The Digital Currency Council, a new professional association that aims to foster best-in-class practices for accountants, lawyers and financial professionals in the digital currency economy through training, certification and support has been established.
The DCC is backed by the Bitcoin Opportunity Corp., an investment vehicle of Barry Silbert, the founder of SecondMarket and an investor in the digital currency economy. The CEO is David Berger, the former CEO for the Americas for Campden Wealth and the Institute for Private Investors, a membership organization for family offices and high net worth individuals.
Bitcoin and other digital currencies have been attracting a great deal of investment in recent years, but the volatility of the pricing, lack of support from governments, vulnerability to hackers and cybercriminals, and use for criminal enterprises like drug trafficking through online venues such as Silk Road have raised concerns among regulators and law enforcement. The meltdown of Bitcoin exchanges such as Mt. Gox has also prompted concern among investors.
Still, the growing popularity of Bitcoin has attracted scrutiny from the Internal Revenue Service and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The IRS issued guidance in March saying that Bitcoin and other virtual currencies should be treated as property for federal tax purposes and the general rules for property transactions should apply (see IRS Says Bitcoin Counts as Property for Tax Purposes). Accounting organizations such as the New York State Society of CPAs have also taken notice (see Bitcoin: A Virtual Reality Check).
“The emergence of digital currencies and their growing acceptance as a form of both commerce and investment is creating significant new business opportunities for accountants and other professionals,” Berger said in a statement, noting that more than 1,000 new businesses are accepting Bitcoin every week including major companies like Dell, Dish Network, Overstock, Expedia and 1-800-Flowers.com, among others.
“Our goal is to provide a place where accountants and their firms can go to get comprehensive training in digital currencies, and to create a standards-based designation that will be recognized as conveying a professional level of expertise in digital currencies: DCC Certified’,” Berger added.
The DCC is offering training and certification program through a Web site, digitalcurrencycouncil.com, with a curriculum tailored to accountants and other professionals. The curriculum includes topics such as the characteristics of each major digital currency type; understanding how to exchange, “mine,” sell and invest in Bitcoin; secure storage options; IRS, FINRA, FinCEN and SEC regulations for to digital currencies and their implications; international regulations in various geographic markets; Bitcoin investment strategies, including trading signals; and the leading platforms for Bitcoin utilization and investment.
In addition to the curriculum and certification, the Council plans to support members in the development of their businesses by providing continuing education programs, access to the expertise within the Council itself, and a client referral platform.
“This is a seminal moment in the evolution of this industry,” said Silbert. “I am investing in the DCC because I believe it is best positioned to establish and promulgate an intellectually rigorous curriculum and a certification process that will set the standard for professionals in the digital currency economy. The DCC Certification will be the mark of credibility and expertise for professionals, supporting best practices across the digital currency economy.”
Members and potential members can choose different levels of access to the Digital Currency Council materials. “Explorers” can access basic course materials and the member directory free of charge. The “Professional” level provides access to the association’s proprietary training modules and a practice Certification exam, and requires registration and a monthly access fee. The “Leader” level, which also requires a fee, includes all the benefits of Professional access as well as the opportunity to sit for the DCC Certification exam and enjoy continuing online education and access to peer-to-peer discussions with industry leaders, among other features.
“We aim to offer a membership experience that embraces the entire spectrum of professionals seeking to capture this emerging opportunity, from those who have been involved in Bitcoin for years to those who are just beginning to explore,” said Berger. “We’re committed to making all our members successful.”
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