Crypto assets are a diverse group of digital assets with different origins and uses that have become a widely accepted part of the global financial system. As the use of crypto assets has grown, IRS guidance related to their tax classification has not changed. Although the complexity of crypto assets increases the difficulty of regulation and taxation, the SEC and CFTC have asserted their authority and obtained rulings that challenge the current IRS guidance. In this paper, we examine the complexities of, and regulatory environment for, crypto assets to provide guidance on their tax classification. Then, we discuss possible tax classifications for crypto assets and the implications of those classifications. Our analysis of the complexity of crypto assets and their regulatory environment suggests that one tax classification for crypto assets is not sufficient. Allowing for different tax classifications provides more equitable tax treatment for users of crypto assets.

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