Virtual currencies, such as the famous bitcoin, are becoming increasingly popular among Poles. Not only as an investment but also as a “means of payment” to complete transactions. Unfortunately, the market is risky, very sensitive to various speculations and there are numerous abuses. So, there’s no shortage of warnings from financial institutions – and as a result, ideas for regulating cryptocurrency trading are on the rise.
Experts admit that the topic is not new, but at the same time, it is very complicated. Mainly because cryptocurrency trading takes place online, and enforcing a contract – in the case of a dishonest counterparty – is virtually impossible. Especially, if the company has its registered office in so-called tax havens.
Already in January this year, the Financial Supervision Commission drew attention to this.
“Thanks to the anonymity afforded by the Internet, investors are exposed to more frequent conduct bearing the hallmarks of illegal activity due to significant limitations on the ability to confirm the identity of counterparties.” – it was emphasized in the KNF’s (Financial Supervision Commission – editor’s note) warning about the risks associated with the acquisition of and trading in cryptocurrencies (including virtual currencies and cryptocurrencies).
Until quite recently, cryptocurrencies were treated with a grain of salt, primarily as a curiosity. And seen as means used by all sorts of combiners, or even criminals (blackmailers have been known to demand ransom in bitcoin). This situation has changed dramatically in recent years.
Research by Cambridge University researchers indicates that more than 100 million people worldwide used cryptocurrencies last year, a 190 per cent increase in two years!
Of course, the popularity of virtual “money” has reached Poland. Not only that, we got to – according to marketplace paybtc.io – the top ten countries. And interest in cryptocurrency transactions has been steadily growing.
“In the beginning, our users mainly bought electronics, gold bars, coins, jewellery. Undoubtedly, there has been a huge shift in buying behaviour this year. We observe that for now, the two most popular shopping categories are electronics and home furnishings, but there is a clear upward trend when it comes to other categories such as clothing, tools, sports accessories and food. Previously, such small purchases were rare. We also have an increasing number of inquiries about brokering fees for medical services, transportation, sports activities or education.” -explains Tomasz Palka, CEO and co-owner of paybtc.io.
According to plus500.co.uk, there are currently over 1,600 cryptocurrencies listed on major, mid-tier and specialist exchanges. The most well-known are bitcoin and ethereum, but Ripple XRP, litecoin, NEO, or IOTA are also popular.
However, no matter the name of the cryptocurrency, the exchange rate is very volatile, susceptible to any speculation by investors. This has happened in the past.
The market’s reaction to Elon Musk’s series of statements and tweets is a clear indication of this. When he revealed that Tesla would be accepting payments in bitcoin – the exchange rate immediately skyrocketed, he later changed his mind – so the rate dropped. And so almost every time if Musk makes a statement about cryptocurrencies – the stock market is volatile. Influenced by the comments of just one, albeit important, investor.
In Poland, the amount of fraud related to cryptocurrencies is already comparable to the scale of scams concerning so-called “fake grandchild” or “fake policeman” methods.
Therefore, there is an ongoing discussion about the need to regulate the rules of trading in virtual currencies.
In Poland, in turn, a draft regulation of the Minister of Finance concerning the application for entry in the register of virtual currency activities has appeared.
“The new obligation is linked to anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing legislation,” – explains prawo.pl website
It applies to all countries within the European Union where it will be necessary to obtain authorisation or registration to operate virtual currencies. The document must be submitted electronically beginning October 31, 2021.