News  •  Regulation

Polish Finance Ministry: Bitcoin Can Be Used as Financial Instrument

| Published on July 9, 2014 at 00:10 GMT

Poland’s deputy finance minister Wojciech Kowalczyk has released a document confirming that under the country’s existing financial regulations, bitcoin can be considered a financial instrument.

The statement follows a previous inquiry from Michal Pacholski, an opposition member of Parliament for the liberal Twoj Ruch (Your Movement) party. At the time, Pacholski asked Poland's Ministry of Finance to explain the legal status of bitcoin transactions. Specifically, his query focused on whether or not "options and futures contracts can be considered as a financial instrument" if they are denominated in a digital currency.

The Finance Ministry replied that bitcoin fits within that legal framework, stating:

“Options or futures contracts which are based on [bitcoin] as a base instrument can be considered as derivative instruments, and as such, they can be considered as financial instruments, according to the bill on financial instruments.”

Bitcoin's legal status clarified

In the notice, Kowalczyk confirmed that bitcoin is not an officially recognized currency in Poland. He said in the policy document:

“An analysis of national regulations allows to conclude that bitcoin … is not a legally defined and universally accepted currency, because it cannot be classified as either a national currency … or a foreign currency.”

Previously, Pacholski had pressed the Finance Ministry on the possibility of issuing options and futures contracts in the form of derivatives based on bitcoin market indexes. These issuances, he said, would be similar to the derivatives which are based on stock market indexes.

Kowalczyk's document confirms that these instruments may be made available to Polish investors. This, the Finance Ministry said, is in accordance with the country's banking services regulations.

Regulators accept bitcoin usage

Ultimately, the Polish government statement on bitcoin's use in derivatives markets suggests the continued evolution of government policy toward digital currencies in Poland. While bitcoin can be used as a medium of exchange and financial tool, it remains unrecognized as a legal currency by regulators.

This policy stance has been stated by Poland's financial regulators in the past, including officials from the Finance Ministry.

Speaking at a seminar held at the Warsaw School of Economics (SGH) in December, Szymon Wozniak, a Finance Ministry representative, said that the ministry does not consider bitcoin to be illegal, but it does not consider it to be a legal currency either. He remarked:

“What is not forbidden is permitted. However, we certainly cannot consider bitcoin to be a legal currency.”

Warsaw image via Shutterstock

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