The foreign law specialists and analysts at the Law Library of Congress recently completed a report that highlights the emerging global discussion around approaches to regulating virtual currencies, particularly Bitcoin. This is of course a hot topic right now, and the report has been written about in news articles and blogs and referred to on various websites. It’s great that so many people found the report useful and interesting! Some of the articles that we’ve noticed so far include:
- Bitcoin’s Legality Around the World
- Law Library of Congress Releases Report on Bitcoin’s Legal Status Around the World
- Congress’ New Report Tells You Where Bitcoin is Legal
- The 3 Best and Worst Places to Hold Bitcoin
The report is available on the Legal Topics page of our website.
The regulation of bitcoins in different countries was an interesting topic for us to research – we are often asked to explain provisions in legislation or regulations, and frequently look at government policy documents as well, but in this case the issues are still relatively new and the vast majority of the more than forty jurisdictions that we looked at don’t actually have specific rules or detailed policies at this stage. We therefore primarily focused on what the regulatory bodies and senior officials of the countries have said so far, whether in official press releases, on their websites, or in interviews with media outlets.
Many of the jurisdictions appear to be essentially monitoring the situation with regard to bitcoins before deciding whether or what further action to take. Some countries have started to make statements or issue guidance regarding the risks of dealing in bitcoins and the applicability of existing laws, including tax laws. What this means of course is that there may well be new developments in this area in a relatively short space of time – our report is basically a brief snapshot of the situation as of January 2014. We welcome comments and even updates that you might know about!
We frequently blog about the reports that are published on our website. The Law Library has a diverse staff of attorneys from jurisdictions around the globe. We specialize in foreign, international, and comparative law, and our reports cover a wide range of topics – from laws on wildlife trafficking and poaching, to military justice systems, to immigration laws. If you’re interested in the laws of different countries keep watching this blog, and particularly the Global Law category, for new and noteworthy information! You can subscribe to an RSS feed for the specific category, or for email updates on the whole blog.