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What constitutes a cryptocurrency according to HMRC?
What constitutes a cryptocurrency according to HMRC?

What is a cryptocurrency for tax purposes? What are the different types of cryptocurrency? What is the CATF?

Daniel Howitt avatar
Written by Daniel Howitt
Updated over a week ago

Disclaimer: This article is intended as an informative piece. This is not accounting or tax advice. Please speak to a qualified tax professional about your specific circumstances before acting upon any of the information in this article.

HMRC defines cryptoassets as “cryptographically secured digital representations of value or contractual rights” that have the potential to be transferred, stored and traded electronically.

They do not consider cryptoassets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum to be currency or money. The government’s Cryptoasset Taskforce (CATF) identifies three types of cryptoassets: exchange tokens, utility tokens and security tokens.

  • Exchange tokens – these are intended to be used as a method of payment and include cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Litecoin. They do not provide any rights or access to goods or services.

  • Utility tokens - these provide the holder with access to particular goods or services on a platform usually using Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).

  • Security tokens - these may provide the holder with particular interests in a business, including debt due by the business or a share of profits in the business.

HMRC currently treats all cryptoassets according to the “nature and use of the token and not the definition of the token”. All three types of cryptoassets are taxable in the UK.

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