While the ECB (and the Fed) continues to warn (danger of theft), threaten (asset-ize and tax it!), or de-bunk the idea of virtual currencies (despite two of the world's largest banks apparently seeing value in the idea), the Swiss Parliament is proposing a different angle. A postulate signed by 45 (of 200) members of parliament asks for bitcoin to be treated as any other foreign currency - and examine the potential bitcoin-related opportunities for the Swiss financial sector.
The Swiss Parliament is considering a postulate that asks for bitcoin to be treated as any other foreign currency. The goal of the postulate, introduced by representative Thomas Weibel, is to eliminate ambiguities and increase legal certainty related to bitcoin.
The postulate petitions the executive branch to reply to four basic questions: whether or not bitcoin represents an opportunity for the financial sector, should bitcoin be treated as a foreign currency, what regulatory instruments should be used to establish legal certainty for bitcoin and similar currencies, and what sort of regulatory changes are needed and when can they be implemented.
The postulate was co-signed by 45 members of parliament (out of a possible 200) after they came to the conclusion that bitcoin can create new opportunities for the Swiss financial sector and that measures should be taken to regulate the application of VAT and the execution of money laundering controls.
Luzius Meisser, president of Bitcoin Association Switzerland, told CoinDesk: “This would be quite revolutionary, as it provides bitcoin with additional legitimacy and could serve as a precedent for other countries. Also, it would pave the way for businesses to use bitcoins without legal uncertainty in Switzerland.”
The crucial point here, of course, is if Bitcoin is 'deemed' an asset (as EU regulators appear to want), it can (and will) be taxed; but it seems the Swiss beg to differ with that definition.