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EFRAG Research project on Crypto-Assets


Objective of the EFRAG research project

Following the EFRAG 2018 Research Agenda consultation, in August 2018 the EFRAG Board approved to add to EFRAG's workplan a research project on crypto-assets.

The project is being conducted in two phases -the initial phase will focus on examining the use, underlying economics, applicable regulation, prevalence and trends of crypto-assets and related activities. This phase will examine whether there are resulting accounting challenges that are not addressed within IFRS Standards.  The second phase to be conducted from 2020 onwards, will focus on developing accounting solutions where appropriate.

 Scope of the project

Considering the crypto-asset ecosystem, the following related activities are within the scope of the research project:

  • Mining services
  • Custodial and storage services
  • Holding/investing activities & payment services
  • Issuance via initial Initial Coin Offerings (ICO's) and similar offerings

Related to these activities, different types of crypto-assets are also within the scope of the project:

  • Coins/Payment tokens ("digital currency")
  • Utility tokens ("digital rights")
  • Asset tokens ('digital shares")

Developments so far

The EFRAG User Panel discussed the recommended direction and scope of the research project at its meeting in December 2018.  This was further discussed with EFRAG TEG in February 2019. EFRAG TEG agreed that the project should be conducted in two phases - the first seeking to define the problem and identify areas where further research might be needed. At its meeting in May 2019, EFRAG TEG discussed the outcome of research undertaken by the project team on global trends and prevalence of ICO's as well as crypto-assets custodial and storage services.

The EFRAG project team plan to undertake outreach with stakeholders, including National Standard Setters, to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the underlying rights, including customer protection, associated with acquiring and holding crypto-assets through trading platforms or other sources; as well as the  obligations of the parties that issue and hold crypto-assets on behalf of customers.

EFRAG expects to publish a discussion paper on phase one of the project towards the end of 2019.

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