Category Archives: Articles

Blockchain Series Part III: Is Asset Tokenization the Real Deal?

BlockChain Technology

By Henry H. Ngan, MBA, CPA

What is Asset Tokenization?

I am often asked by many what is asset tokenization on blockchain?  Essentially, the concept of tokenization is a method that ties the rights to an asset into the digital tokens.

By way of example, imagine you’re planning to invest in an attractive real estate project that costs $100 million. You plan on starting small, let’s say $1,000.  Traditionally, that does not work for real estate investment, since this particular asset class has a relatively high unit price; but with asset tokenization you can buy fractional ownership of this project and your investment entitles you to 0.00001% ($1,000 / $100 million) ownership of this project.  One of the attractive features of asset tokenization is that it allows you to buy fractional ownership of a high unit price investment.  Obviously, if you want to invest an additional amount in this project in the future, you can always buy additional tokens, thus increasing your ownership percentage.  If you want to decrease your percentage of ownership, simply sell some tokens that can achieve your objective.

Blockchain is the underlying technology as well as the actual public ledger that records the token transaction.  Once the transaction is recorded into the blockchain, the records are immutable.  This means that no one can erase your ownership records in this real estate project from the blockchain.

Throughout this article, I’ll use the terms “Asset Tokenization” and Security Token Offering (STO), synonymously.


What Assets Can be Tokenized?

 In my view, essentially any asset can be tokenized, such as equities, bonds, real estate, art, gold, diamonds, etc.  Though still in its early phase, I find the greatest opportunities lie in the asset class that exhibits a high unit price, illiquidity and high transaction costs.  The assets with the greatest value are real estate, private equity & venture capital and arts, because they exhibit the unique characteristics that I’ve mentioned earlier.  What also helps is that these assets have big markets and gigantic market capitalizations.  So, it is essential that creative financiers find ways to tokenize these assets and structure it accordingly for the marketplace.


Would STO be like ICO?

Before the first half of 2018, ICO has had banner years in record amounts raised (Please see charts below).






No surprise that the volume and amounts of funds raised dropped off significantly since the middle of 2018.  The Securities Exchange Commissions has cracked down on some fraudulent activities, and many realize that ICO might not be the safest investment and or financing vehicle, despite the potential promise that it might lead to a successful ecosystem with tokens that can be used for utility purposes, essentially there is no fractional ownership of equity interests nor debt involve in these projects for the token investors.

On the flip side, the distinct difference between STO vs. ICO is that STO offers equity interest in its underlying assets which anchors the value of the actual STO.  By this mere fact, I believe STO has a lot more to stand on and offers substantially more value than an ICO.  Time will certainly tell whether my thinking is correct or not!


Business, Legal & Technical Issues to be Resolved

While STO provides great promise, there are business and legal issues that need to be resolved before it can successfully be implemented.  While the SEC and the world’s regulating bodies have made significant strides in cryptocurrencies regulations, it is still far from perfect.  Much work still needs to be done to properly tie the actual assets to the tokens, create the legal framework and regulations that govern these transactions, and decide how to have secondary market trading for these tokens with the promise of immediate liquidity.  Also, blockchain promotes decentralization as its one of the core tenets, but with asset tokenization this brings back some form of centralization.



 I continue to be the optimistic that much of the asset classes that exist in our society will be tokenized in the future.  While there are still many business, legal and technical issues that needs to be resolved before we see a full adoption of this mere concept, I believe these issues are solvable and it is just a matter of time. Humans have accomplished much throughout history, so in my view, it is just certainly a matter of time before the full adoption of tokenization of much of the world’s asset classes.


Henry H. Ngan, MBA, CPA

Note: Certified in BlockchainTM  & CryptocurrencyTM

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-Follow me on LinkedIn for my Blockchain & Cryptoassets blogs and news


Dated: March 2019

9 Student Loan Tax Tips For 2019

By: Adam Minsky


It’s that time of year! Tax time is always a stressful time, particularly for student loan borrowers, who already have massive bureaucracies and administrative headaches to contend with on a regular basis. But tax time can also be a useful opportunity for student loan borrowers to take stock of their student debt, their options for managing it, and potential pitfalls to be wary of. Here are some tips for this year as we enter tax season.

Disability Discharges For Federal Student Loans Are Now Tax-Free

Up until 2018, discharges of federal student loans on the basis of the borrower’s total and permanent disability were treated as taxable.  In other words, the discharged student loan could be viewed as “income” that the borrower earned during the year in which the debt was cancelled; the borrower would then have to be income taxes on that canceled debt. However, thanks to recent legislation, any federal student loan disability discharges that were granted as of January 1, 2018 should no longer be taxable under federal law.

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5 Tax Tips for 2019 — and Beyond

Jan 3, 2019 at 11:00AM

It was an unusually active year on the tax front in 2018 because dozens of new tax rules took effect that dramatically changed the way people get taxed on their income. Although investors have seen all year the impact of lower corporate tax rates in the stocks they follow, the beginning of 2019 will be the first chance that many taxpayers get to see just how large of an impact tax reform had on the amounts they have to pay to Uncle Sam.

As the new year begins and tax season approaches, there are several things you should keep in mind. Some of these tried-and-true techniques have been around for years, but some will work particularly well because of all the recent changes. Follow these tips and you’ll be in a better position to make the most of tax reform and save as much as you can on your returns.

Alarm clock, piles of coins, and letter magnets spelling TAX on a wood table.


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Why the 2019 Tax Season Could Get Off to a Rocky Start

By Dan Caplinger

Nov 18, 2018 at 6:01PM

Taxpayers have a number of deadlines they have to meet every year. Many of them wait until the last minute to complete their tax returns or file for extensions, facing the danger of costly penalties if they don’t get things done in time.

You don’t often hear about the IRS needing an extension to get its part of the tax puzzle completed, but that’s exactly what could happen this year. The magnitude of changes to the tax laws over the past year has made the Internal Revenue Service’s job a lot more complicated this year, and according to a recent report from a government official charged with oversight responsibility for the IRS, the tax agency could have a tough time starting the 2019 tax season on time.

Brick wall with Internal Revenue Service plaque, next to a red traffic light.


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Data Analytics: Free Tools for Accounting Professionals

By Ryan Wade, Principal Consultant at Diesel Analytics 



As seasoned accounting professionals, you may have grown used to using tools like Microsoft Excel for your data analysis and reporting needs. You might be an advanced user of Microsoft Excel and have mastered the use of VBA, advanced formulas, and pivot tables to facilitate your analysis. However, you might not be aware of tools that you already own or are freely available to you that could make your data analysis and reporting much more manageable and robust. In this article, I will list several Excel add-ins and some open source software that can add much value to your data analysis. Let’s get started!

Power Query

Power Query is an Excel add-in that comes pre-installed in Excel 2016 but is also available as a separate add-in in Excel 2013. Many believe that it is the best thing to happen to Excel since pivot tables! Power Query enables you to combine data from multiple sources into one dataset, pivot or unpivot data, and perform complex data transformations all from an easy to use interface! It allows you to efficiently complete tasks that used to require complicated VBA code or was not possible to do at all. Here is a link to a book that will get you from zero to hero reasonably quickly. If you are a visual learner, then you can watch this informative video from Oz du Soleil that introduces you to Power Query.

Power Pivot

My new favorite addition to Microsoft Excel, Power Pivot, is also an add-in that has been available in MS Excel since Excel 2010.  Power Pivot enables you to work with much bigger datasets by using the Excel Data Model. The Excel Data Model is based on the same columnar database engine that is used by Power BI and SQL Server Analysis Services. You can use Power Pivot to create calculated measures and KPI’s to develop traditional financial reports, time comparison reports, and dynamic financial reports. Here is a link to a book written by Rob Collie that is geared to helping traditional MS Excel users learn how to use Power Pivot. I also provided a link to a video by Cara Clifford that does an excellent job of introducing Power Pivot.


Some built-in data science capabilities in MS Excel enable you to create elementary regression models and do basic forecasting. However, if your goal is to create more robust regression and forecasting models, then you need to use software that is specifically designed to do that. There is premium software available to you like SAS that you can use, but the software is relatively expensive. Fortunately, there are free open source software options that are as good in many respects as the premium options. One of the most popular options is the programming language R, and Microsoft offers an enhanced but free distribution of R named MRO (Microsoft R Open). You can go here to download it for free.

There are over 12,000 packages that are freely available, and many of them are specifically for forecasting. One of them is a popular package developed by Facebook called Prophet. You can go to this link that contains the vignette that describes how to use Prophet for forecasting. The preferred IDE for R is RStudio. RStudio is available for download here.



Right now the hot topic everywhere is data science. Many are recognizing the value of using advanced analytics to get insights into their data. The R programming language is one option, but another one is Python. Python has been gaining popularity over the last few years, and Continuum Analytics developed a free distribution of Python for the data science community called Anaconda. You can go here to download Anaconda. You can go here to watch the first of a short, 4-part video series that introduces you to data science via the Python programming.

One of the things you get when you install Anaconda is a tool called Jupyter Notebook. The Jupyter Notebook is very popular in the data science community because it makes it easy to share your analysis with others. I believe there are many applications in accounting where this feature could be useful. One example is sharing a forecasting model that is complete with annotations, charts, and graphs that explains your model. Here is a link to a video that introduces you to the Jupyter Notebook.

In closing, the tools listed in this article could be valuable additions to your toolkit. Power Query and Power Pivot makes doing traditional tasks and analysis performed in Excel much easier, and they also enable you to do things that were not possible before. Both of these tools are heavily used in Power BI so if you learn them it will significantly flatten your Power BI learning curve. When you need to do forecasting or other forms of advanced analytics, take advantage of MRO or Anaconda. Even though they are free, they are very powerful and are used by large organizations like Facebook and YouTube to fulfill some of their advanced analytics needs.


Ryan wade is a data analytic professional with close to 20 years of experience. You can view his full LinkedIn profile here.

Blockchain Series Part II: Crypto Winter Season – How Long Is This Going to Last?

By Henry Ngan, MBA, CPA



In the summer months of 2018, while it physically feels seasonally warm for most of us, for many cryptos investors, the long winter season just dragged on even into the hot and humid summer.  Originally, I planned on writing something in extension from Blockchain Series Part I: Origins of the Blockchain Buzz, but I’ve gotten a significant number of inquiries in regard to the correction in crypto assets’ prices.  I thought it would be appropriate and timely to address such a topic.

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Data Analytics: What Is It and How Can It Help Your Business?

By Ryan Wade, Principal Consultant at Diesel Analytics 
The volume of data collected is increasing at an extremely fast rate. Globally, this amount is expected to surpass 44 zettabytes by 2020.

To put this quantity in perspective, one zettabyte is roughly 1 trillion gigabytes. Data is considered to be the new gold because of the level of insight you can derive from it. With the amount of data collection increasing, all signs point to a virtual gold rush for data miners that can process the information.Wastefully, only about 0.5% of all data collected will ever get analyzed, regardless of the value the data may have provided. This disparity is mostly due to the lack of knowledge of the various methods that can be used to analyze data. In this article, we will discuss the main categories of data analytics and give examples of how they apply to business.

Data analytics can be broken down into four major categories:

  • Descriptive Analytics
  • Diagnostic Analytics
  • Predictive Analytics
  • Prescriptive Analytics

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Wayfair: Dazed, Confused, Uncertain? Don’t Worry You’re Not Alone.


Wayfair Dazed Article Graphic









Wayfair: Dazed, Confused, Uncertain? Don’t Worry You’re Not Alone.

By Joni Johnson-Powe, CEO of Taxnologi

I’m sure you’ve heard it over and over and over again…the recent Wayfair ruling will have a significant impact on how and when retailers are legally required to collect sales and use tax in states where they make remote sales. Not only have I also heard this resounding warning but as a practitioner, I’ve had the same conclusion. However, as my team has been helping clients with software configuration updates, review of sales by state, and analysis of their overall footprint, I am not completely sure how it will all play out. Honestly, there are some practical questions for which I don’t have definitive answers.

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Blockchain Series Part I: Origins of the Blockchain Buzz

By Henry H. Ngan, MBA, CPA


Since an infamous white paper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” was published in October 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto (his or her identity has never been confirmed), it was the beginning of an era of Blockchain & Cryptocurrency.  I was often asked how Blockchain has gotten so much attention over the last 9 months or so.

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