Link copied to
Digital assets, including cryptocurrencies, are a promising new asset class. They’ve grown in trust and maturity since Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, was launched in 2009.
Cryptocurrency can be used as an investment, to trade, or purchase goods and services. One often under-represented use is in self-managed super funds (SMSFs). Cryptocurrencies can diversify SMSFs in ways retail super funds – who don’t support digital asset investment – cannot.
US-firm Grayscale Investments launched its Bitcoin Trust fund in 2013. Year-to-date, the fund’s return is 38 per cent. comparison, one of Australia’s best performing super funds returned 9.9 per cent at EOFY 2019.
What are the legalities? Who supports digital asset investment for SMSFs? This Australian focused guide to SMSF investment in cryptocurrencies answers these questions.
Regulation of digital assets and SMSFs in Australia
Digital assets are legal in Australia and are considered property. For instance, a NSW court accepted cryptocurrency as collateral for legal costs. The judge recognised the assets as a “form of investment”.
While SMSFs are not prohibited from investing in cryptocurrencies, the investment must:
- be allowed for under the fund’s trust deed; and,
- be in accordance with the fund’s investment strategy.
This means meeting investment strategy and risk as per 52B of the SISA and reg 4.09 of the SISR. Cryptocurrencies are also not considered listed securities. Therefore, they cannot be acquired from a related party.