The Central Bank of Brazil announced its decision to classify bought or sold cryptocurrencies as assets, in accordance with previous guidelines set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to the guidelines, traded cryptocurrencies are classified as non-financial products, and are therefore accounted as goods on balance sheets.
Central banks use balance sheets to summarize their financial positions, which basically accounts for assets, equity, and liabilities. As detailed in the announcement, the purchasing and selling of cryptocurrencies involve the execution of foreign exchange contracts, which is why the Central Bank of Brazil considers that said transactions should be added to their export and import statistics. Brazil is one of the biggest importers of crypto assets worldwide, which apparently has contributed to the lowering of the trade surplus on the balance sheet of the Central Bank.
The classification of cryptocurrencies as goods is a major deal for the community since it gives digital assets notoriety and recognition as property, which could eventually lead the way to use digital assets as a means of payment. This classification was specially recommended by The Balance of Payments Statistics Committee, an advisory committee to the IMF Statistics Department that focuses on external sector statistics methodology.
According to the IMF’s guidelines, the classification of crypto assets in the context of macroeconomic statistics should be classified into two categories: BLCAs and digital tokens. Additionally, the BLCAs should be classified as produced nonfinancial assets as a separate distinct sub-category under valuables; and Digital tokens should be classified depending on the token category:
(i) payment and utility tokens should be classified as nonfinancial assets/valuables except when there is an issuer that recognizes a liability for the future service to be provided;
(ii) asset tokens should be classified as debt or equity securities to the extent that they represent a debt or equity claim on the issuer; and
(iii) hybrid tokens can be classified as debt or equity securities if they share the characteristics of asset tokens.
The output of mining should be measured as the sum of the transaction fee and newly mined BLCAs, and the transaction fee should be classified as services.
While the above guidance for dealing with crypto assets is consistent with the current statistical standards, the development and use of crypto assets need to continue being closely monitored and these recommendations may need to be revisited if conditions substantially change in the future.