The regulation of cryptocurrencies according to the country (Europe)

In Spain, the Generals Courts have not approved any law on cryptocurrencies. So, there is no problem legally speaking with regulation of virtual currencies in our country today.

Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)

The CJEU in the judgment dated 22 October 2015 decreed that Bitcoin is a bi-directional flow virtual currency that is exchanged with traditional money and that not can be described as a physical good because its sole purpose is to be means of payment .

It indicates that it is a direct means of contractual payment between the operators that accept it. In addition, it is categorized as a “non-traditional currency” other than currencies that are “legal means of payment” in one or several countries.

The court ended with the statement that the exchange of traditional currencies by units of the virtual currency Bitcoin, and vice versa, is considered a provision of services exempt from VAT. In short, what the ECJ came to say is that virtual currencies can be exchanged like conventional currencies.

Money laundering: European directive

The regulation of cryptocurrencies according to the country (Europe)

The European Anti-Money Laundering Directive obliges “cryptocurrency” intermediary companies to develop due diligence measures – such as requiring identification with an official identity document – to know who buys and who sells crypto-active.

On June 19, 2018, Directive 2018/843 / EU, of the European Parliament and of the Council on the prevention of the use of the financial system for money laundering or financing of terrorism was approved. This Directive has entered into force on 9 July and the Member States must transpose it before 10 January 2020.

The most anticipated innovation is the inclusion in the list of subjects obliged to comply with the regulations in this area of ​​providers of virtual currency exchange services in fiduciary currency (generally known as “exchanges“), as well as service providers. of custody of electronic purses (service providers safeguarding private cryptographic keys on behalf of their clients, for the possession, storage and transfer of virtual currencies). These operators must report suspicious transactions, in addition to partially restricting the anonymity allowed by cryptocurrencies (which would have been attractive to finance terrorist activities).

Situation in other countries: Germany, Japan and United States

Germany has legislated on the tax treatment that should be given to cryptocurrencies. The Ministry of Finance of that country in a document dated October 27, 2018 has recognized cryptocurrencies as a means of payment equivalent to a currency of legal tender. The document states that purchases of goods or services with Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies will not be subject to taxes while their use is as a means of payment. They shall be means of payment insofar as they are accepted by the parties to the transaction as alternative, contractual and immediate methods of payment and are used for no other purpose than to serve as such.

Japan has become the first country to recognize cryptocurrencies as means of payment. The Financial Services Agency of Japan announced in the second half of 2017 that people are allowed to use Bitcoins to pay for goods and services, as well as establishing that companies engaged in exchanges of cryptocurrencies and remittance operators must have a special license for this and be subject to annual audits.

In the United States, virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, are regulated as commodities (commodities, raw materials or basic products, homogeneous goods and services) by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).


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