How do I choose?
Crypto Portfolio Tracker vs Crypto Tax Software
In the last two chapters you learned about many different ways to keep track of all your cryptocurrency buys, sells, and holds. Now the question is which one should you choose?
Of course, there isn’t one answer that fits everybody, so I’ll outline a few options for you to consider.
The ONE SIZE FITS ALL option
In this option you would pick a web-based portfolio tracker that also includes tax tools. To be fully ‘one size fits all’, it would also need to offer a mobile version.
Cointracking.info meets all these criteria. It has an online website that provides portfolio tracking, data analysis, and tax reporting. There’s also a mobile app that let’s you see all your crypto balances, charts, plus actual gains and losses. Unfortunately, the mobile app doesn’t allow for any editing or data entry. All that must be done online. The mobile app is just for viewing what was entered on the website. There’s a free version (only 200 trades) but the low end paid version is very affordable and will suit most beginner and intermediate needs.
I’ve been using this platform for many years to do the bookkeeping on my crypto trades prior to filing a tax return. What that means is all your crypto trades get imported into the portfolio, then the tax reporting tool lets you choose how to match up your buys and sells to produce a tax report with the least amount of gains. This is accomplished by selecting the best capital gains method for determining cost basis (what you paid). Most portfolio tracker/tax tool platforms offer 3 or 4 capital gain methods, but cointracking.info has 10 of them.
This table lists capital gain methods available to U.S. residents on Cointracking.
|FIFO -First in First out||LIFO – Last in First out||HIFO – Highest cost First out||LOFO – Lowest cost First out|
|HPFO – Highest Price First out||LPFO – Lowest Price First out||HAFO – Highest amount First out||LAFO – Lowest amount First out|
|AVCO – Average cost||OPTI – Optimized calculation|
Some of the drawbacks to this platform is the user interface is not very pretty or modern and if you’re new to crypto it might be easy to get overwhelmed by the vast features and options available. However, if you’re a detailed oriented person and enjoy control over your data, you will like this platform. I’m a total control freak and I love the power and flexibility cointracking.info gives me. It’s easy to search and find any transaction for any coin. I’ve used several other platforms where this was not easy to accomplish.
Here’s a good video review of the cointracking.info platform to help you decide if this is the right one for you.
Cointracking.info is an excellent tool but it might be too much for some people. I know many accountants like it, but the average crypto enthusiast may want something a little more manageable. Even though I use this platform to manage crypto trades for tax purposes I don’t like using it for monitoring my trades on a daily basis.
For daily monitoring, adding buys and sells, and watching my portfolio balance I like to use a mobile app. This takes us to the next option.
The ONE PLUS ONE Combo option
As the title implies, with this option we use a portfolio tax platform for tax needs and a portfolio tracker for everyday portfolio management. This option may require a little extra effort depending on how you set it up. For example if you use API keys in the everyday portfolio tracker you’ll save lots of time not entering your trades manually. You’ll want to monitor the trades as they get imported. Sometimes there are errors. Since I’m a control freak, I prefer not using API keys and to enter my trades manually to my mobile portfolio tracker. This helps me avoid errors in my portfolio like transaction duplications or dropped transactions by the API. Note: Refer to Definitions and Key Concepts chapter for a definition of API keys. For the crypto tax platform, I always download the trades from the exchanges as a CSV file then import them into cointracking.info.
I can’t go over all the portfolio management tool possibilities in this course but I’ll give you lots to consider to help you make an informed decision. You might choose any of the following possible combinations from the table below. Pick one from the left column and one from the right column and you’ll have a winning One Plus One Combo portfolio tracking system.
|Crypto Tax Portfolio Tools||Crypto Portfolio Trackers|
Combo Part 1 – Crypto Tax Portfolio Tool
As I’ve mentioned previously, my preference for the crypto portfolio tax tool is cointracking.info, but keep in mind I was an accountant for 15 years and I like the double entry manual data input feature and the multiple capital gains methods. These features may not be what you need the most. If you don’t want all the extra flexibility and reports and you don’t want to learn the double entry feature, then choose a tool that’s easier to use like cryptotrader.tax or cointracker.io.
I’ve used cryptotrader.tax because a former tax client had their trades in it. I liked the platform, it had a nice user interface and was easy to use. What I didn’t like at the time was they only offered the 3 most common capital gains methods (FIFO, LIFO, HIFO).
I’ve used tokentax.co personally and for a former tax client who had margin trades. I don’t like doing the bookkeeping on margin trades, because they’re a little different and I haven’t learned it well yet. If you want to hire professionals to do your crypto bookkeeping and tax return, I highly recommend TokenTax. They are accountants who developed their own crypto tax software. The software was fantastic for finding trades with missing cost basis but I found the search functionality lacking for locating a single transaction.
I haven’t used cointracker.io or zenledger.io but I’ve researched them, and I believe they would be excellent platforms. Cointracker.io has a great user interface but costs a bit more. ZenLedger appears to offer expanded features.
The pricing for these tools vary based on the number of trades. For the cheapest paid option between 1,000-5,000 trades, currently cointracking.info is about $132, cryptotrader.tax is $99, zenledger.io is $149, cointracker.io is $199, and tokentax.co is $199.
Here’s a great comparison of all the features for each platform. Keep it mind it was prepared by ZenLedger.
Combo Part 2 – Crypto Portfolio Trackers
My preference for the everyday mobile crypto portfolio tracker is a between Hodl, Delta, and Coinstats. I’ve used all three and I like all three for different reasons.
I’ve been using the HODL app for several years. I love the simple interface and all in one watch list. The app provides real-time charts and prices from all global exchanges, along with filtered tweets and breaking headlines from all top news sources. This app supports crypto as well as stocks for intermediate and advanced traders.
I especially like the real-time price feed and accurate profit and loss data. The charts are customizable and very detailed showing candles, volume and price. This portfolio app is free but very powerful.
The price alert feature has been invaluable to me. Notifications from the app let me know I need to pay attention. Check-out the smart alert brackets. They adjust with the price so I don’t have to keep updating the alert settings. Sweet!
I started using Delta about 3 years ago. I also started using the Blockfolio/FTX app at the same time. I eventually chose to use Blockfolio/FTX for the simple reason that it was free and Delta was not. But as many of you know, FTX went bankrupt in 2022 so I stopped using the app and went back to HODL.
Last time I checked Delta costs $59 a year, but it’s worth the price to get a detailed profit and loss for all trades. I’m also thoroughly impressed with the amount of research and insights Delta provides on the top cryptocoins. One feature I wish they would add is market volume to the price charts of the cryptocoins. Currently it doesn’t. And the free version does not provide a profit and loss. However, there is one thing Delta does better than all the other apps. It allows you to track not just crypto, but stocks, forex, and mutual funds as well.
I used Coinstats for a short while but decided to stay with HODL. I just didn’t like the layout as much. This app offers many of the same quality features that Delta offers and several more. Unlike Delta, even the free version gives you profit and loss for each cryptocoin and a chart that provides market volume and moving averages. That’s impressive. If you upgrade to the pro version for $40 a year you get access to lots more statistics on your portfolio and cryptocoins. Another great feature is they have a built-in wallet for the free version and the pro version adds exchange trading.
The Bottom Line
In my experience the One Plus One combo option is the best choice. Managing your crypto trades for tax purposes is very different from managing your crypto portfolio to monitor its value.
After completing the section on mobile portfolio trackers, I almost convinced myself into going back to the Coinstats premium portfolio tracker. I noticed they recently made changes to the layout and it’s growing on me. However, the Delta app premium version offers many useful extra features as well. Since I don’t do a ton of trading I’ll probably stick with HODL for now.
One thing is for sure, the Coinstats and Delta app are both designed for intermediate to advance crypto traders who make trades regularly and need accurate information on the status of their portfolio. If you’re mostly a hodler (buy and hold long term) then you don’t need a fancy paid portfolio tracker. The free Hodl app will work great for you.
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