A new country legalizes Bitcoin

Ukraine became the fifth country in as many weeks to establish some ground rules for the cryptocurrency market, a sign that governments around the world realize that Bitcoin is here to stay.

In an almost unanimous vote, the Verkhovna Rada has adopted a law that legalizes and regulates cryptocurrencies. The bill was introduced in 2020 and is now headed for President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office.

And encryption in Ukraine was in a legal gray area. It allowed locals to buy and trade cryptocurrencies. But companies and platforms dealing with cryptocurrency have often come under close scrutiny by law enforcement, according to Arab Technical News Gateway.

According to the Kiev Post, authorities have tended to take a combative stance when it comes to virtual money, considering it a fraud, and cryptocurrency-related companies have been raided, often confiscating expensive equipment for no reason.

In August, for example, the Ukrainian security service blocked a network of what it called secret cryptocurrency platforms operating in the capital, Kiev.

The State Security Administration said these platforms facilitated money laundering and provided anonymity for transactions.

The new legislation also provides some fraud protection for those who own bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and for the first time in the Verkhovna Rada, lawmakers have attempted to define key terms in the world of cryptocurrencies.

In the case of the president’s signature, virtual goods, digital wallets and keys private are terms enshrined in Ukrainian law.

Contrary to El Salvador’s move to legalize the bitcoin this week, Ukrainian cryptocurrency law does not facilitate the introduction of the bitcoin as a payment method, nor does it put it on par with the hryvnia, the country’s national currency.

However, the ex-nuclear vote is part of a wider Kiev push to rely on Bitcoin.

By 2022, according to the Kiev Post, the country plans to open the cryptocurrency market to companies and investors.

During an official visit to the United States last month, President Zelensky spoke about the innovative legal market for virtual goods in Ukraine as a strong point for investments.

Ukrainian Minister for Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov said the country is working to modernize the payments market. This is how his national bank can issue a digital currency.

But for Bitcoin supporters, the new Ukrainian law and political promises like these fall short.

Ukraine joins a long list of incorporating countries bitcoin in national legislation.

El Salvador this week became the first country to adopt bitcoin as legal currency and to keep it in balance. The president tied his political fate to the outcome of the nationwide Bitcoin experiment.

Two weeks ago Cuba passed a law to recognize and regulate cryptocurrencies, citing reasons of social and economic interest.

Last month, the US proposed cryptocurrency broker rules in the trillion dollar infrastructure law.

A new German law now allows previously banned funds to invest in cryptocurrency to allocate up to 20 percent to cryptocurrency.

And Panama appears to be next, as the Central American country is working on a draft of its own cryptocurrency law.

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