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European Broker says Bitcoin should be regulated similar to Gold

Mar 13, 2018 Posted /  2704 Views

European Broker says Bitcoin should be regulated similar to Gold

According to Austria’s most prominent broker of the digital tokens, Bitcoin should be regulated on similar grounds to gold, which will benefit by presenting more straightforward compliance rules than stocks or bonds.  

The founder of the Bitpanda GmbH said that the cryptocurrency transactions in the European Union above 10,000 euros ($12,300) should be subjected to anti-money laundering rules, instead of employing more rigorous financial standards could stop the growth of the emerging market for digital cash.

“Regulation provides us with more legitimacy,” Bitpanda co-Chief Executive Officer Eric Demuth, 28, commented in an interview. “We’ve wanted to be regulated, but so far have been told that we cannot be.”

Financial markets and regulators globally are struggling to classify and govern digital tokens created by entrepreneurs that challenge traditional, central bank-backed currencies. That’s sparked some of their creators to seek out rules to put the industry on firmer ground and lend it credibility.

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Austria’s finance ministry said last month it’s looking at the trading rules for gold and derivatives as inspiration for drawing up regulations on cryptocurrencies.nWhile policymakers often see gold as a potential vehicle for criminals or tax cheaters, they don’t impose special capital requirements on the precious metal: banks can account for it as risk-free like cash or government bonds. Retail sales of gold are also exempted from a VAT in the EU, and traders don’t have the capital and conduct rules that their peers do in stock and bond markets.

Even as Austrian central bankers warn about the risks that cryptocurrencies pose in money laundering, Vienna-based Bitpanda has been expanding its links with government institutions. The company sold Bitcoin vouchers via the state-owned postal service and said it recently inked research deals with the Austrian Academy of Sciences and Technical University of Vienna.

The absence of rules seems to have not stunted growth. Bitpanda’s retail brokerage will “easily” surpass 1 billion euros in turnover this year, Demuth and co-CEO Paul Klanschek, 31, said. Most of the 600 million euros transacted through its venue last year occurred in the fourth quarter.

The company, which opened a London office last month, charges an average commission of about 1.5 percent.

“Regulation should come from the EU level,” said Klanschek, who’s been investing in Bitcoin since 2010 and studied finance at the Vienna University of Economics. National regulators will have a hard time developing the expertise to look at cryptocurrency holdings, he said.

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