Germany’s financial regulator, BaFin (also known as the Federal Financial Supervisory), is preparing to introduce new regulations for the cryptocurrency space starting January 1 of next year. Part of the new regulations will be a requirement that crypto companies apply for and obtain a license, and crypto payment services company BitPay isn’t sure that it wants to play by the rules. It has decided to suspend operations in Germany while it decides whether or not to proceed to operate in the country.
In light of the upcoming changes, BitPay has already updated part of its FAQ to state, “Currently, BitPay cannot service merchants or users that are based in the following countries: Algeria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cambodia, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, Indonesia, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Nepal, and Vietnam.”
The company adds, “Based on our interpretation of the local regulations and laws, we have decided to exit Germany at this time. However, we will keep monitoring the regulatory environment and look forward to understanding if the license expected in 2020 offers us and our customers an opportunity to reinstate operations.”
As a result, many businesses that have accepted crypto as a form of payment may be impacted unless they find a suitable alternative. Several companies, such as IT media outlet ComputerBase, have already announced that they will no longer be able to accept Bitcoin as payment. ComputerBase states, “ComputerBase Pro , the advertising-free and financially editorial variant of ComputerBase, can now be paid only by PayPal or bank transfer. By contrast, Bitcoin will no longer be accepted because the service provider BitPay is no longer active in Germany for lack of a license.”
Along with the new regulations to be introduced by BaFin are stricter anti-money laundering rules. Some people believe that the tighter regulations are going to cause Germany’s blockchain advancement to falter, but the truth is that the new rules should help it grow. Anyone who is afraid of operating in accordance with the law isn’t following the original Bitcoin design and isn’t concerned with helping the overall crypto community mature and evolve. When the dust settles, only those entities that truly understand the importance and meaning of digital currency will remain standing.
New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.