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US accounting standard-setters approve crypto rules, paving the way for corporate adoption

Companies with extensive holdings of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum will soon be subject to new accounting requirements, approved unanimously by standard-setters in the United States. This judgment, which is expected to be released before the end of the year, could pave the way for major internet companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google to record Bitcoin and other alternative cryptocurrencies in their financial statements as early as 2024.

Significantly, the new rules mandate companies to report their cryptocurrency holdings at “fair value.” This is a departure from the current practice, which has faced criticism for its rigidity. Hence, companies will now have the flexibility to reflect the most current value of their crypto assets, even factoring in value rebounds after potential price drops.

Christine Botosan, a member of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), expressed enthusiasm for the move. She stated that the new standards would reduce costs and improve decision-making, making it an easy vote for the board. Additionally, these rules will become effective from 2025, although companies can opt for early adoption.

Moreover, Jeff Rundlet, head of the accounting strategy at Cryptio, praised the decision as a substantial step towards mainstream crypto adoption. He believes this could encourage large corporations to hold cryptocurrencies, particularly those hesitant due to technical complexities.

However, there are some limitations. The new rules will not cover non-fungible tokens (NFTs), stablecoins, or wrapped tokens. Companies must also make distinct entries for crypto assets in their balance sheets, including associated restrictions in footnotes and providing annual disclosures of changes.

Before this monumental decision, companies primarily relied on the American Institute of CPAs practice guide. This guide treated Bitcoin like intangible assets such as copyrights, which proved less adaptable to market fluctuations.

Consequently, the FASB’s new rules are a significant development, especially considering their initial reluctance to adapt. Their change in stance can be attributed to growing corporate interest in cryptocurrencies. Additionally, they’ve hinted at further monitoring of the crypto markets, suggesting more rules may be forthcoming.

The response from industry insiders has been overwhelmingly positive. Swan Bitcoin and MicroStrategy’s CEO, Michael Saylor, emphasized the transformative potential of these new rules for corporate adoption of Bitcoin as a treasury asset.

With the mainstream integration of Bitcoin into corporate balance sheets now a distinct possibility, tech behemoths like Apple, Amazon, and Google are likely next in line to announce their Bitcoin strategies. Therefore, 2024 might be a landmark year for corporate Bitcoin adoption, marking a “right first step” toward a more crypto-friendly business landscape.


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