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GST and digital currency

How to determine if a crypto asset is digital currency for GST purposes.

Last updated 4 July 2023

What is digital currency

Generally, digital currency is a type of crypto asset that uses cryptography and distributed ledger technology to secure and record transactions.

For GST purposes, digital currency is a digital unit of value that:

  • is fully interchangeable with the same digital currency
  • can be provided as payment
  • is available to the public free of any substantial restrictions
  • is either
    • not denominated in any country's currency
    • denominated in a currency that is not issued by, or under the authority of, an Australian or foreign government
  • does not have a value that is derived from or is dependent on anything else
  • does not give an entitlement to receive something else unless it is incidental to holding it or using it as payment
  • if supplied, would not be an input-taxed financial supply for a reason other than being a supply of a digital currency or money.

Some examples of digital currencies include Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.

Things that are not digital currency include:

  • loyalty points that can only be redeemed for goods and services under the loyalty scheme
  • in-game tokens that cannot be used outside the game.

You may trade digital currency or use digital currency as payment in your GST-registered enterprise.

For common terms, see our Crypto assets glossary.

Crypto assets that are not digital currency

There are many types of crypto assets that are not digital currency. How you treat crypto assets for GST purposes will depend on their characteristics.

Non-fungible tokens

A non-fungible token (NFT) is not a digital currency because it is unique and can't be interchanged with another NFT. The supply of a NFT is taxable unless it is GST-free.


A stablecoin that is pegged to the value of some other asset (such as a commodity or fiat currency) is not a digital currency. The supply of a stablecoin is an input-taxed financial supply unless it is GST-free.

Initial coin offering

An initial coin offering is not digital currency if it:

  • is a security, including a share or managed investment scheme
  • is a derivative, or
  • gives a right or entitlement to goods and services.

If an initial coin offering is a security or derivative, your supply will be an input-taxed financial supply unless it is GST-free.

If it gives a right or entitlement to goods and services, your supply of the initial coin offering will be taxable unless the entitlement is incidental or the supply is GST-free.