Bitcoin has recovered all the losses from the volatility surrounding China's currency devaluation and Black Monday equity weakness as implicit capital controls drive the Chinese into alternative currencies (as we warned would happen). However, the last few days have seen the cryptocurrency surge to $280 - the highest in 12 weeks - as The EU's top court ruled bitcoin and other virtual currencies can be exchanged tax-free, putting them on a more equal footing with traditional cash.
Value added tax -- a type of sales levy -- needn’t be applied because the business involves “the exchange of different means of payment,” the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg ruled Thursday. The case was triggered by a dispute in Sweden, where David Hedqvist set up a service for the exchange of mainstream money for bitcoin and vice versa.
“Transactions to exchange traditional currencies for units of the bitcoin virtual currency (and vice versa) constitute the supply of services” under the bloc’s law “since they consist of the exchange of different means of payment,” the court ruled. As such they are exempt from value-added taxes, it said.
To exclude such transactions from the tax exemptions given to traditional exchanges “would deprive it of part of its effects,” given that the exemption’s aim is to counter “the difficulties connected with determining the taxable amount and the amount of VAT deductible” in cases of taxation of financial transactions, the court said.
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And the resulatant bid...
As we discussed previously, while China is doing everything in its power to not give the impression that it is panicking, the truth is that it is one viral capital outflow report away from an outright scramble to enforce the most draconian capital controls in its history, which - as every Cypriot and Greek knows by now - is a self-defeating exercise and assures an ever accelerating decline in the currency, which authorities are trying to both keep stable while also devaluing at a pace of their choosing. Said pace never quite works out.
So what happens then: well, China's propensity for gold is well-known. We would not be surprised to see a surge of gold imports into China, only instead of going to the traditional Commodity Financing Deals we have written extensively about before, where gold is merely a commodity used to fund domestic carry trades, it ends up in domestic households. However,
while gold has historically been the best store of value in history and has outlasted every currency known to man, it is problematic when it comes to transferring funds in and out of a nation - it tends to show up quite distinctly on X-rays.
Which is why we would not be surprised to see another push higher in the value of bitcoin: it was earlier this summer when the digital currency, which can bypass capital controls and national borders with the click of a button, surged on Grexit concerns and fears a Drachma return would crush the savings of an entire nation. Since then, BTC has dropped (in no small part as a result of the previously documented "forking" with Bitcoin XT), however if a few hundred million Chinese decide that the time has come to use bitcoin as the capital controls bypassing currency of choice, and decide to invest even a tiny fraction of the $22 trillion in Chinese deposits...
... in bitcoin (whose total market cap at last check was just over $3 billion), sit back and watch as we witness the second coming of the bitcoin bubble, one which could make the previous all time highs in the digital currency, seems like a low print.