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Loss or theft of crypto assets

Evidence you'll need in order to claim a capital loss if your crypto asset is lost or stolen.

Last updated 29 June 2023

Work out if crypto asset is lost or stolen

If your crypto asset is lost or stolen, you can claim a capital loss if you can provide evidence of ownership.

You need to work out whether:

  • the crypto asset is lost
  • you have lost evidence of your ownership
  • you have lost access to the crypto asset.

Generally, where you can recover an item it is not lost. For example, you can recover crypto assets by extracting data from a hard drive. However, you can't recover a lost private key.

If you can't replace the item, then you can claim a capital loss, which you can use to reduce any capital gains.

Lost private key

If you lose your private key, you lose access to your crypto assets. To claim a capital loss, you will need to be able to provide the following evidence to show your ownership:

  • the date you acquired the private key
  • the date you lost the private key
  • the digital wallet address for the private key
  • the cost to acquire the crypto assets in the digital wallet
  • the value of the crypto assets in the digital wallet at the time the private key was lost
  • that the digital wallet was in your control (for example, you can link transactions to your identity)
  • that the hardware that stores the digital wallet is in your possession
  • the transactions from a digital currency exchange where you have a verified account or is linked to your identity.

Administration of crypto exchanges and platforms

If a crypto asset exchange or platform goes into administration, this may result in a financial loss for you as a crypto asset investor.

If you experience financial loss resulting from administration, this may give rise to a capital loss. No capital loss will arise, and you will not be able to calculate the amount of any capital loss, before the administration is finalised.

You can use a capital loss to reduce a capital gain, but not to offset against other income.