EFRAG Research project on Crypto-Assets
- Research phase
- Isabel Batista, Vincent Papa
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 research project consists of a problem definition and, where needed, the development of proposals for developing or clarifying IFRS requirements.
The problem definition primarily outlines existing accounting approaches and identifies issues related to accounting and valuation for crypto-assets (liabilities). It also reviews factors that can justify the need for the development or clarification of IFRS requirements such as:
- prevalence/ significance of crypto-related activities;
- potential market developments;
- economic characteristics, rights and obligations of crypto-assets (liabilities);
- regulatory requirements.
Scope of the project
The focus of the EFRAG research project is on crypto-assets (liabilities) which are the first but not the only use case of the blockchain technology. Considering the crypto-related ecosystem, the following related activities are within the scope of the research project:
- Holder activities including intermediated activities
- Issuance via Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and other offerings (Security Token Offerings-STOs and Initial Exchange Offerings-IEOs)
- Custodial and storage services
- Crypto-assets (liabilities) valuation
- Mining activities to the extent that these have a bearing on holder activities
Different types of crypto-assets are also within the scope of the EFRAG research project including:
- Payment tokens including cryptocurrencies with claim on the issuer
- Utility tokens
- Security and asset tokens
- Hybrid tokens
- Stable coins
Developments so far
A draft Discussion Paper (DP) “Accounting for crypto-assets (liabilities): holder and issuer perspective” has been developed. The DP sets out the following possible options for developing IFRS requirements:
- Option 1: No amendment to current IFRS Standards – this option entails no change in applicable IFRS Standards. In effect, preparers will continue to apply existing IFRS including having to develop their own accounting policy (IAS 8 Accounting Policies, Changes in Accounting Estimates and Errors).
- Option 2: Amend and/or clarify IFRS Standards – this option proposes that several amendments or clarification guidance to current IFRS Standards (such as IAS 38, IAS 2, IAS 32, IAS 7, IAS 37, IFRS 9, IFRS 13 and IFRS 15) might be needed for the accounting by holders and issuers of crypto-assets (liabilities).
- Option 3: A new IFRS Standard to address crypto-assets (liabilities) with a possibility to also cover digital assets (liabilities) – this option would require developing a new standalone IFRS Standard for crypto-assets (liabilities) on the premise that they are unique assets and liabilities.
EFRAG TEG (including one EFRAG-TEG CFSS meeting in 2019) has discussed the topic and the DP during seven of its meetings in 2019 and 2020 (February, May, September, December 2019; January, and March (twice) 2020). The EFRAG research has also collected input from the EFRAG FIWG (January 2020), EFRAG Academic Panel (May 2019), and EFRAG User Panel (December 2018).
In March 2020, EFRAG TEG recommended the DP for approval by the EFRAG Board. The DP awaits the EFRAG Board approval at a future meeting and is expected to be issued in late Q2 or early Q3 of 2020.
Publications open for comments
20/07/2020 - EFRAG's Discussion Paper on the accounting for crypto-assets (liabilities) - holder and issuer perspectiveEFRAG has published a Discussion Paper to gather constituents' views on the accounting for crypto-assets (liabilities) from a holder and issuer perspective. Comments are welcome throughout a 12-month period from the date of issuance until 31 July 2021. Comments provided earlier during the consultation period will be welcome. The consultation period caters for constituents’ impacted priorities and any constraints faced due to the current pandemic. It also allows EFRAG sufficient time to obtain as much feedback as possible.
04/09/2019 - Call for input from crypto-assets experts'
EFRAG is seeking input from crypto-assets experts' on its research project with the objective of identifying and proposing solutions for accounting challenges that are not addressed within existing IFRS Standards.