Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – GOV. This publication is licensed under the bitcoin revenue of the Open Government Licence v3.

0 except where otherwise stated. Where we have identified any third party copyright information you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned. The advent of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin is a new and evolving area and determining their legal and regulatory status is ongoing. Cryptocurrencies have a unique identity and cannot therefore be directly compared to any other form of investment activity or payment mechanism. Bitcoin operates via a peer to peer network, independent of any central authority or bank.

All functions such as issue, transaction processing and verification are managed collectively by this network. New Bitcoin is produced when a new block is attached to the chain. A new block can only be added to the chain when the answer to a complex cryptographic algorithm is solved. As well as mining, activities include the buying and selling of Bitcoin and providing exchange facilities for parties to trade Bitcoin with recognised currencies.

Bitcoin may be held as an investment or used to pay for goods or services at merchants where it is accepted. In the UK, there are already a number of outlets, including pubs, restaurants and internet retailers, that accept payment by Bitcoin. As an EU tax, the VAT treatment for cryptocurrencies adopted by the UK must be consistent with any treatment that may eventually be implemented across the EU. Any changes will not apply retrospectively. However, in all instances, VAT will be due in the normal way from suppliers of any goods or services sold in exchange for Bitcoin or other similar cryptocurrency.

Whether any profit or gain is chargeable or any loss is allowable will be looked at on a case-by-case basis taking into account the specific facts. Each case will be considered on the basis of its own individual facts and circumstances. The relevant legislation and case law will be applied to determine the correct tax treatment. Therefore, depending on the facts, a transaction may be so highly speculative that it is not taxable or any losses relievable. For example gambling or betting wins are not taxable and gambling losses cannot be offset against other taxable profits. For businesses which accept payment for goods or services in Bitcoin there is no change to when revenue is recognised or how taxable profits are calculated.