As the European Union continues to discuss an acceptable level of regulation for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies traded in the continent, the largest crypto broker in Austria suggests regulating Bitcoin like gold, which would benefit from less complexity than if it were regulated like a security or bond.
“Regulation provides us with more legitimacy. We’ve wanted to be regulated, but so far have been told that we cannot be,” said Eric Demuth, co-CEO of Bitpanda.
While Bitpanda’s founders agree with Demuth on regulation such as anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism, they also believe it is equally necessary to ensure that the Austrian cryptocurrency market has room to grow.
Excessively harsh regulations could strangle a market with the potential to contribute to the country’s economy.
Although Bitcoin has earned a reputation for being a criminal’s dream come true, gold and even hard cash have been tools for tax evasion and other illicit activities for far longer than any digital currency on the market.
It would be logical, therefore, that Bitcoin be in the same asset class as gold.
This is at least what the Austrian finance ministry is considering, as it is looking through the trading regulations around gold to draw inspiration on how to regulate cryptocurrencies.
Paul Klanschek, another co-CEO of Bitpanda, believes that regulations “should come from the EU level,” as opposed to being enacted by each individual member state.
This may be due to a desire for uniformity when dealing with clients from other EU countries, avoiding the problem of having to grasp a potential 28 different legal schools of thought with regards to how cryptocurrencies should be treated.
At the end of last month, the European Commission held a roundtable that resulted in the recommendation that cryptocurrency operators should be placed under the Anti-Money Laundering Directive.
Other than that, the roundtable did not come to any conclusions on how cryptocurrencies should be treated on an EU level. This continues to be an over with which the European Commission treads lightly.