Estonia and Bitcoin

It is quite fascinating to see which countries view bitcoin as an opportunity and which see it as a threat. The Netherlands is pretty clearly in the opportunity to be exploited camp. Surprisingly, it appears that Estonia is in the threat to beware of camp.

First is the rather odd news of prosecutions of small fry who are doing a few bitcoin exchanges. The crime? Trading without a license. This is bad PR and one wonders why the prosecutors are focusing on it. The simplest explanation is that someone higher up sees risk here.

Second, we have the Estonian position on a case before the ECJ on VAT and bitcoin. The case came out of Sweden and Estonia has filed a brief with their position — which is extreme. The question is whether VAT should be charged on bitcoin exchanges. Using an analogy, this is a bit like charging  VAT on a cash withdrawal from an ATM. One might argue that there should be VAT on the commission. The Estonian position is that VAT should be assessed based on the bitcoin value of the exchange. Good way to kill off exchanges.

Is this the sign of a full throated anti-bitcoin policy? I am not sure of that. But one is struck by how this line differs from that of the Dutch.


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