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Summary:

A Japanese tax on Bitcoin could mean that it’s no longer viewed as a currency, but a commodity.

In the wake of the MtGox collapse, Japan is looking into regulating Bitcoin — including a possible tax on the cryptocurrency, according to a report Tuesday.

The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said that the finance ministry and national tax agency are looking into ways to govern Bitcoin transactions. Officials think that purchases made with the digital currency should be taxed according to existing consumption and corporate tax laws, said the Yomiuri Shimbun, although the report did not cite any sources.

The move would mean Bitcoin would be treated not as a currency, but as a commodity, like gold. Money made from trading the currency online could be taxed, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.

The U.S. is taking the opposite approach — for now. Yesterday, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said that the U.S. federal reserve can’t regulate Bitcoin because it operates outside of the banking system. She did say, however, that Congress could institute some sort of an overseeing committee.

The collapse of the MtGox exchange has put some pressure on international governments to look into regulating the currency. The Tokyo-based exchange filed for bankruptcy last week and reported that 750,000 customer-owned bitcoins had gone missing. Since then, the exchange has been hacked and the source code posted online.

The MtGox problems briefly depressed the Bitcoin market as it dropped as low as $430 last week. The market has since bounced back and was trading at around $668 at 11:30am PT Tuesday, according to the Coindesk BPI.

Feature image courtesy of Thinkstock/Nevarpp.

  1. I think the more common usage is “oversight” committee rather than “overseeing”.

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  2. Reblogged this on Sean Cremins and commented:
    I don’t like this – I feel taxing and regulating Bitcoin is against its core concept, and is just Japan being unnecessarily afraid of Bitcoin.

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  3. The UK is also in the process of providing tax guidelines for Bitcoin, would be interesting to see what they propose on how to do it. In my opinion, the only places you can do this is when somebody buys or sells Bitcoin, the transactions in between will be extremely hard if not impossible to tax.

    Governments would need active participation in any tax solution they want to introduce. Somehow I doubt they will have many volunteers making their Bitcoin earnings public.

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