In 2018 our founder, Vamshi, received a 1099K from Coinbase with some unreasonable figures for his crypto trading activity. He discovered the need for a source of truth for cost basis, as an input to his taxes. And, he discovered a gap in the market. Together with a few friends, he launched BearTax in 2018.
These were the early days of clarity on crypto taxation in the U.S., and it wasn’t clear this was a business. As a nights-and-weekends project, the BearTax team built and expanded the BearTax product to support the needs of individual investors.
The original team executed a textbook MVP, building just what they needed to in order to learn what the market needed. An important decision they made early on was to be international from Day 1. Outside of crypto, there are very few tax products that are built to be international. European VAT and cross-border duties are the key examples. This decision was prescient and strategic since the crypto economy is global. BearTax is crypto-first, while competitors are tax-first.
While the team executed, the COVID pandemic spread worldwide, and the crypto tax market rapidly matured. Vamshi and the team realized that the market would be made in 2021 and 2022. They needed more resources and experience to compete against their competitors who were raising hundreds of millions of dollars in capital.
This is where my journey with BearTax begins.
In 2021, I acquired a majority stake in BearTax, raised our pre-seed round, and expanded the team. Vamshi, now our Chief Product Officer, and Guru, from the original team continued on. We added a diverse team of highly experienced engineers and tax professionals. We knew we needed a strategy and a product that could win the whole market since we were now coming from behind in market awareness and capital.
In many ways, we were an industry underdog, taking on more work than most with fewer resources and access. Through all of this, our central ethos remained constant — provide access to crypto tax clarity in a quickly changing world.
This focus and tenacity on community impact quickly became the basis for how we address every single problem we aim to solve.
We moved incredibly fast, and with strategic purpose. We rebuilt our existing investor tax product in 2022 as a foundational capability needed for any go-forward approach we would take.
While we rebuilt our first product to be able to scale and provide a superior experience, we formed a clear point of view on what was needed to win the market. And while all this happened, the term web3 emerged to encompass the broader scope of crypto use cases. This aligned perfectly with the vision that we developed.
“The brand name BearTax built the foundations of this company, but that name and identity wouldn’t serve us as we go after this broader vision. We needed to rebrand.”
The opportunity we saw and decided to capitalize on is to be the tax system for the web3 economy. The brand name BearTax built the foundations of this company, but that name and identity wouldn’t serve us as we go after this broader vision. We needed to rebrand.