Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency available today and it is only getting more popular. There are a myriad of other cryptocurrencies available but their popularity is quite lower than Bitcoin. The acceptance of cryptocurrency in the United States is a lot slower than it is in other countries but it is getting there. Other countries are just now figuring out how to handle the Bitcoin buildup that has swollen within their borders. For the purpose of this article I am focusing on Russia and Japan- two countries where cryptocurrency is becoming an ideal method of getting around the government currency. That usurping of power is a major concern for government. The trouble starts in how those governments react.
The Russian Finance Ministry is preparing amendments to their laws concerning a “Central Bank”. These amendments will entail 3 to 5 million rubles in fines (about $50k to $75k in US dollars at current exchange). Additionally, administrative suspension for up to about 90 days. Quite strict control over cryptocurrency usage, and or mining, within the Russian borders.
“The official monetary unit (currency) of the Russian Federation is the ruble … It is forbidden to introduce other monetary units and produce (issue) objects of property rights, including those in electronic form, used as means of payment and (or) exchange for cash and not expressly provided by the federal law (hereinafter – surrogate money), as well as to conduct transactions with the use of surrogate money,”Coinfox quoted an amended article draft of the Law on the Central Bank.
The Finance Ministry is also drafting laws specifically for individuals using, or mining, Bitcoin. These laws will enact fines of up to 500,000 rubles and possible imprisonment for up to four years. The punishment only gets worse for groups and high level management of financial institutions according to Izvestia.ru.
Japan has a slightly less “put you in jail and ruin your life” approach to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. Japan’s government is preparing to heft additional taxes on Bitcoin transactions. Previously Japan’s government passed legislation that treats virtual currencies like fiat money. Now, Japan is planning to start taxing those virtual currencies, just like fiat currency.
According to Reuters the Japanese government is proposing recognition of cryptocurrencies as a commodity rather than a currency.
As you can see, it is far from a “standard” currency in Japan as they are still working out on how to tax it, recognize it and live with it.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are here and if support continues from the communities, they won’t be going anywhere. Government intervention could cause ripples in that support from the citizens if too much control is imposed.
Do you use Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency?