A toss of a (bit)coin: The uncertain nature of the legal status of cryptocurrencies Event as iCalendar

(Commercial Law)

08 February 2019

11am - 12pm

Venue: The University of Auckland Business School, Level 0, Room 040B, 12 Grafton Road, Auckland, 1010

Defining the legal nature of cryptocurrencies and in turn ascertaining what gives them value is important for many reasons. At its most fundamental level the answer to these matters will determine the regulatory framework within which trading in cryptocurrencies may or may not occur. At one extreme the government may simply prohibit trading in cryptocurrencies, even making such transactions illegal, as in China and Vietnam. At the other end of the spectrum trading may not only be legal, but be facilitated by government concessions. The most important of these concessions is recognising cryptocurrencies as “currency”. To this end it is crucial from the outset to understand that that the term “cryptocurrency” is in itself a misnomer. If it is to obtain the status of “currency”, whether that be foreign currency or equivalent to local currency, will be determined by the government of the relevant jurisdictions. As in the case of Vietnam, New Zealand and Australia’s CGT, it may be determined that transactions involving cryptocurrencies merely involve the sale of property, akin to the sale of shares, futures, or in some cases the parallel that is drawn is gold bullion or oil.  Alternatively, as in the case of Japan and Australia’s GST, it may be treated as “currency” that has the same status as foreign currency or, in extreme cases, equivalent with currency issued by the local sovereign state. As to which way a government might turn is anyone’s guess: A toss of a (bit)coin!

Julie Cassidy is a Professor of Law at the University of Auckland Department of Commercial Law. Julie is a leading legal scholar in the fields of taxation, company law and Indigenous rights. Through her considerable research record, including doctorate, publications and conference and seminar presentations, Julie has an established international reputation in law. 

Julie has been teaching law since 1987 and her innovative teaching has been recognised in a number of significant teaching awards including a 2010 Australian Learning & Teaching Council Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning. 

Alvin Cheng is the assistant professor at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China. Before joining the University of Nottingham Ningbo China, Alvin has worked for about 10 years at the University of Waikato and 3 years at the Unitec Institute of Technology in New Zealand. He is a Chartered Accountant and holds a doctorate degree in Accounting with working experience in a Chartered Accountancy firm.

Alvin’s research interests are in capital gains taxation, international accounting, internet financial reporting, international taxation and accounting education. His publications include journal articles in the Asian Review of Accounting, New Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy and the Social and Management Research Journal. His other tax research focus is on investigating the compliance cost and double taxation agreement that affect going abroad Chinese companies that invest in the One Belt One Road (BRI) Countries.

For more information contact:
Julie Cassidy
Ext. 83918
Email: julie.cassidy@auckland.ac.nz