VAT and economic crises

@Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash The entire world is currently doing its best to curb the corona crisis. During the last months, many governments announced economic rescue packages with a value of trillions of euros to tackle healthcare issues and related economic problems that the outbreak of the coronavirus is causing. These packages vary per country. However, all countries seem to agree on the fact that VAT adjustments can help.

Securing Alertmanager’s cluster traffic

@Photo by Pixabay Problem At summitto we use Prometheus for monitoring our infrastructure and Alertmanager for sending alerts. For reliability we wanted to make our monitoring system highly-available, with two Prometheis and Alertmanagers on different machines, which meant that the Alertmanagers needed to be in cluster mode to talk to each other and de-duplicate alerts. This cluster traffic needs to be secured, and since we don’t use any kind of service mesh like Consul or Istio, our initial thought was to use mutual TLS between the Alertmanagers, which we can do fairly easily with our reverse proxy[1], Haproxy.

The cost of cyber attacks

@Photo by Pixabay “Cyber attacks are one of the top 10 global risks of highest concern in the next decade, with an estimated price tag of 90 trillion dollar if cybersecurity efforts do not keep pace with technological change” - World Economic Forum.[1] Over the last couple of years the number of successful cyber attacks has surged. To illustrate this: every 39 seconds a cyber attack occurs in the US.

History of the EU VAT system

Previously, we wrote about Value Added Tax (VAT) fraud. VAT is an excellent form of taxation as the responsibility to pay consumption taxes is distributed over the complete value chain, whilst only the end consumer actually pays taxes. This makes VAT a neutral form of taxation and to a certain extent both self-administering and self-policing. The rapid increase in the number of countries using a VAT system shows that the vast majority of countries agrees with the above.

Git submodules, subtree, and subtrac.

At summitto we get to enjoy dependency management in C++ and more often than not, vendoring things using git submodules is the easiest solution to do this. However, submodules are not without their problems and nicer tools exist. In this blog post we’re going to look at two tools that are supposed to make our lives easier when working with git submodules. The shortcomings Before we start looking at the potential solution, let’s first quickly examine the problem.

Explanatory Video

Summitto created an explanatory video! Over the last couple of years, many people asked us “but how does TX++ actually work?” Blockchain is a relatively new technology and at times hard to understand. We tried to explain the benefits of blockchain in our last blogpost, but it is hard to know how these benefits are put into practice in TX++ in an article. To show people how TX++ works, we demonstrated our system in an operational environment on several occasions.

Blockchain and VAT: an Introduction

Blockchain and VAT: an Introduction VAT fraud costs European Union (EU) Member States an estimated 50 billion euro on an annual basis. In total, the difference between the expected amount of VAT collected and the actually collected VAT (the VAT gap) is 137.5 billion euro .[1] Several Member States are considering disproportionate measures to fight this fraud. None of them seem just. That’s why we’ll discuss the potential of blockchain in fighting VAT fraud.

Welcome to our blog

Welcome to summitto’s blog, the blog and newsroom about everything related to VAT and technology! We created this blog to inform people about the latest developments around summitto and to provide insights in topics closely related to what we do: combating VAT fraud through our blockchain based invoice registration system called TX++. We will discuss e.g. VAT, VAT fraud, blockchain, cybersecurity, cryptography and many more related topics. Summitto started its endeavours to fight VAT fraud in 2017.