The great potential for cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin in particular to change business practices is becoming a reality all over the world. The United States continues to be the main beacon for technological innovation in business, but Europe is also part of this story.
Even if Europe stands as a region with deep historical links with technological innovation, the current times have been one of doubt about the capacity of the old Continent to keep up to date with technological progress, especially about business innovation. The Cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin space of innovation is no exception. One European country that recently approached the Bitcoin issue was Spain, first with its Government recognizing Bitcoin as a currency as an asset, despite an electronic one only.
The United States is still the largest economy in the world, with an efficient Federal bureaucratic system of Government where the implementation of asymmetric regulation is most easily accomplished, with an entrepreneurial spirit and culture matched by few globally. And yet, Europe is getting close to filling the gap in regulatory efficiency and the rapid adoption of innovative ideas in business. The old Continent is moving in the direction of greater economic and administrative integration, including fiscal integration.
Spain is the fourth-largest economy in Europe. A country of some thorny contradictions, where the highest European rate of youth unemployment co-exists with financial and economic institutions highly competitive on a global level. With a deep linguistic, cultural, and political diversity Spain is a place of great economic interest for various reasons, not least its entrepreneurial capacity. From tourism to automotive or aeronautical industries, the corporate capacity of Spain has been steadily increasing in the last decades.
A report released by Elconfidencial discloses that the Spanish national treasury has chosen to define Bitcoin as a convertible virtual currency that can be exchanged between users, and also can be converted into Euros, Dollars or other currency, fiat or crypto. The report gives Bitcoin a status of money with VAT exemption. The Spanish treasury doesn’t explicitly endorse Bitcoin as money for all products and services in the wider economy but treats it as money when the currency is exchanged.
Other European countries have considered the regulatory status of digital currencies. The United Kingdom, Finland, Holland, and Poland all have adopted a pro-Bitcoin stance, which leaves the greatest economic power in Europe, Germany, somewhat alone and isolated in its wish to add a tax to all bitcoin transactions.
In a Continent where fragmentation on financial and fiscal issues is still a reality, one important question emerges: Should Bitcoin be regulated by individual countries or by central bodies like the European Parliament? As stated in this post on Insidebitcoins:
Such a question is not easily answered. The EU as a whole will almost certainly attempt to include the arguments of all its member states, and each and every one of them can, if they wish, put the breaks on imposing unnecessary regulation. However, the recent developments from across Europe suggest that a member state vote that might be considered favorable towards the currency would achieve at the very least, a simple majority. Such a gesture may well decide the issue – and if it does, Europe’s attitude will become homogenous, unambiguous and very pro bitcoin.
While the general mood towards Bitcoin isn’t yet positive in Europe, there are indications that the digital currency will soon be taken seriously by consumers at large, businesses of all sizes, and institutions.
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