Japan: we’re not regulating Bitcoin, at least for now

Japan has decided not to impose regulations on Bitcoin, at least for now. In early March, there were calls for

Japan has decided not to impose regulations on Bitcoin, at least for now.

In early March, there were calls for the country to regulate Bitcoin, motivated by MtGox’s shocking collapse unfolding at the time.

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Lawmakers had reportedly commenced work on regulation. Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) and other agencies looked more into the matter following the request of an official who requested clarification on the status of virtual currency. Until then, the government had only reaffirmed its existing position that Bitcoin is not a currency and as such, they bear no responsibility for its oversight.

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One official sought regulation in order to address Bitcoin’s anonymity, saying “transactions that cannot be traced even by authorities are problematic from the point of view of law and order.”

Proceedings will, for now, take a pause. Takuya Hirai, a Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmaker who leads the party’s internet media division, said, “Basically, we concluded that we will, for now, avoid a move towards legal regulation.” He added that a final decision will be made after more opinions are heard on the matter.

Several countries have already regulated Bitcoin- in a sense. Their regulations usually take the form of assigning existing restrictions for legal tender to Bitcoin, which is termed as “convertible virtual currency” by FinCEN. Such rules include the requirement for money transmission licensing or its equivalent, and anti-money laundering (AML) vigilance. However, there does not yet exist any form of regulation recognizing digital currency on the same level as legal tender.

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