Crypto Exchanges& Regulation in New Zealand

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence the products we write about, however, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.
5 min read
Top exchanges in New Zealand by Coincub criteria
Article review author
Jonathan Lea
New Zealand head image

Crypto Country Rating: 5.8/10

6/10
Institutional acceptance
Crypto accepted and trading is tax allowable
6/10
Exchanges & Wallets availability
All leading names but low number of home-based options
6/10
Government regulation
Light regulation but no real strategy
5/10
Defi acceptance
No likelihood of DeFi acceptance
6/10
Financial services
Interest in crypto services blockchain technology
6/10
Transparency
Personal data collection, government tracking
6/10
Spending crypto
Crypto mostly viewed for investment rather than spending
5/10
Banks activity in crypto
No real strategy from banks to facilitate crypto economy as yet

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading in New Zealand

New Zealand is not a hub of crypto dynamism and any trading seems to be more about investing than spending or using to transact purchases. Regulation is light – apart from taxes – and there no real ambition to create a crypto hub in evidence.

Law and crypto trading in New Zealand

Legal - existing crypto legislation

Crypto trading in New Zealand relies on guidance provided by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) which, broadly speaking, views the activity in the same way as it views traditional financial services. For example, cryptocurrency exchanges are subject to New Zealand’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act. Overall regulation is light but with the usual requirements for identification and records for taxation.

If you want to trade bitcoin, there are a number of well-established crypto exchanges to choose from that make it easy and straightforward to buy, sell and invest in bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies.

Legal - forthcoming crypto legislation

Bitcoin is taking off worldwide and investing or trading in cryptocurrencies is legal in New Zealand. However the activity is not heavily regulated and legislation related to cryptocurrencies is always evolving.

Taxing cryptocurrencies in New Zealand

Income Tax

As with the UK and many other countries, there are no taxes on buying or holding cryptocurrencies in New Zealand. NZ treats digital assets such as bitcoin as a form of property, rather than currency, for tax purposes.

More encouragingly, if you plan to trade, New Zealand does not have a broad capital gains regime, which means that, generally, cryptoassets will be taxable only when you buy, trade or sell them for the purpose of gain. In this case any gain or loss you make needs to be recorded and declared. If you decide to trade more advanced crypto products, often the realm of the experienced investor, the tax you need to consider depends on the specific type of crypto product you are buying, so you may need specialist advice.

Tax relief

You’ll have some form of tax allowable expenses should you go in for mining bitcoin. On the question of losses through theft or negligence, there is a chance that you will be able to claim a loss if your crypto assets are stolen but only if they were eligible for tax when they were stolen. You’ll also need to show that they really have been stolen – not just mislaid or lost – and that they were trading stock. In these cases you can claim the loss in the year they were stolen – but as always keep records and details. Any reputable exchange should be able to help with these.

Tax when moving residency

As with any income, your bitcoin will come under the tax laws of the country you become legally resident. If you set up a business to trade bitcoin, that business will come under the tax laws of the country it operates from.

Tax on mining

Mining is highly technical and beyond the scope of most individuals, but it falls within standard New Zealand income tax laws.  Cryptocurrency mining is considered to be an activity aimed at making a profit and tax is payable on gains you make from it. The expenses are huge in time and energy, so these are allowable against gains.

Crypto financial services in New Zealand

Fin services - retirement planning

Digital assets can be used as part of your retirement fund in New Zealand and there are financial fund management bodies that are able to advise and help with your investment. The message from the establishment is just don’t get carried away.

Fin services - banking

Banks as yet do not offer custody services to facilitate the buying and selling of crypto – such services are growing amongst other countries, but are by no means widespread. There is increasing interest in crypto investing from consumers which may lead to banks offering such services in the future.

Fin Services - DeFi

Cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in New Zealand, but cryptocurrency exchanges, brokers, wallet providers, and businesses offering ICOs and investment opportunities are regulated in New Zealand because they are treated as financial services by New Zealand’s Financial Markets Authority (FMA). Whilst there is interest from institutions in blockchain technology the adoption of DeFi is a long way off.

Using crypto in New Zealand

Article step image 1
Spend

In addition to the locally available worldwide brands that accept crypto, such as Microsoft, Starbucks, etc., New Zealand has a growing and diverse number of services you can spend your bitcoin on. In most cases, it is possible to buy vouchers with your currency that may then be indirectly used with participating outlets.

Article step image 1
Gifting crypto

Unfortunately, you can’t avoid being eligible for tax on your crypto by gifting it to someone, but you can make tax-efficient gifts to a recognized charity. Making it a gift is considered a disposal, at market value, for tax purposes and you’ll have to record the exit of your cryptocurrency at market value on the date it was gifted.

Crypto regulation in New Zealand

Security

Most reputable exchanges can help with these records. In the event of loss through breach of security, you may wish to check if your exchange has any insurance or protection against such circumstances.

Transparency

Crypto is lightly regulated, apart from the legislation against money-laundering and the financing of terrorism, but identification is a prerequisite, along with the need to make formal tax declarations of your gains and trading details. Even if your exchange does not provide records, it is up to you to make sure you have a detailed transaction record of all your dealings.

Helpful?
FAQ

New to crypto? Here’s our guide!

FAQ Image #1 01 Why Bitcoin? It seems like the buzz around Bitcoin just keeps growing. Bitcoin is a constantly evolving technology with a passionate community. What is it about the digital asset that makes it such a controversial topic and attractive investment?
FAQ Image #2 02 How to Get Started with Bitcoin It can be difficult to get past the technical jargon surrounding bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies in order to figure out how you can buy and store them. Beginners can purchase Bitcoin, for example, on many exchanges using fiat currency like U.S. Dollar, Euro or British Pound.
FAQ Image #3 03 Blockchains 101 Blockchains are a type of database where data is stored in blocks that are chained together. As new data comes in, it is entered into a block, which is then chained to the previous block. The Bitcoin blockchain serves as a ledger that records every Bitcoin transaction in history.
FAQ Image #4 04 Bitcoin in the Real World Ok - you’ve found an exchange, bought your Bitcoin, and stored it safely. What’s next? By now you can buy just about anything with Bitcoin if you try hard enough, from Amazon gift cards to an old master painting. You can also convert your BTC to fiat with ATMs, an exchange, and more.