Austria Looks to Gold as Inspiration for Cryptocurrency Regulation

Gold is subject to less stringent requirements than other financial products.

The co-CEO of Bitpanda, Austria’s biggest Bitcoin broker, thinks that Bitcoin should be regulated in a similar way to gold, as the company looks for the official stamp of approval, according to investing.com.

“We’ve wanted to be regulated, but so far have been told that we cannot be,” said Eric Demuth.  Paul Klanschek, the other co-CEO, said: “Regulation should come from the EU level.”

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The Austrian finance ministry said in February that it is drawing on gold trading regulations as inspiration for the writing of cryptocurrency rules.

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Hartwig Loeger, the finance minister of Austria, said that Bitcoin trades of 10,000 euros and above should be reported, and counterparties identified. This is how precious metal trades are currently governed. He also said that initial coin offerings should be approved by the national financial watchdog.

Gold is often seen by authorities as a potential vehicle for criminal activity, a fact which has been overshadowed of late by the preponderance of cryptocurrency on the airwaves. Retail sales of gold are exempted from VAT in the EU, and traders of gold are not subject to the extensive rules that their peers in the stock/bond markets are, according to Bloomberg.

Vienna-based Bitpanda was founded in 2014, and has been doing very well lately – it saw 600 million euros transacted on its platform in 2017, mostly in the last quarter, according to investing.com. In January it began offering Bitcoin Cash, and last month added Ripple to its platform too. It supports the SegWit upgrade, which is an increasingly popular option in the Bitcoin market, and opened a new office in London last month.

It also has strong links with the Austrian establishment, selling Bitcoin vouchers via the national postal service and recently signing deals with the Austrian Academy of Sciences and Technical University of Vienna.

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