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A better environment for crypto business - the review on the legal systems in six countries

The free conduct of the cryptomarket causes confusion for the government and central banks. The market with $350 billion capitalization and no control is not that much appreciated. So the countries try to find the way to regulate cryptocurrencies. In this article we will outline some examples from the USA, Singapore, Great Britain, Switzerland, Japan and describe what happens in Russia, as well.
The USA: the infrastructure for the ready-to-run project
The legislation in the USA is complex. Every state has its own idea of cryptocurrency and Blockchain. There is still no clear definition for the cryptocurrency: some state courts acknowledge it as money and CFTC - the Commodity Futures Trading Commission - as an asset. ICO in the USA is not so popular due to the strict Securities Regulation. The government keeps a сlose eye on money-laundering and other criminal activities. The so-called “crypto clean-up” operation is in force - recently the Alabama SEC prohibited five ICO suspected foul play.
Donald Trump signed the Federal Act on Compulsory taxation for the cryptocurrency transactions two months ago. Even the one-time transaction from one customer to another is a subject to tax from now on.
But the Blockchain business running is the opposite in America: both technological projects and cryptomarkets and crypto ATMs and even hedge-funds investing in crypto are thriving in such conditions working well under the common economic law system.
The USA have good diversified and comfortable business infrastructure for the projects to run. Nevertheless, Singapore or Cayman islands are better place to issue tokens.
Singapore: the ICO support, bitcoins as goods and crypto sandbox
The Singapore jurisdiction alongside the Swiss is crypto-friendly and promising. The Singapore government openly supports ICO and many projects from all over the world come here for tokens issuance. First, they develop in MAS department for High-Tech projects (with 6 months no license running and other features). Then they come out on the open market with soft laws.
The Singapore IRS determines bitcoins and altcoins as goods and apply appropriate legislation and taxes to them. Tokens of the investment fund or any other system that distributes profits are defined as a security.
The supervisory authorities monitor the cryptocurrency preventing money laundering and financing of terrorist organizations. These are things covered by the legislation on cryptocurrency in Singapore.
To register a limited liability company in Singapore and run for a year will cost $4000 minimum. Singapore tax treatment is comfortable - for example, there is no capital gains tax. If tokens rise up in price 5 times during ICO Singapore tax men won’t show up and make the trader pay extra.
However, the laws will see further development in near future: crypto projects holding tokens as a security will feel less comfortable. Other coins will be stable in crypto-friendly Singapore.
Great Britain: pay taxes and relax
Prudish English lawmakers react on cryptocurrencies with great dignity: they pretend to ignore it. Even if the British financial legislation is reasonable and logical, and the business system in Foggy Albion is trustworthy, many cryptocurrencies still have no legal status. Great Britain is one of the countries where cryptocurrency is like a complex digital code to legislation authorities. It is like the pound sterling would be defined in the Constitution as a piece of paper of n square cm with the picture of Her Majesty. Only the tax services, who calculate taxes for cryptocompanies according to their financial statements, made an attempt of official definition for the cryptocurrency.
It is comfortable to work here: well-developed bank system, working business incubators and Blockchain friendly government. But it is better to run ICO outside the Kingdom: sooner or later their government adopt a bunch of bills on cryptocurrency exchange and who knows how it will turn out for the tokens issued in Britain.
Switzerland: Singaporish but more expensive
The Blockchain is widespread here. The cryptocurrency and ICO status is worked out in detail like nowhere else in the world and there is the Crypto Valley for projects in Canton of Zug where Ethereum, Cosmos Network and 200 more crypto companies established their HQs. Zug proposed to be the world capital of cryptocurrency. People can pay for utilities with cryptocurrencies there.
Cryptocurrency in Switzerland is defined as a security or an asset. During ICO the regulator divides the coins into three categories: cash, utility tokens and token assets. The cash is regulated by the law on illegal transactions in currency and money laundering, ICO of token assets - by the law on Securities and Stock Market.
It is easier to register the “non-profit organization” which will cover the ICO, token management functions and in addition, the technology company management due to the difficulties in Switzerland’s licensing legislation and the high-cost operations. Etherium developed that way.
Low taxes, a stable banking system, the government open to cooperate - all that makes Switzerland a comfortable place for crypto business. But the launch is pretty expensive.
Few of start-ups can afford to register and run their business in Zug: they should open the official residence, introduce the Swiss resident or citizen to the Board of Directors, open the bank account and pay the state fees. No less than $50 000 per year for all expenses.
Japan: a sharp katana of the law
In April 2017 the cryptocurrency was formally recognized as a legal way of payment. Now crypto markets are responding to the Financial Services Agency according to the law. All cryptocurrency operations are officially taxable for some years.
To open the company which makes any transaction with cryptocurrency in Japan you should reserve no less than $100 000, make an external audit and get the license for $300 000. In case of license rejection money are non-refundable.
Local regulators are not so friendly here. They close markets, adopt unpopular and strict laws. Yakuzas cry, honest samurais obey the law, and those who can afford it, quickly leave for Singapore, which is quite close, to run the ICO.
All anonymous cryptocurrencies have become illegal to use since the 18th of June. The Japan Financial Security Agency tries to give no freedom for the fraud and launched the delisting of such big companies as Monero, Dash and ZCash within the local markets.
Russia: out of the dusk into the fog
Russia was considered to be a relatively safe country for ICO because the cryptocurrency was in the grey zone regarding the law. Two years ago the Central Bank of Russia claimed the bitcoin never to be the payment method, the cryptomarkets to be the financial pyramid and warned of the risk to be cheated in fraud schemes.
Today the State Duma is trying to comprehend practice into the law, but with very limited success. There is no clear definition for the cryptocurrency in the highly discussed draft law. The requirement for mandatory personal identification involved in transactions with coins kills the idea of anonymity. People can exchange digital assets only in rubles and foreign currency but not in any other coins and open the e-wallet only via Russian provider.
There are no smart contracts and cryptocurrency fund-raising in the draft law: there is no information about transferring the cryptocurrency in tokens. The new Russian law to be signed can kill the idea of ICO in this country.
There is no law that can solve the problem of accounting and tax issues of digital assets in the country, although Russian tax authorities try their best at getting things organized and taking the profit from crypto companies.
The draft law takes the crypto business in our country out of the grey zone but gives no appropriate answer to any question occurring in trading on the crypto market.
From small Cayman islands to Cyprus, from Korea to Canada, from Chile to Germany - today we observe an interesting process of cryptocurrency and ICO legalization everywhere. We wonder what result we will see and whether the world regulatory system will be able to put everything in order on cryptomarket and make it easy-to-trade on.
The bitcoin cannot be totally forbidden, otherwise, all countries have to negotiate and develop a common regulatory paper. There was no evidence of such unity since the First World War. That’s why the bitcoin has put down its roots for a good long while.
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