Bitcoin Regulation in the European Union

As an internationally-focused Bitcoin wallet and merchant platform, it’s important for Cubits to keep up-to-date with trends in worldwide Bitcoin usage. Our European basis means we’re always keen to learn more about new BTC businesses in Europe. In this post, we’d like to touch on some of the countries we’ve noticed using Bitcoin, and what they’re doing with it.

Bitcoin in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is well known to be one of the worlds Bitcoin hubs. Several innovative Bitcoin-related startups operate in there, and food delivery giant  recently began accepting Bitcoin under its Dutch brand The high-profile “Bitcoin is Geld” (Bitcoin is Money) campaign being led by Bitonic is seeking a ruling by Dutch courts on the definition and legal status of Bitcoin. This movement, controversial among Dutch Bitcoiners, was started after a judge ruled that Bitcoin is not “real money”. Bitonic intends to appeal this decision at a higher court in the Netherlands.

Bitcoin in Ukraine

Political controversy is nothing new for European Bitcoiners. Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, chairman of Ukraine’s security services, recently claimed that Bitcoin was being used by separatists and that their “Bitcoin accounts” would be blocked.  Shortly afterward, the Ukraine’s largest bank, Privatbank, blocked accounts for, a Ukrainian Bitcoin exchange. It’s not the first time that a group has adopted Bitcoin as a political tool, either for fund-raising or as part of a broader symbolic effort.

Isle of Man and Bitcoin

In contrast to bans and clampdowns in the Ukraine and Russia, legislators on the Isle of Man have recently made moves towards regulation and approval of Bitcoin business. Amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2008 were made to ensure that it covers companies handling Bitcoin. From the 1st April, Bitcoin companies on the island must implement standard KYC protocols in compliance with full anti-money laundering regulations. This step has been interpreted positively by players in the Bitcoin space, as it implies a tacit approval of the currency by the island’s regulatory bodies.

European Differences

There is an apparent diversity of responses to nascent cryptocurrency technologies amongst European regulators. Bitcoin regulation in the European Union is increasingly being appropriated by businesses and political groups, both in and outside of its traditional home in the tech industry. Developments in the Bitcoin space in Europe will continue to evolve on a country-specific basis, and it will be a number of years before consistent regulation are in place across the continent. The Cubits team will be keeping an eye on Europe’s Bitcoin industries for the foreseeable future, as it’s never short of surprises.