Will cryptocurrencies be bought in a bank?

We foresee opportunities for banks in Macedonia to be able to sell and keep crypto-assets to private legal and natural persons and to institutional investors, in order for natural and legal persons to be able to buy bitcoins, ethereums and other cryptocurrencies in the bank," the Program of the winner VMRO-DPMNE

Young people mostly use the benefits of the Internet, globalization and the modern age, and the main source of income for some of them is transactions from the foreign market. With the aim of legalizing these revenues and enabling digital infrastructure for easier access to international markets, we strive to create a legal framework for cryptocurrency trading, freelance work, as well as the introduction of global payment processors in Macedonia, writes in the election program of VMRO-DPMNE, Platform # 1198.

According to this Platform, in the future we could also buy cryptocurrencies in a bank.

"The most advanced countries such as Germany, Switzerland and the USA have introduced the possibility for citizens to be able to buy, hold and sell crypto-assets through bank accounts, instead of exclusively through fintech applications. We will approach defining cryptocurrencies as a specific type of intangible asset based on digital technologies. We foresee opportunities for banks in Macedonia to be able to sell and keep cryptoassets to private legal and natural persons and to institutional investors, so that natural and legal persons can buy bitcoins, ethereums and other cryptocurrencies in a bank".

For those in the know, we're a long way from buying cryptocurrencies at banks, and we still don't have full regulation. For example, trading with cryptocurrencies is not prohibited even now, there are also exchange offices for changing cryptocurrencies into Denars, but this is a completely unregulated matter. In the summer of 2022, the Law on Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism was adopted, and as the insiders say, to a certain extent it was possible to establish regulation of the cryptosphere from the aspect of the risks of money laundering and financing of terrorism, but that is why the by-laws "stuck" in the parliamentary procedure Acts that will enable the creation of a register of service providers related to virtual assets.

Aleksandar Vujic, an anti-money laundering specialist and an expert on cryptocurrency legislation and standards, says that any initiative related to new technologies is to be welcomed, but reminds that they also carry risks and that we should be especially careful with cryptocurrencies because they can to be used, but also abused.

- Nowhere in the world do citizens own crypto-assets through bank accounts, i.e. to own crypto-assets you need crypto-addresses. In that case, the bank would have to be a service provider related to crypto assets and issue crypto addresses. In some countries, banks are like brokers who execute orders for the purchase of crypto-assets on behalf and for clients' accounts - explains Vujic and reminds that "in order for banks to be able to perform such services, it is necessary to amend Article 7 paragraph 2 of the Law on Banks, which prohibits them from doing anything other than what is provided for in the Law."

In the Program of the already winning VMRO-DPMNE, direct conveniences for investors are provided, such as: 0% value added tax for trading with crypto assets and exemption from capital gains tax for investors until 2026. Vujic explains that the taxation of capital gains has already entered into law, and according to the Court of Justice of the EU, VAT should not be paid.

– In the new Law on Prevention of Money Laundering, crypto-assets are defined as a special category of property and as intangible property they are already recognized in the Law on Personal Income Tax and are subject to taxation in relation to capital gains. Regarding VAT, there is a judgment of the Court of Justice of the EU since October 2015 in the case "Skateverket v. David Hedqvist" (case number c-264/14). The court is of the opinion that bitcoin transactions are not subject to VAT, that is, the conversion of a crypto-asset into a fiat currency is not subject to value added tax - says Vujic.

The governor of the National Bank, Anita Angelovska-Bežoska, has repeated on several occasions: "We as the Central Bank clearly point out in our communication with the public that trading is not prohibited, but in itself carries risks that every individual should be aware of when making an investment decision. ".

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