Optimized VirtualBox Settings for Windows 7/8.1/10 Guests

VirtualBox is an excellent open source/freeware tool for running virtual machines on your laptop or workstation. It’s a cross-platform hypervisor that supports Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux hosts, delivering the same experience across operating systems – unlike platform-specific virtualization tools such as Parallels for Mac or Microsoft Hyper-V. VirtualBox can be best compared with VMware Workstation, a commercially licensed tool with advanced functionality such as Snapshots and Checkpoints for VMs. On the other hand, VirtualBox is completely free for non-commercial users. The core of VirtualBox is open source, but the Oracle VirtualBox Extensions are free only for home and academic users.

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Monero on Ledger Nano S

Ledger Wallet logoIf you have a Ledger Nano S hardware wallet, did you know Monero support for Ledger recently arrived in v0.12.3.0 of the GUI wallet? You can protect your Monero from hackers and malware by storing it on your Ledger, at a wallet address that is securely derived from the recovery seed of your Ledger wallet. Next to creating a paper wallet and signing transactions with an offline, air-gapped computer, this is the safest way to protect your Monero private keys. The private spend key is never revealed to the computer which you are running the Monero client on – it is stored exclusively on the secure element of your Nano Ledger S. Only the view key is shared with your PC to scan the blockchain for incoming transactions.

Step-by-Step Guide

Using Monero with Ledger Nano S, on Windows, MacOS or Linux

Always backup your recovery seed before attempting to make changes to your Ledger device.

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How to Update Your Monero Node

If you followed our previous guide how to set up your Monero node, you will eventually need to update the daemon to the latest version. Luckily it is a simple process to do, and in most cases, does not require resyncing the blockchain from scratch. First you have to understand the difference between point and major releases in the Monero project to understand the importance of staying up to date, especially with major releases.

Point Releases

In general, your Monero node will still be able to communicate with other nodes if you haven’t updated it after a point release (for example: -> It is still advisable to update as soon as practical to the latest point release, as stability & security issues are often resolved through these versions.

Major Releases

On the contrary, it is mandatory to update your daemon before a Monero scheduled hard fork that typically happens around every 6 months (0.11.x.0 -> 0.12.x.0). Hard forks are always announced in advance on and the official Monero subreddit. After the blockchain forks off to the latest version, it is deliberately not backward compatible with prior versions.

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Tax Strategies for US Cryptocurrency Investors

Cryptocurrency investors are beginning to understand the tax treatment of their investments, and its complexity compared to dealing with traditional securities.

The US tax reform passed in December 2017 established that “like kind” treatment only applies to certain real estate transactions — not buying & selling cryptocurrencies. In the past, many crypto traders took the position that any crypto not withdrawn to fiat was a “like kind exchange” and therefore did not trigger a tax event. Even before the new tax regulations, this was a dubious, if not faulty assumption that goes against the IRS view cryptocurrencies should be treated as property for tax purposes.

As property, selling any cryptocurrency whether for another coin or fiat currency triggers a capital gain or loss, depending on the cost basis from when you acquired it. If you held the investment for over a year, it would be a long term capital gain (LTCG) taxed at a reduced tax rate from your marginal rate. If you racked up capital losses, you would only be allowed to deduct a maximum of $3,000 per year from ordinary income — but could carry forward indefinitely the unused losses to take as a deduction in future years.

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Run Your Own Monero Node

Running your own Monero node can be a challenging, yet rewarding experience that gives you a better understanding how the anonymous cryptocurrency functions to protect your financial privacy – including balances & payment information.

Like other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, the Monero network comprises of full nodes that sync with other nodes (peers) to maintain a copy of the distributed ledger, rebroadcast transactions, and optionally, mine blocks to secure the network.

To use Monero, you need a “wallet” which serves as a client application that connects to either a local daemon or remote node. By default, the official Monero wallet from starts a local daemon when you launch the software. Before you can check the balance of an existing wallet or send funds to others, the local daemon must download a complete copy of the blockchain – a process that can take two days or more depending on the speed of your Internet connection and whether you have a SSD or not.

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