Universelle Kryptowährungen und Blockchain-Technologie aus der schweizerischen Rechnungslegungs-, Steuer- und Revisionsperspektive

Item Type Thesis (Doctoral)
Abstract Since the creation of Bitcoin in 2009, cryptocurrencies have gained a huge momentum and proven not to be a one-time phenomenon. Switzerland has become one of the leading locations for the blockchain industry and is residence of numerous companies that use, trade and hold cryptocurrencies. This usage has to be accounted for in the companies financial statements, which also serve as the basis for taxation and are subject to auditing. Yet, as a recent phenomenon, there has been a lack of guidance in law, standards and regulation on the topic of how to treat cryptocurrencies appropriately from an accounting, taxation and auditing perspective. This thesis aims to provide a profound analysis of the topic in order to broaden the theoretical knowledge base and serve as a practical guideline. The focus is placed on Bitcoin and tokens that possess analogical features, defined as universal cryptocurrencies (UCC), which have no intrinsical value, are not controlled by a central entity or subject to usage restrictions. The first part of the thesis examines the theoretical and technical concept and implementation of Bitcoin, including its origin, features, risks, potential and current status, followed by a comparison to other tokens and the definition of UCC. The second part studies the handling of UCC by Swiss companies via explorative comparative case studies. The considered users treated UCC either as foreign currencies valued at fair value or as securities valued at cost. Users reported new challenges for record keeping and the internal control system (ICS), particularly regarding a secure private key lifecycle and transaction authorisation. In the third part a normative analysis is conducted on how to account for UCC under Swiss Code of Obligations (CO), Swiss GAAP FER and IFRS, in order to fulfil the standards respective objective and examine contingent hidden accounting gaps. Due to the missing status as a legal tender, limited use as a means of payment and the persisting high volatility, UCC do not constitute currencies from an accounting perspective, even though UCC fulfil the economic criteria of money. UCC rather correspond to the broad Swiss understanding of securities, but do not meet the IFRS definition of a financial instrument in absence of a counterparty. Instead, they can be accounted for as immaterial assets resp. inventory. The flexibility of the CO offers the most adequate accounting for UCC for CO purposes, whereas fair value measurement is not feasible in certain cases under Swiss GAAP FER and IFRS. However, the presentation is not impaired to a degree that would necessitate a true and fair view overwrite. Payment, trading and brokerage involving UCC are exempt from value added tax since UCC exclusively represent a medium of exchange instead of a supply. From an auditing perspective the usage of UCC involves inherent risks mainly related to the assertions of existence, completeness and valuation. While specific substantive audit procedures address these risks to a certain extent, the expression of an audit option can be significantly influenced by the implementation and effectiveness of internal controls.
Authors Petry, Heiko Matthias
Referent Leibfried, Peter (Prof. Dr.) (Referent) & Leimeister, Jan Marco (Prof. Dr.) (Koreferent)
Language German
Keywords Kryptowährungen; Bitcoin; Blockchain; Buchführung; Rechnungslegung; Obligationenrecht; International Financial Reporting Standards; Steuerrecht; Wirtschaftsprüfung; Revision; EDIS-5135; Schweiz; Swiss GAAP FER; Distributed Ledger Technology
Subjects information management
HSG Classification not classified
HSG Profile Area None
Date 20 September 2021
Publisher Universität St. Gallen
Place of Publication St.Gallen
Official URL https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:ch:bel-2263059
Depositing User Ruedi Lindegger
Date Deposited 21 Sep 2021 08:51
Last Modified 05 Dec 2022 13:30
URI: https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/publications/264347


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Petry, Heiko Matthias: Universelle Kryptowährungen und Blockchain-Technologie aus der schweizerischen Rechnungslegungs-, Steuer- und Revisionsperspektive. Thesis, 2021.


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