Digital Asset Tokenization and Its Impact with Aaron Jacob
TaxBit's Aaron Jacob explaining the impact of Digital Asset Tokenization on enterprise accounting.

Bringing Credibility and Infrastructure to the World of Digital Assets with Aaron Jacob of TaxBit

Episode Overview

Episode Topic:

Welcome to an insightful episode of PayPod. We invent the rapidly evolving world of digital asset tokenization with Aaron Jacob from TaxBit, focusing on how it’s revolutionizing the tax and accounting landscape for cryptocurrencies and beyond. At the forefront of this transformation, we explore the challenges and solutions provided by their innovative services. This discussion is not just about understanding the technicalities of digital asset tokenization but also about appreciating its impact on enterprise-level compliance and financial reporting.

Lessons You’ll Learn:

This episode is a treasure trove of knowledge for anyone looking to grasp the essentials and intricacies of digital asset tokenization. You’ll learn about the pre-TaxBit era, where businesses and individuals struggled with the daunting task of tax compliance and reporting for digital assets. We’ll uncover the pain points that TaxBit aims to solve with its pioneering solutions and how their latest enterprise-grade legal entity support is a game-changer for the market. Whether you’re a finance professional, a digital asset enthusiast, or someone curious about the future of finance, this episode will equip you with valuable insights into navigating the digital economy with ease.

About Our Guest:

Aaron Jacob, the Vice President of Enterprise Accounting Business at TaxBit, joins us with a wealth of experience in digital asset tokenization and its implications on modern tax and accounting practices. Having transitioned from traditional financial markets to the cutting-edge realm of digital assets, Aaron’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of blockchain technology. His expertise in digital asset tokenization and passion for making complex tax compliance accessible and manageable for enterprises and individuals alike make him an invaluable voice in this discussion.

Topics Covered:

This episode covers a broad spectrum of topics surrounding digital asset tokenization, ranging from the foundational aspects of TaxBit’s services to the latest industry trends and regulatory developments. We delve into the critical role of digital asset tokenization in streamlining tax reporting and compliance, the necessity of TaxBit’s new product offerings in the market, and the potential expansion of their solutions beyond the digital asset space. Additionally, we discuss the current sentiment towards digital assets in the US, the implications of recent Bitcoin ETF approvals, and the ongoing efforts to keep pace with global tax laws and regulations. Aaron also shares personal insights from his educational journey and its relevance in today’s dynamic digital asset landscape.

Our Guest: Aaron Jacob- Bridging Traditional Finance and Digital Asset Tokenization

Aaron Jacob, the esteemed Vice President of Enterprise Accounting Business at TaxBit, embodies the intersection of traditional finance and the burgeoning field of digital assets. His journey into the realm of digital asset tokenization and cryptocurrency taxation is not just a career choice but a reflection of his belief in the transformative power of blockchain technology. Before joining TaxBit nearly three years ago, Aaron spent a decade immersed in the traditional financial markets, where he honed his expertise as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). His work in derivative consulting, advisory, and sub-ledger solution services laid a robust foundation for his later endeavors in the digital economy.

Aaron’s transition from traditional finance to the innovative world of TaxBit was driven by his foresight into the potential of distributed ledger technology. His early interest in cryptocurrencies and personal investments in the space signaled his recognition of digital assets as a disruptive force in finance and accounting. This blend of traditional financial acumen and pioneering interest in digital assets made him an ideal fit for TaxBit, where he has been instrumental in developing enterprise-grade solutions for tax and accounting challenges posed by digital asset tokenization.

At TaxBit, Aaron leads efforts to modernize tax systems and compliance for digital economies, bridging the gap between complex regulatory environments and the operational needs of enterprises engaging with digital assets. His work is pivotal in providing clarity and ease to businesses navigating the intricacies of digital asset reporting and taxation. Aaron’s contribution to TaxBit extends beyond internal strategy; he’s a thought leader in the digital asset space, advocating for informed regulatory frameworks and educating stakeholders on the importance of compliant and efficient tax practices for digital assets. His background with the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and deep understanding of CPA principles further enrich his perspectives on the evolving digital asset landscape.

Episode Transcript

Aaron Jacob: How do I get all of that data into a single source of truth? That I can have confidence in the accuracy and the quality and the completeness of that data? These are like key tenants for accountants. So before TaxBit existed, it was a really nightmare type of scenario for companies where data is a mess, you piece it together, scrap it together, 100 different Excel files, trying to layer on top of a manual process. Robust calculations where you get accurate answers in a timely manner is essentially impossible for folks to do. And honestly, our biggest competitor today is Excel, and it’s not too difficult to convince people that, “Hey, by getting out of Excel, by implementing a systematic solution that is SoC tested, we’re audited ourselves, we’ve got all the security protocols in place. Not only does your job get easier and you find value through time savings, you also find value through the control framework.”

Jacob Hollabaugh: Welcome to PayPod, the Payments Industry Podcast. Each week, we’ll bring you in-depth conversations with leaders who are shaping the payments and fintech world, from payment processing to risk management, and from new technology to entirely new payment types. If you want to know what’s happening in the world of fintech and payments, you’re in the right place. Hello, everyone. Welcome to PayPod. I’m your host, Jacob Hollabaugh. And given that we are right square in the middle of tax season, I actually literally just filed my or started to file my taxes yesterday. So we thought, what better time to talk about some tax-related topics, specifically enterprise tax and accounting and how to modernize the systems and compliance within this industry to discuss these topics and more, I’m pleased to be joined by Aaron Jacob, VP of Enterprise Accounting Business at TaxBit, your modern tax and accounting solution for the digital economy. Aaron, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for being here.

Aaron Jacob: Great to be here, Jacob. Thanks for having me and congrats on getting your taxes done. I haven’t, I’m a CPA and I haven’t even started mine yet, so I still have that to look forward to in the next month or so.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Well, I assume they’re in the process of getting done. I have done my portion and my CPA and financial personnel are taking the ball from here. So hopefully I have submitted everything I needed to and given all the info I needed to. But it is definitely that time of year. It is on people’s minds. And especially, for folks running those enterprise-level businesses, it’s very much on their minds, and their financial departments and solutions like what you and TaxBit offer are probably becoming higher on their priority list if they’re realizing, hey, this is a big old mess and I could use some assistance with it. So let’s kick things off with a little bit of background first. It’s coming up on, I think three years ago now that you joined TaxBit, what were you doing prior to that, and what was it about TaxBit or what they were doing that attracted you to want to work there?

Aaron Jacob: Yeah. It’s been just an incredible journey. Three years flies by, especially in this industry. So it’s hard to imagine that it’s almost been three years. So a little bit about me, I mentioned I was a CPA prior to joining TaxBit, and I spent about a decade in traditional financial markets. I worked for a boutique derivative consulting, derivative advisory, sub-ledger solution, and trading firm and was very much working closely with businesses, managing financial risk across a wide variety of asset classes, currencies, rates, equities, commodities, etc., etc. And in that, I was working closely with treasurers, with CFOs, folks that roll up into the CFO stack. And I remember distinctly around probably as early as 2016, 2017, starting to hear questions bubble up from treasurers about Bitcoin, and they would come to the table and say,  what is Bitcoin? Should we consider putting it on our balance sheet? How should we be thinking about this? Is it the exposure that we should want? How do we hedge that exposure? Just all these questions came through and it dawned on me back then that this truly would be transformative technology, distributed ledger technology in and of itself. But in the realm of finance and accounting, it would be disruptive to much of what we’re doing today.

Aaron Jacob: So it’s kind of like I got a bit early on, I started investing personally and then had a really unique opportunity to join TaxBit to lead out in creating sub-ledger solutions for financial reporting and corporate tax for enterprises. And it’s just been a phenomenal journey. Maybe one other thing that might be interesting to folks on the call is prior to my joining TaxBit and prior to my time deep in financial markets, I actually worked at the Financial Accounting Standards Board. So this is the nonprofit, SEC-granted authority organization that sets US GAAP for all publicly traded companies in the US and private companies as well. so there’s a lot going on there. I know we’ll have some things to talk about, but it’s just been a phenomenal journey joining TaxBit, and and grateful to be able to provide solutions to folks in the market that save accountants time. You mentioned what a busy time of year it is. Anyone who, where’s the CPA hat who works in finance, tax, or accounting? This is a really crazy time of year, so we’re grateful to be able to save those folks time and make their jobs easier.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Yeah. Love it. It’s quite the journey. And can you then give me and the listeners kind of a high-level overview of who TaxBit is, and what the service offerings are? You referenced Bitcoin and we use the firm digital assets. Who are you typically working with and serving with? TaxBit.

Aaron Jacob: TaxBit is the industry’s leading accounting and tax solution provider for companies that are operating in the Web3 ecosystem. So these could be corporate adopters, folks like Google or Fox or Ralph Lauren, or these companies that are embracing Web3 technologies, they’re launching initiatives, they have front office strategies that are ongoing. You have folks in the TradFi space, the PayPal, the Fidelity, the Exchanges, the brokers of the world. those companies have really embraced the technology. Just recently we had 11 companies that launched ETFs. And looking at the numbers, they have been resounding successes in the market. There’s been significant demand there. And then you have this other area of the market that are the real Web3 builders. These are folks who are building Web3 technologies. They’re launching blockchains. They’re launching new offerings and solutions. They’re doing Tokenizations, a lot of fascinating things that are happening in the market. So, TaxBit works across all of those industry segments. We have three core business lines. The first and oldest of our business lines is our enterprise tax and information reporting solution. This is where we work with brokers like crypto exchanges, think of folks like Gemini and Kraken, Tradfi folks like fidelity and PayPal. You receive a 1099 from them at the end of the year that supports that tax work that you know you’re going through right now. 1099 was probably a really important part of what you just sent to your CPA. So we support businesses that have obligations to provide 1099 in all of their varieties to clients. So that’s a big part of our business. Another part of our business is our Subledger accounting tool where we help businesses manage their own financial books and records. So any business that operates in Web3 that holds crypto on their balance sheet holds any type of digital asset, whether that’s tokenized real estate, whether that’s tokenized bond or equity, or an NFT.  they have an obligation to report that on their own financial statements, make sure that the accounting is done correctly, and then file their own corporate tax returns. So we have a solution that’s geared towards businesses and streamlining their operations as they run their own internal books and records and corporate taxes. And then our third business line is working with folks in the government space. The IRS is a long-standing partner and client of ours. We’ve been working with them for many years now. We’re working with other government agencies as well. So those are our three product lines. Those are our three, sectors across the business, our information reporting, our accounting sub-ledger, and our public sector practice.

Jacob Hollabaugh: I love it. And I’m glad you mentioned the new Bitcoin ETFs. I want to ask you about those a little bit later. But first with all these solutions obviously, a huge need for them. And I’m sure doing wonderful things with a lot of success. And help to all these folks you’re working with, what was before you like what was the early days, what were you replacing, if anything? Or, obviously, there was a period maybe we’re still somewhat in the wild West of figuring out how to regulate and work around and operate around these new technologies and these new worlds, but for a crypto exchange for someone or a business who held Bitcoin and everything before you and your services came along, what were the options available to them, if any?

Aaron Jacob: Yeah, before TaxBit existed, the reality is it was a total nightmare.  Companies were stuck in spreadsheets. They’re doing all of this manually. Trying to do that manually at scale is nearly impossible. And there are a couple of important dynamics that companies face and challenges that companies face. One of those challenges is on the data side. If I’m operating in the ecosystem, I’ve got transactional data hitting me in a lot of different places. I’ve got different wallets, I’ve got different exchange providers, custodial solutions, etc., etc. How do I get all of that data into a single source of truth so that I can have confidence in the accuracy, quality, and completeness of that data? These are like key tenants for accountants they thought about. So before TaxBit existed, it was a really nightmarish type of scenario for companies where data is a mess. You kind of piece it together, scrap it together, 100 different Excel files across different owners of the organization trying to layer on top of a manual process. Robust calculations where you get accurate answers in a timely manner are essentially impossible for folks to do. So it’s interesting. Sometimes companies will talk about the competitive landscape, or they’ll ask who are the other players in the space. And honestly, our biggest competitor today is Excel. And it’s not too difficult to convince people that, hey, by getting out of Excel, by implementing a systematic solution that is SoC tested, we’re audited ourselves, we’ve got all the security protocols in place. Not only does your job get easier and you find value through time savings, you also find value through the control framework. Companies and accountants, they’re really concerned about not just how long it takes me to get to the right answer. but how confident can I be that my answer is correct at the end of the day? So when you deploy our solutions, companies are able to save time, they’re able to save money, they’re also able to rest better at night, knowing that the foundation that they’re building, that middle and office,  finance, accounting, corporate tax stack on top of is a solid foundation that’s going to support you through audits, through heaven forbid, you get audited by the IRS. Almost all of our clients have financial statement audits that are performed. So it’s a high-stakes game. Companies have to make sure that they get it right. Auditors pay very careful attention to these things. Prior to solutions like TaxBit, it was tough for companies. They didn’t rest well at night. It was tough to get the right answer and even harder to have confidence that you got the right answer.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Yeah, certainly. And all that complexity is one of the many reasons that things maybe have been slower to take hold, or harder to adopt different things if the infrastructure wasn’t there for you to not like, hey, I want to adopt this. I want to enter this world, but it’s going to be a nightmare of a headache because then we have to report, then we have to do it. And as none of these tools exist, none of this infrastructure exists for us to operate well if we go down this road. And so I would assume that services like what TaxBit is offering are helping to build up that infrastructure to say, hey, you can come to play in this world now because there is more of the infrastructure around it to not make it some big nightmare that like, yes, you want to be there, but you don’t want to deal with trying to figure out how to operate in that world.

Aaron Jacob: You’re exactly right. And there’s a really fascinating dynamic that exists in the market today. That dynamic is you have companies where their front office is eager to run as fast as they possibly can. They want to launch a new initiative. They want to generate new top-line revenue-generating activities. They want to launch new strategies that they’ve come up with. The front office, there’s no lack of creativity there. Where companies run into challenges is in the middle and back office space. Being able to keep pace with those front office initiatives, sophisticated companies, the folks that we’re playing with at the enterprise level, they’re not going to run after these new product launches, these new strategies. You know what? Whether I’m running down tokenization or NFTs or something if they can’t check the critical compliance boxes. So I’ve got to get approval from my legal, I’ve got to get approval from my accounting team. I’ve got to get approval from my internal operations teams. I often need approval from internal, maybe even external auditors. I need to get approval from my internal tax experts because there are a bunch of different boxes that I need to check. And so the beautiful thing about deploying TaxBit software is that we empower middle and back office teams to say yes, when front office says, hey, we’ve got this new thing, we think it’s going to be big, we want to launch this initiative and we want to do it next month. Middle and back-office teams, don’t have to feel bad about saying no and slowing down the growth of the business. Instead, they can confidently say yes, let’s go like you want to jump. We’ll say, how high do you want to jump? Knowing that they’re on solid footing and that they’re going to be able to check all of those compliance boxes. This is one of the reasons why we work so closely with audit firms.  three of the big four accounting firms are formal alliance partners with TaxBit. And we love those those relationships. And they’re very deep and good relationships because we’re able to talk with them on a very regular basis about what are you seeing in the market. Here’s what we’re seeing in the market. What are the pain points? How do we think about this from a technical perspective? What’s the right answer? How do we keep clients out of problems? And make sure that they’re on really solid footing. So that dynamic that you outlined is spot on. The front office wants to run fast. There’s no lack of creativity. The challenge is being able to support middle and back office teams, accounting, and tax teams specifically so that they can say yes. And with our solutions in place, we’re grateful to enable them to move as fast as they want to move.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Yeah, absolutely. Let’s talk about some kind of the overall trends within these spaces. We’ve referenced a bunch within the digital asset world, whether it’s cryptocurrencies, NFTs, tokenization, a bunch of different things kind of fall under the broad umbrella of digital asset space. Where do you feel like the US market is and kind of adopting this space, their feelings generally towards the space? We saw a huge boom in popularity especially around early COVID times. It’s since kind of cooled. We’ve had recent major headlines like FTX’s, collapse cloud people’s view when they see their only interaction with this world might be a big, scary headline that kind of clouds views a little bit. Where do you feel the overall sentiment is right now, and where do you hope to see things go in the next, maybe 2 to 3 years?

Aaron Jacob: Yeah, a great question. There’s a lot to unpack here. And maybe splitting into two different things here. There’s what are the trends in the industry today, what are companies watching carefully, what types of new strategies are being deployed, what’s getting a lot of attention right now? And there are a couple of different buckets here. one is this notion of tokenization. This has a lot of the major banks. It has a lot of Wall Street, kind of very engaged and eager to see how this will continue to play out and participate in that. And when we think about tokenization, we have clients today that are bringing commercial real estate onto a blockchain that is tokenizing, not just real estate, but they’re tokenizing equities. They’re tokenizing bonds, they’re even starting to tokenize treasuries, and so you see this tokenization of not just real-world assets, but also financial assets as well. Now, why do they do this? It’s to offer more liquidity. It’s to make the transacting process easier and smoother for businesses, but also ultimately for end retail investors. So tokenization is a theme. Another theme that we’re seeing is Stablecoins. Businesses are starting to adopt and embrace Stablecoins for a couple of key use cases. One of those use cases is to facilitate cross-border transactions. So if I’m a business and I have operations across the globe, I need to be able to fund those operations. I’ve got to be able to shift assets, financial assets, and money from the US to my global operations. And it can be a real nightmare moving funds. It’s expensive and it takes time. Or kind of the two key pain points there, those can largely be eliminated by using statements. So Stablecoins are another trend that we’re seeing in the market today. And there are some other I’d say maybe slightly lesser trends that we’re seeing gamify. There have been trends around NFTs and a few others. So those are some of the things that are driving business interest. So when they think about those trends, when they think about their ability to embrace the ecosystem, then their mind quickly shifts over to what is the regulatory environment. So that’s the other part of your question here. What is the regulatory environment? What does it look like in the US? What does it look like overseas? Where can I launch these strategies and initiatives so that I can stay on solid footing from a regulatory perspective? So in the US, there are a couple of dynamics that are beginning to play out. One, you’ve had a lot of movement from the IRS. Way back in 2021, kind of in this initial boom cycle that you alluded to, Congress actually passed an act that made it so that brokers had a formal requirement to provide end users with 1099. So those regs, more information has recently been provided. They haven’t been finalized yet.

Aaron Jacob: We’re still waiting on some on some of that. So there’s some gray area to navigate. However, the IRS has been making significant progress in providing guidance and somewhat of a regulatory framework for companies to operate. So that’s the tax side of things. You have the accounting side of things. The FASB which I mentioned earlier, they are the standard-setting body that is in charge of setting US GAAP. So what are the accounting rules that companies abide by in December last year, just over two months ago, the FASB finalized Crypto asset accounting guidance. So that is final, it’s in the books right now. It doesn’t cover everything in the ecosystem. It basically covered the hottest topics. What were the most painful things for businesses to deal with? The headliners are that if you’re holding crypto on a balance sheet, you will hold it at fair value. So if I’m a MicroStrategy, a publicly traded company that has crypto, I now hold it on my balance sheet at fair value. So that guidance is now finalized. Companies can begin adopting that. It’s mandatory for companies to adopt it at the end of this year, for next year’s financial statements. So there’s been really good momentum there. And then you’ve got like the SEC what is happening in the world of the SEC. And there have been a lot of head-scratchers over the last couple of years for actions that the SEC has taken. That many, myself included in the industry would argue, were not helpful.  It was regulation by enforcement rather than actually putting out thoughtful rules that companies could be thoughtful about and could follow. So I think we’ve got ample room for improvement on that side of things. That is where maybe the global landscape starts to look a little bit different. I would say that other areas of the globe, particularly, APAC have been a much more friendly regulatory environment for companies that are looking to embrace the technology, launch initiatives and do it in a regulated environment, and abide by regulatory standards. So I think the US, we’ve made some progress. I think there’s a lot of progress yet to be made. Thankfully, there are some really good groups out there that are lobbying, Capitol Hill and are doing some really good things. We certainly do a lot to help provide education to help represent our clients’ views to these various regulatory and standard-setting bodies. So there’s a lot of work ahead to do. In summary, we’ve made some progress, there’s a lot of progress yet to be made around the globe. Certain geographies and countries have made more progress than the US, which is why you’re seeing, depending on how you slice and dice the numbers and the adoption metrics, you’re seeing greater adoption in other parts of the world.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Absolutely. That was a fantastic summary. And is one of those things that as if you’re just the consumer out there and think, you heard a lot as a consumer on the consumer end about all these things and may view it one way that behind the scenes on the enterprise level, at the company level, at the governmental level, all of this stuff is continuing to move forward and hasn’t been as up and down as maybe the consumer just news cycle would make it seem like it is. But there’s been a continuous positive momentum in getting a framework around all of this and kind of setting up the guardrails and that infrastructure. And one of the biggest recent news items you alluded to earlier is that fairly recently, within like a month or so ago, we launched the Bitcoin ETFs that launched, got approved, and launched. I believe earlier you mentioned the early numbers are they’ve been very successful. I’ve seen a couple of things on that success. You know new entrants coming in versus people reallocating some of the money they might have already had in that crypto world over to the ETFs and whatnot. But either way, it has been successful to some degree that you could get really nitty gritty on. But how do you see those ETFs and their early success kind of changing the trajectory of Bitcoin and crypto trading in general?

Aaron Jacob: Yeah, there’s been a lot of activity. So I think from an ecosystem perspective, what’s the tone of things? There were two events that happened relatively closely to each other. We talked about both of them. The first is the FSB crypto asset guidance in December followed shortly thereafter with the SEC approving 11 spot BTC ETF applications. And the subsequent launch of those 11 ETFs, those two happened within about a month, month and a half of one another. And I think it messages to the market a couple of things. One, IT messages that this technology is here to stay. It’s not going anywhere. It is an important part of an emerging industry. And I would argue the future of finance, is also just kind of credentialized to a certain degree, not just Bitcoin, but but the ecosystem at large, certainly Bitcoin with the ETF and the SEC finally, giving their blessing of those spot ETFs. But it just breathed credibility into what builders are doing in this space. And the response since that initial launch has been, you know nothing short of phenomenal. It was interesting when the ETFs first launched, literally on the first day, well over $1 billion of capital flowed into those ETFs. And if you were just following the price of BTC initially there was some downward pressure on the price of BTC, largely fueled by the grayscale selloff. So what you saw is you saw ETFs specifically, think of the Blackrock ETF, think of the fidelity ETF, those two have been probably the biggest winners in the ETF race. You saw a lot of money flowing into those ETFs. And then you saw that partially offset by what was flowing out of the grayscale. Since that time you’ve seen a run-up in the price of BTC. We’re hovering somewhere around 51,000 today. What’s interesting here to me is the share of actual BTC holdings, that is held by ETFs. I saw a chart just yesterday actually, that illustrated that, today over it’s about 230,000 Bitcoin are held by ETFs. That’s more than Microstrategy’s. You know that’s a significant percentage of total BTC in circulation that it’s held held by these ETFs. So we’ve literally seen billions of dollars flow into these ETFs, certainly messaging a demand for the asset, not just from retail investors, but from Wall Street. And I think that’s probably the most encouraging thing for folks in the space. And it also makes it easier for companies to now embrace the technology. Again, those two things happening together, you get the SEC approving the ETFs, you get new FASB guidance, and you get some movement on the IRS side of things as well with some level of clarity, some still to follow. All of those things start to swirl together. And we can’t say that we’ve arrived. We certainly haven’t yet. But some of the headwinds that we were experiencing, the industry was experiencing a year, year and a half ago. You mentioned FTX earlier, some of those headwinds are starting to turn, and you’re seeing some tailwind type of activity that is certainly encouraging for folks who are building in the space. It’s encouraging for businesses that are looking to launch initiatives. it’s encouraging for,  folks, that who are embracing technology.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Certainly. You use the word credibility, which I think is probably the most important word with that is the combination of the credibility that these decisions provide for the industry that may have been missing externally maybe weren’t needed internally, but externally makes it much easier to find credible to new people as well. And you couple that with the infrastructure building up around it, and suddenly you could see things change really quickly and you can see momentum pick up very quickly. So excited to see where all of this goes.

Aaron Jacob: Let me just share one other thing here, I like to put this in perspective for people. So I just referenced there are about 230,000 BTC that are held in the ETFs. At today’s value, that’s over $11.5 billion that has flowed into those ETFs since they were launched just last month. There has never been that level of performance for any ETF, let alone a Bitcoin ETF, a digital asset. There’s never been that level of interest in the first month of any ETF in history. So it’s just fascinating to follow, we’re watching the news play out in real-time where history is being made here. There’s a lot to be encouraged about.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Yeah, I love it. The final thing I want to ask you about before we go, and I know it’s been many years ago now, but I did stumble across you had written many years back lessons I learned at Wharton blog on LinkedIn, and I found it really great. And for those listening, we have a lot of folks thinking about development, and career advancement within these worlds. And so I was very curious, given the world you work in now is a little more new age, a little more progressive, you might think, maybe that lines up with some sentiment around, not needing the higher educations and things like that. So it caught me when I saw that and how much going back and getting your MBA and how much that helped you. So I wanted to kind of ask a two-part question off of that is 1 or 2 things you could maybe share that were the most valuable for you at that time to have gotten your MBA and what it did for you? But then also, if you could think back, I forget what year exactly it was, you went back and got that. But if you think you would make the same decision in 2024, or if you would have seen the value proposition of that advanced education has changed in the interim, I think it was maybe eight years or so since you did that.

Aaron Jacob: Yeah, it’s a great question. I look back at my own journey, so maybe to take a step back, I did an undergrad and master’s degree in accounting. Initially, I went and earned my CPA. I worked in traditional capital markets, worked at one of the Big Four accounting firms. I worked at the FASB. And there came a point in my career where I just wanted to continue learning, I think for folks in this space, a natural curiosity is one of those characteristics that a lot of people have. And,  for me, years ago, I wanted to continue my educational, formal educational journey. So I went and got my MBA at Wharton, and had a phenomenal experience there. I met so many great people. It was just a real privilege, to be at that institution and be around the the caliber of people that were there. When I think back on that experience, some of the things that I really learned, one of the reasons that I wanted to get an MBA was, yes, to increase my educational profile to go and learn, but also to just continue to build out a network and, to learn from other people. What were they doing in their careers? What were they seeing in the market? What were the opportunities that they were exploring? And, one of those things that I explored, to your second question, would I do it again? The answer is a resounding yes, I absolutely would. I wouldn’t be where I am today had it not been for that experience. However, I took a series of blockchain classes while I was at Wharton. I focused on a couple of different topics while I was there, I spent a lot of time focusing on leadership and finance, of course, it’s Wharton. And, I also did a lot in the entrepreneur area. And that was when I really started embracing blockchain technology myself a little bit more and taking some classes. But when I look back on that experience, the things that stand out to me are the people that I met. I literally had dinner just last weekend with one of my Wharton classmates in Park City. And it was a great chance to catch up. And,  we still stay in touch. I still stay in close contact with a good handful or two of my classmates. The other thing that I really learned at Wharton is, you stay creative. You develop an ability to ask the right types of questions. You’ve got to stay hungry. You listen carefully to people, and you come to realize that there’s something you can learn from everybody. So continuing to embrace that lifelong learning is really important. The other thing, that stood out to me is this notion of leadership. I took some really phenomenal leadership classes while I was there. And to a certain extent, leadership is learned. It’s something that there’s no substitute for experience. It’s something that you dive in and you embrace. And yes, there are people who are just naturally gifted leaders. But if you couple that with this element of experienced and learned leadership, well, then you have a really powerful combination, to create an individual who can have a significant impact on an organization. And being surrounded by those types of individuals was a real treat. So I left Wharton and I stayed in capital markets for a couple of years. I then had an opportunity to embrace my own interest in entrepreneurship, my own passion for capital markets, and some of my prior professional experience building out Subledger technology and SaaS, SaaS software, combining that with complex financial instruments and to a certain extent, that is the world of digital assets. It really helped catapult my career and has been instrumental in how I think, and what my own leadership style is. And how I help support the growth that we’re seeing at TaxBit.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Yeah, I absolutely love that. Well, Aaron, this has been a real pleasure for those listening who may want to learn more about TaxBit or get in touch with you, follow you and everything the company had going on, where would be the best place for them to go?

Aaron Jacob: Check out We have just a lot of information on there, a lot of information about our solutions. Feel free to send me an email. It’s Our focus really is helping enterprises streamline, operationalize, and automate the accounting and tax components of their digital asset portfolios. So, yeah, feel free to reach out to or check out, our website.

Jacob Hollabaugh: I love it. We will link to those in more in the show notes below. Aaron, thank you so much for your time and knowledge today. I’ve greatly enjoyed it and hope to speak again sometime soon.

Aaron Jacob: Hey, thank you, Jacob. I appreciate you having me on.

Jacob Hollabaugh: If you enjoyed this episode and want to hear more, head on over to to subscribe on your podcast listening platform of choice. That’s