Bitcoin gets the green light in Germany

6 September 2013: Businesses may not trade in bitcoins, says German Finance Ministry. But okay for individuals. Bitcoin is not real money, says Martin Chaudhuri, spokesman for the German Finance Ministry. Bitcoin is counted instead as a “unit of account.” 

Bitcoin is a so-called cryptocurrency. It exists only in the form of number sequences that are exchanged over the internet. There is no government or bank backing of Bitcoin. 

In Germany, the Treasury allows private individuals to pay each other with bitcoins. Companies that want to do so must have permission from the German Financial Supervisory Authority, says Martin Chaudhuri in response to a question in the German Bundestag. 

German Finance Ministry believes that there are so few payments in bitcoin that it can not affect prices or exchange rates. 

The value of bitcoin when changing currency against the euro or the dollar has risen tremendously since the cryptocurrency debuted in 2009, but the currency has also made big swings up and down as there is no authority that can step in and stabilize it. 

The European Central Bank has made the same assessment. There are risks associated with crypto currencies, but so far, they are manageable. In Sweden The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority counts bitcoins as a means of payment, but not as a currency. If you have a business that exchanges bitcoins or does business in bitcoins, you must have permission. 

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