Cryptocurrency continues to currently be classified as an investment with regard to superannuation and SMSFs, meaning its use is limited from a strategic perspective, a technical expert has said.
“Cryptocurrency from a superannuation point of view is not currency – it is an investment. So we cannot make a contribution to super via cryptocurrency,” SuperGuardian education manager Tim Miller said.
However, Miller predicted this situation is likely to change some time in the future when the associated systems increase their use in conventional transactions.
“There has to be some point in time in the future where we all eventually accept blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies because some of us will actually start to understand it and so the capacity to contribute and the definition of cash will expand when governments recognise cryptocurrencies as a means of exchange rather than as an investment,” he noted.
According to Miller, the role cryptocurrency will eventually be allowed to play in the retirement savings arena, and how quickly any change to the framework will occur, is all dependent on the actions of the regulator.
“We’re going to be in this real regulatory oddity over the next few years I think because we have to wait for [our] regulators to catch up with the rest of the world and [the relevant] technologies,” he added.
“But right now, what I can tell you is you cannot contribute to super via cryptocurrency. You can invest in it, but you can’t contribute via it.”
The ATO is already being asked about the role cryptocurrency can play in employment agreements.
For example, it has confirmed individuals can receive cryptocurrency instead of Australian dollars as part of a valid salary sacrifice arrangement. The only condition the ATO has placed on these types of transactions is that the payment of cryptocurrency to an employee be treated as a fringe benefit, meaning the employer will be subject to the provisions of the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 in these situations.