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Yan, K.; Yan, H.; Gupta, R. Cryptocurrencies in Accounting. Encyclopedia. Available online: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/22588 (accessed on 14 June 2024).
Yan K, Yan H, Gupta R. Cryptocurrencies in Accounting. Encyclopedia. Available at: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/22588. Accessed June 14, 2024.
Yan, Kejia, Huqin Yan, Rakesh Gupta. "Cryptocurrencies in Accounting" Encyclopedia, https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/22588 (accessed June 14, 2024).
Yan, K., Yan, H., & Gupta, R. (2022, May 04). Cryptocurrencies in Accounting. In Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/22588
Yan, Kejia, et al. "Cryptocurrencies in Accounting." Encyclopedia. Web. 04 May, 2022.
Cryptocurrencies in Accounting
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The International Financial Reporting Standards Interpretations Committee (IFRSIC) (2019) proposed that the IAS 2 Inventories accounting standard is the accounting rule that best fits the holding of cryptocurrencies. As in the ordinary course of business, when holders want to sell their crypto assets, the best accounting rule is the IAS 2 Inventories. The IFRSIC (2019) also proposed that if the IAS 2 Inventories accounting standard is not appropriate for holdings of cryptocurrencies, another good choice is the IAS 38 Intangible Assets accounting standard. In most cases, IAS 38 will be the best accounting standard for holdings of cryptocurrencies.

survey of cryptocurrencies financial reporting standards interpretations committee

1. Are Cryptocurrencies Intangible Assets, as Defined in IAS 38?

The International Financial Reporting Standards Interpretations Committee (IFRSIC) IFRSIC (2019a) stated that the cryptocurrencies are intangible assets, as defined in IAS 38. If a cryptocurrency is an intangible asset, the basic assessment is that it must meet the requirements of an intangible asset defined in IAS 38. An asset is intangible if it can be separated, sold, or transferred from the holder individually, and it cannot be seen as a monetary item that can give the holder a contractual right to obtain a number of units of currency.
Some accounting bodies have noted that the application of IAS 38 may not be relevant for investors. Because a cryptocurrency is mostly held by investors for the purpose of investment, they have suggested that it is inappropriate to apply IAS 38 to holdings of cryptocurrencies.
Although a cryptocurrency meets the definition in paragraph 8 of IAS 38 for classification as an intangible asset, the purposes of holding a traditional intangible asset and holding a crypto asset for investment are totally different (Kim 2019).
Regarding the tentative agenda decision made by the IFRSIC (2019a) on the application of IAS 38 to holdings of cryptocurrencies, only a few accounting bodies agreed with this conclusion. Many other accounting bodies did not agree with the conclusion of the IFRSIC (2019a). For example, The Digital Assets Accounting Consortium (DAAC) conducted an industry survey for the period from February to April 2019 and found that only 19% of respondents carrying cryptocurrencies answered that holdings of cryptocurrencies are considered intangible assets, whereas as many as 64% of respondents answered no to this question (Boring 2019).
The Taiwan Accounting Research and Development Foundation (ARDF Taiwan) stated that the application of IAS 38 to holdings of cryptocurrencies may not generate relevant information for the investors. When comparing the characteristics and nature of cryptocurrencies and intangible assets, they are not exactly as the same as defined in IAS 38, because cryptocurrencies produce economic benefits through being sold or invested, while general intangible assets produce economic benefits through business operation (Liu 2019).
The Securities and Exchange Commission of Brazil (CVM) stated that if a cryptocurrency is bought for the purposes of investment, trading, or use as a medium of exchange, it can clearly not be considered within the scope of IAS 38 Intangible assets, because the nature of an intangible asset is related to the maintenance of operational activities (Ferreira and Silva 2019).
Generally, intangible assets are usually defined as goodwill or non-liquid assets. When a cryptocurrency is treated as an intangible asset, its true nature may not be easily separated from other intangible assets in financial statements (Boring 2019).
The information produced based on IAS 38 may not be the most useful information for investors, because under IAS 38, the value of holdings of cryptocurrencies might be estimated by a cost-based valuation method that measures the crypto assets’ value in financial statements. If the cost-based method is implemented, then values may be assigned to holdings of cryptocurrencies and recorded in financial statements as historical costs, but this will not provide relevant information about their current market value to investors. If the cost-based revaluation method is implemented, the real value of holding the cryptocurrency in terms of profit or loss will not be reflected when an active market exists and the cost-based revaluation method will need to change (Hait et al. 2019).
The Mexican Financial Reporting Standards Board (CINIF) stated that based on IAS 38, a cryptocurrency might be revalued at its purchased cost or at its fair value, because the purchased cost does not reflect the economic value of a cryptocurrency. If the revaluation method is applied to cryptocurrencies, which should be revaluated at fair value, the result of the revaluation should be confirmed as an integrated income. Because the purpose of cryptocurrency holding is speculative in nature, for revaluating in the short term, it might be inappropriate to revalue cryptocurrencies in terms of historical costs and the best revaluation method may be to measure the profit or loss using the fair value (Cervantes 2019).
The Canadian Accounting Standards Board (AcSB) noted that the IAS 38 was introduced much earlier than when cryptocurrencies were created. When the paragraphs of the IAS 38 were written, the nature of cryptocurrencies was never considered. When IAS 38 is applied to measure whether holdings of cryptocurrencies are intangible assets, the measurement result will be inappropriate and a fair value will not be achieved (Mezon 2019).
The Canadian Securities Administrators Chief Accountants Committee (CSACAC) explained that intangible assets, as defined in paragraph 9 of IAS 38, are generally held to help an entity to operate its business. However, cryptocurrencies are generally held to help an entity with investment, mostly to produce future profits from sale. Again, the prices of cryptocurrencies are volatile in the market, and cryptocurrencies are often held for speculative purposes in the short-term when they are used for the exchange for goods or services. Based on this analysis, it is inappropriate to see holdings of cryptocurrencies as intangible assets (Hait et al. 2019).
The Chamber of Digital Commerce stated that, in general, the application of the IAS 38 Intangible Assets accounting standard for holdings of cryptocurrencies is not appropriate, because the purposes of cryptocurrency holding should be considered when assessing which IFRS accounting standards should be applied (Boring 2019). Usually, the purposes of cryptocurrency holding are very different depending on whether the holders are broker-traders or cryptocurrency miners. While a cryptocurrency miner may take out a loan to mine crypto assets and repay this through selling crypto assets, another company’s treasury department may hold cryptocurrencies with a long-term investment objective and sell the remaining cryptocurrencies as a short-term liquid requirement (Boring 2019). Because the purposes are different, the accounting standard IAS 38 may not reflect the purposes appropriately.

2. Are Cryptocurrencies Inventories, as Defined in IAS 2?

The IFRSIC (2019a) concluded that if cryptocurrencies are held for sale during the ordinary course of business, it is appropriate to apply the IAS 2 Inventories accounting standard. If an entity holds cryptocurrencies for sale during the ordinary course of business, the held cryptocurrencies will be the same as inventories defined in the IAS 2. Conversely, if an entity holds cryptocurrencies that are not for sale in the ordinary course of business, the held cryptocurrencies can be considered intangible assets as described in IAS 38.
The IFRSIC (2019a) also concluded that when an entity acts as a broker-trader of cryptocurrencies and considers cryptocurrencies to be inventory assets similar to the description of commodities in the broker-traders act, it is appropriate to apply paragraph 3(b) of the IAS 2. In these circumstances, it is better to measure the value of inventories at fair value and calculate the profit less costs from the selling prices.
Many accounting bodies have agreed to accept the tentative agenda decision of the IFRSIC (2019a) by applying IAS 2 to holdings of cryptocurrencies so that they are considered inventories.
The Digital Assets Accounting Consortium (DAAC) conducted an industry survey from February to April 2019 and found that 39% of respondents who had crypto assets considered their cryptocurrencies to be inventories (Boring 2019).
The Accounting Standards Board of Japan (ASBJ) stated that because cryptocurrencies do not have any inherent value, their value usually comes from market exchange, if an entity wants to generate cash flow from its holdings of cryptocurrencies, the only way is to sell the cryptocurrencies on the cryptocurrency market. In this situation, it is appropriate to apply IAS 2 (Kogasaka 2019).
Hardidge (2019) suggested that cryptocurrencies held by broker-traders can be seen as inventories. Under IAS 2, a broker-trader holds cryptocurrencies for the purpose of generating a benefit by selling cryptocurrencies at high prices and buying them at low prices. The price fluctuations are the first consideration for holdings of cryptocurrencies.
Generally, a broker-trader holds cryptocurrencies in an ordinary business to sell them to customers. In some cases, these cryptocurrencies are bought from customers to satisfy the dealers’ sell orders. In other cases, cryptocurrencies are bought from miners to meet customers’ buy orders. In both cases, the cryptocurrencies are bought and sold to generate marginal profits. The characteristics of cryptocurrency holding in this case fits the definition of the IAS 2 inventory; accordingly, these digital assets are held as part of the inventory on the entities’ distributed ledger account (Boring 2019).
Some accounting bodies have noted that it is inappropriate to accept the tentative agenda decision of the IFRSIC (2019a) by applying IAS 2 to the holdings of cryptocurrencies as part of the inventory.
The Taiwan Accounting Research and Development Foundation (ARDF Taiwan) stated that the application of IAS 2 to holdings of cryptocurrencies may not provide relevant information to investors, because when cryptocurrencies are seen as inventory, their value may be estimated based on the purchased cost, and when they are valued using their historical cost, this will not exactly reflect their market economic value (Liu 2019).
Different to cryptocurrency holding by broker-traders, cryptocurrencies held by miners cannot be seen as inventories. When miners get a cryptocurrency reward from mining, the cryptocurrency cannot be seen as inventories under IAS 2 (Hardidge 2019).

3. Are Cryptocurrencies Cash, as Defined in IAS 32?

The IFRSIC (2019a) concluded that cryptocurrencies are not cash, because the nature of cryptocurrencies is not currently the same as the nature of cash.
Some accounting bodies prefer to accept that cryptocurrencies are not cash, as concluded by IFRSIC.
Although a cryptocurrency can be used as a medium for exchanging particular goods and services, it is not widely accepted as cash, as defined in the accounting standard IAS 32 Financial Instruments: Presentation. Additionally, although a cryptocurrency can be used as a monetary unit to price goods or services, it is also not widely accepted as cash in terms of the measurement and recording of transactions in financial statements, as defined in IAS 32.
Why are cryptocurrencies not accepted as cash, as defined in IAS 32? Many people are concerned that the prices of cryptocurrencies are highly volatile. Because the prices of cryptocurrencies undergo large fluctuations, they cannot be accepted as a medium or a monetary unit to measure the prices of other goods and services on the market. Conversely, the prices of cryptocurrencies have to be measured by other fiat currencies (Blockchain 2020). Based on this, cryptocurrencies’ functions are not the same as those of fiat currencies, because fiat currencies are usually used to measure the prices of goods and services. Moreover, considering their volatile pricing, cryptocurrencies are poorly stored as store value (Silvia 2019).
Some other accounting bodies prefer to accept that cryptocurrencies can be considered cash, as defined in IAS 32.
In the first quarter of 2021, Tesla (2021) purchased an aggregate amount of USD 1.50 billion Bitcoin. This cryptocurrency was firstly accepted as a type of payment for sales and was considered non-cash in accordance with the non-cash consideration guidance included in The US Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) 606 and as intangible asset as defined in ASC 805. Later, in 2022, Tesla (2022) reassessed the aggregate amount of USD 1.50 billion Bitcoin purchased in 2021 and reclassified it as an investment and also as a liquid alternative to cash in the long term.
The Securities and Exchange Commission of Brazil (CVM) stated that cryptocurrencies are not currently accepted as currency because cryptocurrencies were not entirely considered when the AG3 of IAS 32 was created; however, in some transactions, cryptocurrencies have to be considered cash, because, in fact, cryptocurrencies have been implemented as a medium of exchange and used as monetary units for transactions in some markets (Ferreira and Silva 2019).
The Mexican Financial Reporting Standards Board (CINIF) stated that, in general terms, it is inappropriate for cryptocurrencies to receive accounting recognition according to IAS 2 Inventories or IAS 38 Intangible. Conversely, it is appropriate to define a cryptocurrency as cash, because a cryptocurrency is a digital record that is based on encrypted algorithms and used as a form of payment, and its transfer can only be carried out via electronic means (Cervantes 2019).
Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies, although not widely accepted as electronic cash, are accepted by many commercial entities as a payment tool and used to pay for exchanges worldwide. More and more people are preferring to use cryptocurrencies to exchange goods and services, and this trend will continue to accelerate in the future (Rowland 2019). As the most popular cryptocurrency today, Bitcoin was created in a peer-to-peer network as an electronic form of cash, which permits payments to be directly transferred from one party to another through the blockchain network. It is targeted to act as a medium of exchange and monetary unit for pricing goods and services and is defined as having the basic function of cash according to IAS 32.
The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Industry Accounting Working Group (IAWG) suggested that cryptocurrencies should be treated as cash. Generally, cash has three basic functions: a medium of exchange, a monetary unit for pricing goods and services, and a store value of currency. Although the exchange medium function is an essential element for an asset that acts as cash, it is not essential for an asset acting as cash to have the other two basic functions. Although many sovereign currencies are widely accepted as cash, they cannot be converted into a normal fiat currency and are not able to be widely used as a medium of exchange in the international market. Functional currencies and foreign notes and coins held by an entity are generally reported as cash in accounting statements. Thus, if cryptocurrencies are widely used as a medium of exchange in the market by entities, they should be treated as cash (Nevo and Cahalan 2019).
The Taiwan Accounting Research and Development Foundation (ARDF Taiwan) stated that the fundamental function of a cryptocurrency is to act as a medium of exchange, usually for the purpose of exchanging goods, services, or fiat currencies. Although cryptocurrencies do not have any inherent or intrinsic value, entities that hold cryptocurrencies can receive market benefits from their subsequent exchange or sale. This is quite different to the description of intangible assets by IAS 38 or inventories by IAS 2 (Liu 2019).
Different to some accounting bodies that directly agree or disagree that cryptocurrencies are not cash, as concluded by the IFRSIC, some accounting bodies are focused on future trends.
Deloitte agrees that although the conclusion that cryptocurrencies are not cash is accepted now, this will not be the case in the future. While existent accounting standards, such as IAS 38, have been used to assess whether cryptocurrencies act as cash now, this conclusion will be reassessed if the accounting standards catch up with the development of cryptocurrencies in the future. Accordingly, in the future, it will be essential to develop a more robust definition for the accounting standards of cash (Poole 2019).
The Fintech company Brane stated that it is necessary to review and develop the definition of cash in the IFRS standards. There are five ways to assess whether an asset is as a financial asset according to IAS 32. Only Paragraph AG3 of IAS 32 defines the function of cash as being a medium of exchange. This is an incomplete definition for cash, because it does not sufficiently explain the widespread function of an exchange medium when assessing whether a given asset can be considered cash (Rowland 2019).

4. Are Cryptocurrencies a Financial Instrument, as Defined in IAS 32?

The IFRSIC (2019a) noted that cryptocurrencies are not monetary items and do not give the holder legal rights as monetary items usually do. Generally, a monetary item can give a holder a contractual right to get a fixed number of units of currency. Based on the tentative agenda decision on holdings of cryptocurrencies of the IFRSIC (2019a), a cryptocurrency is not a financial equity instrument because it cannot give the holder a legal contractual right to receive a fixed interest.
Some accounting bodies accept the conclusion of the IFRSIC (2019a) that a cryptocurrency is not a monetary item.
Rowland (2019) noted that a smart contract is embedded on the blockchain network for cryptocurrencies. When assessing whether a cryptocurrency is a financial asset, it is very important to consider whether the contractual rights and obligations utilize a consensus protocol coordinated between the holder and the blockchain network of cryptocurrencies.
A financial instrument is defined in IAS 32 as a contract that can give a holder the right to receive a fixed benefit. Silvia (2019) stated that a cryptocurrency is not a financial instrument because the holders of cryptocurrencies generally do not have any legal contractual right to receive cash or another financial asset as occurs with a traditional financial instrument.
Some accounting bodies do not accept the conclusion of the IFRSIC (2019a) that a cryptocurrency is not a financial instrument, as defined in IAS 32, based on the issuance of cryptocurrencies, because cryptocurrencies do involve a contract between the holder and the blockchain network.
Actually, it is not true that the holder of a cryptocurrency does not have any contract. The truth is that the holder of a cryptocurrency has an electronic contract with the blockchain system through a distributed ledger. The difference between a cryptocurrency and a traditional financial instrument, as defined in IAS 32, is that the contract of the cryptocurrency holder does not contain a legal contractual right to receive a fixed unit of money. This means that the electronic contract does not have any guarantee from the jurisdictional authority.
The Fintech company Brane noted that it is necessary for the IFRSIC to consider the technical attributes of the proof-of-stake consensus protocol (PoS) in the blockchain network when assessing whether a cryptocurrency can or cannot be considered a financial asset (Rowland 2019). It is not correct for the IFRSIC to state that the holder of a cryptocurrency does not have any contractual right to receive a number of units of money (Rowland 2019). For example, the Bitcoin blockchain network is addressed in a proof-of-work (POW) consensus protocol. Similarly, the Ethereum blockchain network is addressed in a proof-of-stake (POS) consensus protocol. Under both the POW and POS consensus protocol networks, all participants in the blockchain networks are required to agree with these consensus protocols and the related rules when they intend to hold Bitcoin and Ethereum and conduct business on the networks. If an entity decides to participate in the Bitcoin or Ethereum blockchain networks, they accept the network consensus protocols and receive financial reward from holdings of Bitcoin and Ethereum. If an entity enters into the networks, the POW and POS consensus protocols become obligations that the entity has to obey. The POW and POS consensus protocols and their related rules are usually embedded in a smart contract. As soon as the entity accesses the typical networks, the smart contract between the entity and the network is automatically signed. Consequently, every participant’s activities, responsibilities, and obligations on the network are regulated by the smart contract. Similar to the cryptocurrencies of Bitcoin and Ethereum, the consensus protocols of POW and POS are applied by more than 80% of all cryptocurrencies (Rowland 2019). It is significant that the smart contracts can be accepted as general contracts, as defined in IAS 32 for financial instruments.
Some accounting bodies suggested that different methods should be used to assess whether a cryptocurrency can be seen as an intangible asset, cash, inventory, or financial instrument in different situations.
The Chamber of Digital Commerce stated that it is more appropriate to use different accounting standards to assess the characteristics of cryptocurrencies based on the purpose of their holding. When the intent is to resell the cryptocurrency, it is appropriate to apply the inventory accounting standard, IAS 2; however, when the intent is to use a cryptocurrency as a financial instrument, then it is appropriate to apply both IAS 32 and IAS 39 (Boring 2019).

5. How to Disclose Holdings of Cryptocurrencies in Accounting?

The IFRSIC (2019a) concluded that an entity may apply the disclosure requirements of the IFRS standards to determine the amount to be recorded in accounting financial statements in three ways. If an entity holds cryptocurrencies for sale in the ordinary course of business, it is appropriate to apply paragraph 36–39 of the IAS 2 Inventory to determine the amount to be displayed in the financial statement. Otherwise, it is appropriate to apply paragraph 118–128 of IAS 38 intangible assets to determine the amount to be displayed in the financial statement. In both cases, because the cost-based method can only measure the historical value of holdings of cryptocurrencies but cannot provide any relevant information for making investment decisions, it is essential to apply paragraphs 91–99 of IFRS 13 Fair Value Measurement to disclose the value of holdings of cryptocurrencies.
The IFRSIC (2019a) noted that when an entity applies paragraph 122 of IAS 1 Presentation of Financial Statements to holdings of cryptocurrencies in accounting, it is necessary to disclose judgements that significantly affect the amounts confirmed in the financial statements.
The IFRSIC (2019a) also noted that if an entity is applying paragraph 21 of IAS 10 Events to holdings of cryptocurrencies in accounting after the reporting period, it is necessary to disclose any relevant non-adjusting events, including information related to the nature of the event and value of the financial effects. For example, if an entity holds cryptocurrencies and intends to sell them for liquidity, because the disclosed events in the financial statement may influence the decisions of investors, based on the IFRS 13 Fair Value Measurement requirement, it is necessary to disclose significant changes to the fair value that have occurred after the reporting period.
Many accounting bodies agree that the fair value is a good way to measure value when an entity holds cryptocurrencies.
Because a cryptocurrency is usually used as a payment tool or stored for sale, the fair value is the best way to reflect the economic value of holdings of cryptocurrencies (Cervantes 2019).
The Accounting Standards Board of Japan (ASBJ) stated that the best way of revaluating the holdings of cryptocurrencies is to use their fair value through profit or loss (FVTPL), because the FVTPL provides the most relevant information to investors in financial statements (Kogasaka 2019).
Grant Thornton International Ltd. noted that if an entity is not a broker-trader and its holdings of cryptocurrencies are not for sale in the short-run, because the accounting standard defined by the IFRSIC cannot sufficiently reveal the performance of its businesses, FVTPL is the best choice to provide relevant information for investors (Haygarth 2019).
The Mexican Financial Reporting Standards Board (CINIF) stated that the historical cost and net realizable value may not reflect the actual value of holdings of cryptocurrencies, because only the FVTPL can reflect the market value of holdings of cryptocurrencies (Cervantes 2019).
When Tesla (2021) revaluated its aggregate of USD 1.50 billion Bitcoin purchased in 2021, the sales revenue from contracts with customers was recorded based on the fair value according to current quoted market prices.
The Canadian Securities Administrators Chief Accountants Committee (CSACAC) conducted a survey of 41 Canadian entities with cryptocurrency holdings and/or undergoing related activities and summarized that although there are different accounting practices that can be applied to holdings of cryptocurrencies, most respondents (76%) stated that they prefer to disclose the values of cryptocurrencies in financial statements using fair value through profit and loss (Hait et al. 2019).
In most cases, if an entity holding cryptocurrencies is considered to be a commodity broker-trader, as defined in IAS 2, the alternative accounting standard that can be used is paragraph 11 of IAS 8, which may provide a framework for assessing the concepts of assets, liabilities, income, and expenses (Hait et al. 2019).
Similarly, the Digital Assets Accounting Consortium (DAAC) conducted an industry survey from February to April 2019 and found that 75% of respondents holding cryptocurrencies treated changes in events related to cryptocurrencies at fair value when revaluing their earnings or liquidity from holdings of cryptocurrencies (Boring 2019).

6. What Proposals Were Put Forward by Accounting Bodies?

Some accounting bodies suggested that it is essential to change the definition of cryptocurrency from that proposed by the IFRSIC (2019a).
As a Fintech company, Brane stated that the birth of cryptocurrencies was a shock to the traditional financial market. Clearly, cryptocurrencies emerged much later than the formation of IAS 38, and while the blockchain distributed ledger technology and encryption algorithms are rapidly evolving in the accounting area, the IAS 38 only provides a very limited solution to the estimation of the fair value of cryptocurrency holdings. When IAS 38 is applied to holdings of cryptocurrencies, considering the nature of cryptocurrencies, IAS 38 cannot provide a perfect solution and therefore does not appropriately represent the nature of the crypto assets when attempting to accounted for them in financial statements (Rowland 2019).
The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Industry Accounting Working Group (IAWG) questioned the definition presented by the IFRSIC. Although cryptocurrencies are considered by the IFRSIC as not being issued by a jurisdictional authority, the IAWG confirmed that this is not true. Although cryptocurrencies are not issued by a jurisdictional authority at the moment, they can be transferred to a fiat currency and used as a medium of payment clearing. It is easy to solve this problem if a contract between the holder of cryptocurrencies and the clearing parties is created through the blockchain network. For this reason, the IAWG suggested that the definition of cryptocurrency should be changed (Nevo and Cahalan 2019).
Some accounting bodies suggested that it is essential to revise the current IFRS standards.
The IFRS Technical Committee of Chile (TCC) suggested that although holdings of cryptocurrencies are intangible assets, as defined in IAS 38, because this is an implicit assumption but not an explicit assumption, there is a requirement for the accounting standard of IAS 38 to be updated when explicitly defining holdings of cryptocurrencies as intangible assets (Torres 2019).
The Securities and Exchange Commission of Brazil (CVM) stated that an IFRS standard revision of cryptocurrencies is essential. As a new category of asset, when the majority of IFRS standards were created, no cryptocurrencies had been created. Cryptocurrencies are directly constrained by the scope of the current IFRS standards and explained by a tentative agenda decision by IFRSIC (2019a). If the standards of the IFRS are not revised and updated, some new characteristics of cryptocurrencies will probably be far beyond the scope of the current IFRS standards, meaning that the current IFRS standards will probably not be able to correctly reflect new financial trends related to cryptocurrencies (Ferreira and Silva 2019).
The Accounting Standards Committee of Germany (ASCG) noted that the outcome of the tentative agenda decision of the IFRSIC (2019a) on holdings of cryptocurrencies has led to inappropriate results under all facts and circumstances. Some cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are accepted as mediums of exchange, which implies that these cryptocurrencies have the basic function of cash. Some cryptocurrencies, such as utility tokens, have limited use within a very specific scope of service, which means that these cryptocurrencies may or may not have the basic function of cash. Some cryptocurrencies may not have any functions of cash at all, which means that these cryptocurrencies do not have any cash functions. To record the holdings of all categorized cryptocurrencies in financial statements appropriately, it is essential to revise and update the standards of the IFRS, including IAS 2 and IAS 38. It is necessary to consider all possible scenarios, as the standard make more sense in some scenarios than in others (Barckow 2019).
Some accounting bodies suggested that it is essential to add new projects to the current IFRS standards.
Rowland (2019) suggested that the IFRSIC should create a new project and add some new paragraphs to the current IFRS standards for holdings of cryptocurrency, because the application of IAS 38 already lags the application of blockchain technology. Applying IAS 38 based on the tentative agenda decisions of the IFRSIC will only be a temporary measure before IFRS standards can catch up to the application of today’s technologies. If the IFRS fails to provide more appropriate guidance to the holdings of cryptocurrencies and if no new IFRS standard is added to fit cryptocurrencies, the IFRS will not be considered just or fair for the profession. Consequently, the presentation of cryptocurrencies in financial statements will fall further behind and suffer from a lack of appropriateness in the IFRS standards.
The Mexican Financial Reporting Standards Board (CINIF) suggested that it is necessary to issue a new standard for cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies are a new kind of asset. They are completely different to the traditional assets explained in the existing accounting standards of the IFRS, including IAS 2 and IAS 38. When the accounting standards of the IFRS were issued, cryptocurrencies had not been created. As cryptocurrencies were created a long time later, the existing accounting standards of the IFRS do not reflect the fair value of cryptocurrencies presented in financial statements. Accordingly, it is necessary to develop the standards of the IFRS and issue new specific paragraphs within the IFRS for cryptocurrencies (Cervantes 2019).

References

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