builders in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space what they thought about the industry…and added some random zingers to keep them on their toes!

This week, we asked Michelle Legge, director of crypto tax education at Koinly, 6 questions — a crypto tax calculator and portfolio tracker for traders, investors, and accountants.


In addition to her work at Koinly, Michelle is passionate about closing the financial literacy gap for women. Before entering the crypto space, she was responsible for consumer education for an Australian fintech start-up, where she launched the world’s first gender pay gap insurance product.

Today, Michelle is back in her native South Africa, living a digital nomadic life and managing a team of remote content and social media wizards from The Plant Cafe in Cape Town. As for her cryptocurrency curiosity, Michelle is cautiously optimistic, betting on altcoins with unconventional use cases. Blame it on her day job, but while Michelle knows crypto is the future, crypto taxes seem to be the dark side of the moon. Given the tightening regulations, helping cryptocurrency investors with their tax strategy seems like a worthy cause.

1 — From smart contracts to DApps, NFTs, and DeFi, we’ve seen a lot of the next crypto “killer apps”, but none have really taken off. What will stick?

The projects that get Joe Public’s warm embrace are the ones that stick with it. Using DeFi’s many yield farming products, we’ve moved closer to retail use cases and show no signs of slowing down. But will it go fully mainstream? Possibly in time – provided the space is not forgotten. On the other hand, NFTs have seen widespread adoption across industries, making it feel like this blockchain use case has cracked a very tough problem.

While the NFT space may be dominated by the glitz and glamour of the celebrity art world today, I think NFTs will emerge in a rather mundane fashion. If the public can interact with the “blockchain” through pictures, it’s reasonable to assume that anything we’re used to seeing on paper will lead to digital, ownable NFTs. What would this look like at the most basic level? Stocks, graduation certificates, medical records, insurance policies, birth certificates, passports, etc.

The creation, distribution, and management of proof-of-ownership NFTs can spawn an industry of its own, just as it already does in the gaming industry. However, for NFTs to work like this, we need to remember that the NFT art we’re just starting to work on is a taxable asset. That’s fine when we consider art, music, movies, and domain names, but no one wants to face tax bills for wrongly “profiting” from “disposing” a health insurance policy. It needs to be clear to everyone, including the taxman, that NFTs used in this way have zero value.

2 — If the world is getting a new currency, will it be led by a CBDC, a permissionless blockchain such as Bitcoin, or a permissioned chain such as Diem?

It pains me to say it, but central bank digital currencies are waiting. Everything we’ve seen, from Biden’s executive order to the much-hyped inflationary curse that is curbing the global economy, tells us that governments are hungry for CBDCs. Even without the regulatory headlines, we only need to consider the power and control that a CBDC provides. Rishi Sunak’s British coin appears in the work with a disturbing undercurrent of programmability – leaning towards China’s social credit system. CBDC will be, but unlike the disruptive and empowering future proposed by Bitcoin and its friends, CBDC seems to be an entirely different blockchain beast.

3 — Which is dumber: $500,000 Bitcoin or $0 Bitcoin? Why?

Don’t call me negative, but I work on crypto tax. I think most of the Bitcoin “moon” happens behind the scenes, and in the good old days governments and tax agencies were ill-advised. Can stratospheric growth be achieved under the iron hand of rampant regulation and scrutiny? I’m not afraid.

4 — Tell us about a hidden talent and give us a link to prove it!

A talent so hidden that might not exist at all? I don’t think there’s a “bedroom DJ” on my Twitter resume, but if being good at Spotify playlists makes me gifted, so be it. “Le Crush” is my pet’s name playlistand a nod to my heady night (perhaps seven in total?) commanding the deck on the Melbourne 20s club scene.

5 – What talent do you lack and what talent do you wish you had? If you had it, how would you use it?

Is it because women are coded to multitask, or is it because we live in a high-octane, caffeine-fueled society? Anyway, the talent I’m lacking is the border collie’s laser beam focus and its tennis balls.

If the focus is on the house, then the foundation is Buffett’s famous “say no to almost everything.” The key, it seems, is to limit open tabs to a maximum of five — a big improvement from the 39 that currently catch my eye. Hyperfocus in a crazy world? I think it’s a talent, or rather a superpower, that most of us could hope for.

6 – What’s the dumbest conspiracy theory…which one gives you a pause?

This question – and the gun it loads – is the kind of thing that makes women cancel! The truth is, I’m a fairly rational conspiracy theorist, but I have a place in my closet for a tinfoil hat, though.

I think, like many people who are attracted to cryptocurrencies, we have a gift for distrust – who can blame us? Some of the biggest targets of the rabbit hole — let’s mention Big Pharma here — do have a priori. It is all right to question everything, and remember that no chapter on WWII is complete without an entry from the Imperial Department of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. Here’s what I’m saying though: a flat Earth might be a good solution to high tides, right?

The aspirations of the young, ambitious blockchain community:

For women in blockchain, we need your voice. Be the reason and balance that keeps us moving in the right direction.

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