A lesson on expansion through partnerships with Crypto Tax Calculator

Hear from Shane Brunette, CEO and co-founder of Crypto Tax Calculator, on how key partnerships have provided leverage during initial business expansion.


Rochelle Ritchie

June 12, 2024

Does a founder's big idea need to stem from a personal pain point? Certainly not. While it is a common narrative shared with investors, it doesn’t deter from the spark of the right idea. In some respects, it can even result in shorter time to market, quicker target audience engagement and a more cohesive product market fit. This trope has certainly worked in favour for the two founders, builders and brothers behind Crypto Tax Calculator, Shane and Tim Brunette. 

Founded in 2019, Crypto Tax Calculator is revolutionising the way cryptocurrency taxation is managed worldwide. The team has seen enduring expansion, with 3.7x global customer growth YTD, as well as numerous new partnerships including with Coinbase, MetaMask and CoinStats, just to name a few.  

This Q&A is in conversation with Shane Brunette (pictured above), CEO and co-founder of Crypto Tax Calculator, and focuses on the origin story of the business; sharing insight into how effective partnerships can be leveraged for effective business growth. Enjoy.

Lets start from the beginning, what is the origin story of Crypto Tax Calculator?

“Back in 2018, I was having my own crypto tax nightmare. I had been trading cryptocurrencies for a while, and when it came time to file my taxes, I found myself overwhelmed. After what felt like thousands of manual calculations and having my head in spreadsheets for more hours than I’d care to count, I was frustrated and filled with dread. Worst of all, I was no closer to understanding my tax obligations.

I figured there was no chance I was the only person facing this challenge. So, as a software engineer, I did what we tend to do: I decided to fix it. I enlisted the help of my brother Tim, also an engineer, and we got to work. Our goal was to create a tool that could automate these calculations and provide accurate tax reports for crypto users.”

What makes Crypto Tax Calculator the best offering for customers looking to fulfil cryptocurrency taxation requirements? 

“When I was trying to figure out my own tax obligations, I quickly realised that there were only a handful of software providers that could manage relatively simple crypto activity on centralised exchanges. They still weren’t particularly user-friendly, and in trying a couple of different options, I seemed to get different results, which didn’t bode well for their accuracy.

The biggest problem, though, was the second you started adding any more complex, decentralised activity, I couldn’t find a single tool that could generate an accurate tax report for anything beyond the most rudimentary crypto activity.

Framing this, we saw two parallel trends that were going to cause crypto enthusiasts a lot of strife. The first was the rapid adoption of more complex and nuanced—therefore nightmarish to report on—types of crypto activity. The second was government tax organisations all over the world taking an increased interest in digital assets.

So, we set out to build a platform that could handle even the most complex scenarios with absolute accuracy— that was also user-friendly and educational, so that no matter your depth of experience with financial reporting or crypto, you could easily figure out your tax obligations.

Six years and hundreds of thousands of users later, I think we’ve done just that. We have a fantastic team of engineers and crypto experts, and we’ve partnered with some of the most knowledgeable tax professionals in the space to deliver what I firmly believe is the best solution in the market.”

What role does partnerships play in the expansion of Crypto Tax Calculator? 

“As a startup based in this little corner of the globe, in an industry that is both rapidly growing and surprisingly tight-knit, key partnerships with established names in the space have been absolutely essential for us.

We’ve been really fortunate that our relentless focus on building a great solution has afforded us the opportunity to partner with many leaders in the industry, from global giants like Coinbase and Metamask to publications and influential individuals. It helps that anyone who is pretty active in crypto can relate to how much of a headache trying to sort out your taxes is.

There’s nothing more powerful than getting the tick of approval from people and brands your customers already trust. I think in this space, in particular, where people are pretty savvy and sometimes even sceptical consumers, there’s no shortcut to trust and credibility quite like it.

As well as being a game-changer for credibility, partnerships are an efficient and scalable way to grow. Given the steady increase in the cost of traditional performance marketing channels over the past few years, getting in front of our right-fit customers via the products they already use and the publications they consume is an essential way of diversifying how we grow our customer base. For a lot of startups, reliance on just a couple of channels can be a very scary, very real risk. 

The great thing about partnerships is that they are by nature, diverse—which means some yield better results than others, but all offer a new stream of potential customers to engage.Whereas if you acquire through just Google and Meta ads, for example, and one stops performing the way it always did, there’s a material business risk.”

What advice would you give to founders looking to expand their business in a similar way?

"Build a great product, if another company is going to promote you to their audience who trusts them, they have to really believe in what you’re doing. So offer something awesome. 

Beyond that, also build a culture of being the easiest partner to work with. We’re frequently not the biggest company our partners work with, but we have the benefit of being agile and fairly no-fuss - which is something that bigger businesses can’t always manage, so I think we really use that to our advantage."

What’s next for Crypto Tax Calculator? 

“Plenty of things. It’s been fantastic to see the crypto industry heat up again; more people entering the market means more people who need to do their taxes!

We are continuing to grow our base across different markets and segments, and we are dedicated to delivering the best solution in the market. This includes expanding our platform’s capabilities to handle even more complex activity, introducing a solution for businesses, and ensuring our software stays ahead of regulatory changes worldwide.

We’re also focusing on enhancing the user experience by adding more educational resources and support to help our users navigate the often confusing world of crypto taxes with confidence.” 

Shane, Tim and the team at Crypto Tax Calculator are always looking to connect with people passionate about what their business is solving for. Feel free to submit an expression of interest for open roles here. They also offer a range of educational crypto tax resources via their website

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