Sunday, March 9, 2014

Japanese Government Says Bitcoin Not a Currency, Forms Investigation Committee

Japan’s ruling party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has launched an investigative committee into bitcoin, and issued a statement saying it is “not a currency, but taxable”.

In what has become a familiar refrain from authorities around the world in recent months, the government has also blocked related banks from “brokering bitcoin transactions or opening accounts holding the virtual unit”. Exactly what constitutes a ‘bitcoin account’ remains unknown, but it presumably refers to one with a known bitcoin service like or Coinbase.

This is likely a reaction to the international attention Japan has received after the collapse of Mt. Gox, which had its headquarters in Tokyo. Despite its hand being forced to make a statement by the Mt. Gox crisis, the Japanese government is generally curious about bitcoin and will not make any further statements on the matter until it has discussed matters with local bitcoin interests, a government representative said.

Representatives of the recently-formed Japan Digital Money Association, an advocacy group founded by Japanese bitcoin users and cryptocurrency miners, also consulted with LDP members with lawyers on Friday to present their case.
Obligatory statement

Bitcoin “does not fall under the category of a currency” as defined by Japanese law, Friday morning’s statement noted.
“Generally speaking it is subject to taxation if it meets conditions laid out in income tax law, corporate tax law and sales tax law, among others.”

Adding that there were no Japanese laws defining bitcoin, the statement concluded that if bitcoin was used for money laundering, ”that would constitute a crime”.

“As a matter of common sense, if there are transactions and subsequent gains, it is natural… for the finance ministry to consider how it can impose taxes,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

- Source, CoinDesk, read the full article here: