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Regulation of bitcoin around the world

By Kenda Shaheen

Governments and tax authorities continue to develop their fiscal and tax positions relating bitcoins. Many countries are releasing warnings about the risks associated with the use of bitcoins, with some providing more concrete guidance on the regulation and tax treatment of the digital currency.

Earlier this year, the US Law Library of Congress surveyed more than 40 countries for their official stances on bitcoin to determine whether and how bitcoins are used, regulated and taxed in those foreign jurisdictions. Most of the comments addressed three main themes: bitcoin’s status (or lack thereof) as legal tender, consumer protection and taxation.

Most notable in the survey are China and Brazil: both countries have imposed significant regulations with respect to bitcoins. In China, bitcoins are treated as a special virtual commodity. It is not considered a currency, and banks and payment institutions are prohibited from dealing in bitcoin. Brazil enacted a law in late 2013 that has created the possibility of normalisation of electronic currencies such as bitcoin. The law lists the principles that must be observed by the payment arrangements and institutions, according to the parameters to be established by the Brazilian Central Bank…

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