Is the future of bitcoin in Europe?
Acceptance and further developments behind the digital currency have been active and apparent in areas such as the United States and Southeast Asia. Coinbase recently announced its expansion into Singapore, and several major players such as Kraken make their home on American soil, but that’s not to say that there haven’t been problems.
For one thing, the U.S. is still coming to terms with the idea of digital currencies in many ways. Regulation stemming from the BitLicense and the various “copy models” we now see in areas such as California and North Carolina has caused several businesses to leave, unwilling to “play by the rules” and put customer privacy on the line. Furthermore, hostility is coming from several businesses looking at regulation as an attempt to halt innovation in the cryptocurrency arena.
Asia has also had an up-and-down, slow-paced relationship with bitcoin. Between Mt. Gox, Russia’s on-again off-again relationship with virtual currencies and China’s alleged bans on bitcoin trading have not done much to further its establishment in eastern countries.
Many are now pointing to Europe as the potential “it factor” behind the perfect home for bitcoin. Due to licensing restrictions in the United States, for example, many bitcoin entrepreneurs are looking at areas such as the U.K., Germany and related areas through a more attractive lens. With less regulation to adhere to, there is obviously more room to prosper.
Additional benefits can also be seen in neighboring countries. Spain has recently exclaimed that bitcoin is a VAT-exempt entity, and the U.K. has outlined levied taxes for bitcoin-generated income. Switzerland is proving to be very beneficial for bitcoin startups, and LedgerWallet, which provides smartcard security for bitcoins, has managed to avoid the majority of regulation due to the services it offers. CEO Eric Larcheveque mentions that staying in Europe has helped the company tremendously:
“We… have access to a large range of state-sponsored grants, helping us fund R&D or develop production facilities.”
Will Europe eventually be the ultimate bitcoin haven? List your comments below!