This week was full of emotions in Colombian Bitcoin market after a non official speech of the Finance Ministry about risks involving bitcoin in regard to its non-legitimacy as a currency.
Bitcoin Colombian market is small, there are few companies like Bitcoin Suramerica or Bitmarket.co that work in this country, and there are some independent traders who use services such as localbitcoins or bitstamp to trade. However people is getting more interested on bitcoin, is asking more about it, its buying more, and there are people trying to offer non-clear investment products based on bitcoin that very much look like ponzi-schemes, and who just use the name bitcoin to get people interest.
Due to the increase of bitcoin acceptance in Colombia, Colombian government has taken care of this. The Colombian central bank emitted a concept by which disclaims bitcoin as currency and argues on a huge risk to people due to the lack of institutional support to the currency. Also, Colombian Finance Minister, Mauricio Cardenas offered an non official speech saying bitcoin was ilegal and SFC (Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia), Colombian regulatory authority emitted a concept about virtual currencies (download original here) wich states that:
- Bitcoin is not a currency.
- Bitcoin is not an asset, is not supported by an institution or well.
- None of the traders of bitcoin are regulated by SFC
- Virtual currencies are anonymous and can easily be used for crime activities.
- Virtual currencies transactions have no guaranty and are susceptible to hacking attacks
- Companies or people who accept bitcoin as payment system are allowed to do this, but are subjected to recognize there is no law guaranteed because bitcoin is not an official payment system recognized for Colombian government.
So, in colombia the legal backgroud is that there is not legal protection for bitcoin users or traders, but bitcoin trading between people and no-financial companies are allowed. Due to Cardenas´ speech, market waited a complete ban but finally was just an strong warning, another thing waited due to Cardenas declarations for the market was the use of Chinese background to proclaim bitcoin as a product and their respective accountancy and legal implications but it seems SFC are not prepared to regulate bitcoin commercial activities.
SFC concept is goods news to bitcoin market but let us know the lack of understanding of government about bitcoin tecnology (for example, transactions are non anonymous because of blockchain) and market (they didn’t open a forum or public speech with bitcoin merchants) but thanks to people and organizations like BitcoinColombia.org and BitcoinSuramerica who had meetings with regulators, a couple of things changed between the total illegal approach from Cardenas to SFC concept.
To follow what Colombian bitcoin merchants and some companies accepting bitcoin as payment system (like us) are doing to promote the knowledge about bitcoin and virtual currencies, please follow us in Bitcoin Colombia