The next good news for Bitcoin enthusiasts and believers comes once again from Cyprus. Following the recent opening of a brick and mortar Bticoin infostore in Nicosia and the rumours that the Central Bank of Cyprus is not considering bticoin as illegal, today the Parliamentary Committee on Trade and Industry of the Cyprus’ House of Representatives met to discuss the issue of bitcoin usage and the potential problems that might arise in commercial transactions. This discussion took place in the presence of CySEC Chairwoman Demetra Kalogerou, officials from the Central Bank of Cyprus and the Banks’ Association, government technocrats as well as representatives from the Neo and Bee companies, which are the promoters of Bitcoin in Cyprus. One of the company executives told parliamentarians that since the opening of the Bitcoin infostore less than 100 people have actually visited the store and expressed their interest in Bitcoins, but there is great interest from companies and businesses. It is reminded that, following last year’s crisis in the Cyprus banking system and subsequent loss of faith in banks by the public, in Cyprus it is thought that an amount of 1 to 1,5 billion euros is stashed away in cash under mattresses or in bank safe boxes.
In an interesting turn of events, Kyriakos Hadjiyiannis, a member of the Committee and a Member of Parliament for the Famagusta district, from the ranks of the government party in Cyprus, the Democratic Rally issued a press release just after the meeting, under the telling title “Bitcoin: Reservations, Opportunities and Prospects?”
Through this press release the MP, on whose suggestion the topic of the bitcoin was tabled on the committee agenda, reveals that the discussion at the House committee was of an informative nature about the electronic, virtual currency as a means of payment and as a means for carrying out transactions. He says that the discussion brought to the fore the huge gap in reliable information that exists and that this in turn indicates the need for the public to be extra careful when carrying out transactions.
At the same time, and in order to protect the citizens, the need emerged for the adoption of a legal framework that would regulate the purchase, selling and ways of conduct of investing entities using bitcoins.
It is the wide usage of the bitcoin in the market as well as the worldwide developments on the topic, says the Cypriot MP in his statement, that have urged him to seek the correct protective framework to safeguard the citizens and the economy of the country. At the same time, potential investors in bitcoins need to be very careful when using it for investment purposes. According to Mr Hadjiyiannis the executive branch of the state has to move in a fast pace in order to regulate the matter, especially if one takes into account the bad experiences of the past caused due to the inexistence or inadequacy of the relevant legal and regulatory framework in other cases.
Perhaps the most important part in the MP’s statement is the clear stance he takes and his call on the government institutions to develop the proper legislative framework of operation, so that this innovation in financial transactions will be used correctly and that any possible ensuing benefits will be taken advantage of.
Although the discussion at a parliamentary committee and the opinion of a single MP are not catalytic, and despite the fact that both Cypriot regulator CySEC and the CBC have told the parliament that they are awaiting the final decisions and directions on the matter from the competent EU bodies, it is certain that once bitcoin has moved into the centre scene of discussions there will definitely be more interesting developments to come soon…and we will be there to tell you all about it.