How is my capital gain positive when I've lost market value in my portfolio?

Total proceeds is the aggregate sum of the fair market value of all your crypto at trade/sell time across all your transactions (shown per taxable year on the tax page). In other words, the total fiat-value equivalent you got across all your crypto sells/trades. Total cost basis is the same — aggregate sum of the fair market value of all your crypto — but for at trade/receive time. Basically how much was all the crypto you had worth at the time you got it. The difference between these two values is your capital gain.

Depending on how frequently you trade crypto, these numbers can vary wildly from your net fiat invested (the amount of fiat money you have put into crypto). For example, let’s suppose you bought 1 BTC for $1,000 and then sold it for $2,000. Right before selling, your cost basis is $1,000 and after selling:

  • Total proceeds = $2,000
  • Total capital gain = $1,000
  • Fair market value of your remaining cryptocurrency = $0

Congratulations: you made $1,000 and are going to get taxed on that gain! Instead suppose you bought 1 BTC for $1,000 (which appreciates in value to $10,000) and then trade it for 10 ETH (and then the price of that ETH crashes to $100). You cost basis is still $1,000 and after selling:

  • Total proceeds = $10,000
  • Total capital gain = $9,000
  • Market value is $100

You lost $900 but have a capital gains tax bill on $9,000 — yikes! If you do lots of crypto day-trading, this can lead to huge amounts of total proceeds and total cost basis (sometimes multiple orders of magnitude more than the amount of net fiat invested), but what matters is your capital gain (the difference between the two).

It is also a good idea to double check your complete transaction history to make sure that it is accurate and the list of common reasons for incorrect cost basis to make sure none of those apply to your account. If you have any questions, please let us know.

Disclaimer: CoinTracker is provided for informational purposes only. This service is not intended to substitute for tax, audit, accounting, investment, financial, nor legal advice. For financial, tax, or legal advice please consult your own professional. The information on CoinTracker is subject to change without notice. All information is provided “as is.” CoinTracker disclaims any responsibility for the accuracy or adequacy of any positions taken by you in your tax returns. Please see our full disclaimer .