Accounting for virtual currencies


The main benefits of the blockchain are the reliability (secured through an IT network), the transparency (Information available to any participant) as well as the competitiveness (lowest transaction cost). The unit of measure of the blockchain is generally called the token.

Based on the Swiss Federal Council dated 2014, the cryptocurrency is neither a good nor a service but a means of payment.

Token category

As per the guide of practice edited on February 2018 by the Swiss Financial Market Authority (FINMA) classify 3 following sorts:

a) Payment token (Coin / crypto-currency): used for the purchase of goods and services. They are considered as payment/exchange method.

b) Utility token: give an access right to a service (ticketing).

c) Security token: represent an asset and incorporate a profit benefit (income; interest; dividend). It must be considered as a security in this respect.

The issuing and trading of class a) and c) should be subject to authorization from the FINMA. The mixt structures of token bear the same treatment as the most regulated class.

Incorporation of company

The Federal register of commerce duly approves the capital contribution with crypto-currency.

However, the bank practice is not currently adequate to the above approved process. Only few banks accept to discuss the opportunity, the conditions being very restrictive.

Asset on the balance sheet

To be validly recorded on the balance sheet, an asset must bring future cash in-flow and being estimated with reliability.

The Swiss Council of tax administration recommends treating the crypto-currencies as liquidity.

The Code of Obligation rules allow classifying the cryptocurrencies.

In the perspective of the issuer of the Initial Coin Offering (ICO), it makes sense to classify it under inventory.

Should the purpose being a long-term investment, the code of obligation, Swiss GAAP RPC and IFRS recommends classifying the token as non-current financial asset. A classification as intangible fixed assets is also acceptable.


Whomever the class of account chosen, it is compulsory to revalue the token at each balance sheet date. The caution principle applies (unrealized loss to be recognized).

The tax administration calculates and published the average value of the major crypto-currencies, based on various websites of trading information.






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