On behalf of the IRTA Global Board of Directors, I’d like to thank all of you for your contributions to another very successful year. Some of the Board’s accomplishments this year will yield a more immediate return for the growth of this industry, but many of the achievements will provide guidance and security in the coming years, or even decades ahead.
It was the creative, diligent work from our President & CEO, Ron Whitney, our UC International Broker/IRTA Project Manager, Patty Weston, and the help of numerous legal and accounting professionals that resulted in IRTA delivering major benefits to our industry. This banner year was also a function of the remarkable support from our elected board, and the efforts from you, our members.
IRTA continues to be an advocate for the barter industry regarding new state financial regulations concerning Money Transmitters, resulting from the rise of cryptocurrencies and their potential impact on other complementary currencies, including barter/trade currencies. IRTA’s “Money Transmitter Regulations Committee,” which is made-up of various industry experts inside and outside of IRTA, released IRTA’s “Cryptocurrency Money Transmitter Advisory Memo” in February 2016. The Advisory Memo makes important distinctions between legal cryptocurrencies and trade dollars.
The IRTA website was redesigned and released in January of 2016 to modernize the site and maximize internet SEO. Also, IRTA re-wrote, modernized and approved new Bylaws to reflect current best practices. These were released in February 2016 and further revised in September of 2016.
In April the “Membership Agreement – Cash Conversion & Lending Clauses” Advisory Memo was released, which makes critical membership contract language recommendations so as to properly establish that trade exchanges are not lenders. And in August IRTA released a new modernized model membership agreement.
Once again IRTA’s Universal Currency Clearinghouse (UC), with over 100 participating exchanges, regularly set monthly trading records in 2016, and for the first time in UC’s history, exceeded the annual 12 million dollar annual trade volume plateau for 2016. In addition, IRTA increased the quantity and quality of IRTA’s membership by bringing BBX International, BBX international franchisee’s and other key U.S. exchanges into the IRTA fold.
IRTA continued its international reach by meeting with key officials from the Dubai Department of Economic Development to provide advice and expertise for their plan to build an international barter-hub in Dubai. The Dubai government is expected to launch the barter-hub initiative in 2017 which could have profound advancements in our global community.
In October IRTA formed a new committee to write an Advisory Memo on the delineation between the assets and liabilities of the managing trade exchange and the trade exchange itself, (ie., the members of the trade exchange). The Advisory Memo will provide guidance for the proper accounting of, and 1099B reporting for, bad-debt member trade account write-offs. The Advisory Memo is expected to be released in January of 2017.
IRTA once again assisted both IRTA-member and non-IRTA member exchanges to obtain full abatements of proposed cash civil penalties related to IRS non-matching TIN matters. IRTA also helped IRTA-member and non-member exchanges to retain their merchant services providers, by successfully educating the merchant service providers on the fact that trade dollars are not cryptocurrencies and trade exchanges are not money transmitters.
I’m proud to say IRTA hosted the most successful IRTA convention in over fifteen years at the five-star all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel from September 22-24, 2016. A sincere thank you goes out to our friends at Green Apple for delivering such a fantastic destination and resort.
With another productive year behind us, we are intently focused on what lies ahead. 2017 will once again be a pivotal year for this industry as we see continued growth and development with new currencies, legislation and global expansion in this business sector. The Board of Directors will meet in April for its annual two day planning session to evaluate and set the next steps and goals for IRTA and UC.
We will be releasing news in the coming month on the 2017 convention and are now outlining a new credentials based designation program, which upon completion, will recognize exchange owners that ascribe to proper managerial principles and exemplary best practices within their operation.
Once again, IRTA and UC will continue to pro-actively advocate for the barter industry in 2017 in their ongoing effort to preserve, protect and enhance the global barter industry.
I thank all of you, who have joined us in the journey,
Chairman of the Board, IRTA & UC