The Legal Status of Bitcoin Globally

Over the last few months governments around the world have been releasing their official statements regarding the status of Bitcoin within the country. In November 2013, the US Senate has a special committee meeting just to discuss the status of Bitcoin. In order to assess the status of Bitcoin globally, the Law Library of Congress conducted a survey of 40 countries to determine the status of Bitcoin.

According to the final report from this survey, “Of those countries surveyed, only a very few, notably china and Brazil, have specific regulations applicable to bitcoin use.” The report went on to say, There is widespread concern about the Bitcoin system’s possible impact on national currencies, its potential for criminal misuse, and the implications of its use for taxation. Overall, the findings of this report reveal that the debate over how to deal with this new virtual currency is still in its infancy.”

Here are a few of the findings from this survey.

Canada: Canada does not consider Bitcoin a legal tender. They have no plans to regulate it, and they do not see the exchange of bitcoins as a financial service, so there are no procedures in place to monitor transactions. Users do need to pay taxes on Bitcoin; for tax purposes, they are considered a speculative purchase.

Australia: Australia has already experienced some issues with the potential for criminal activity. They plan to tax bitcoins and are currently working out the details of that.

France: France has not enacted any regulations regarding Bitcoin, but have openly criticized the currency and have expressed concerns over illegal activity.

Germany: Germany is treating Bitcoin as a foreign currency.

India: India has made no official regulations or laws regarding Bitcoin, but have issued warnings about Bitcoin and Bitcoin usage. They have serious concerns over bitcoins being used to launder money and support terrorist activities.

Ireland & Israel: Both Ireland and Israel are working on how they can tax Bitcoin.

UK. The United Kingdom is refusing to even recognize Bitcoin as a form of currency.

All 40 countries has some variation of the stances and actions listed above. Most countries either have no plans on getting involved or they are working on ways to tax bitcoins.

Related: Bitcoin Drops 50% on Mt Gox to $230

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