How the introduction of a new cryptocurrency register will affect Greek cryptocurrency holders
A discussion on the effect of the register for cryptocurrency exchange and wallet providers that will be established by the Hellenic Capital Market Commission
A register of cryptocurrency exchange and wallet providers is going to be established by the Hellenic Capital Market Commission, in order to monitor any cryptocurrency transactions, storage, etc., which involve Greek citizens.
Any individuals or companies that provide the above services to Greek citizens are requested to register with the registry, and get approved, otherwise their operation will not be according to the law, and they will have to pay fines.
This decision has been made primarily to address any cases of money laundering through the use of cryptocurrencies, and is in line with relevant EU directives.
In fact, according to a survey conducted by ING, in which, respondents were asked whether they own any cryptocurrency or not, Greece was not included in the list of European countries, the citizens of which, owned some type of cryptocurrency. So, the decision made by the Hellenic Capital Market Commission to establish a relevant register may not affect Greek citizens that much, since, according to this survey, the number of Greeks who own cryptocurrencies is negligible.
However, in a more recent article that was published on statista.com, it is argued that cryptocurrency adoption rate in Greece is as high as 11%. This roughly means that one in ten Greeks have adopted cryptocurrencies in their daily life, although it is not stated whether they use them as a means of transaction, as an investment, etc. Nevertheless, there is considerable number of people in Greece who use cryptocurrencies in one way or another, which means that they will definitely be affected by the new cryptocurrency register.
If cryptocurrency exchange and wallet providers that operate in Greece are either late to apply to be included in the register, or do not want to be included at all, Greek citizens who own cryptocurrencies will suddenly find themselves in a situation where they will have nowhere to exchange or store their cryptocurrencies. This is because they will not be able to use any cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets that have not been approved by the Hellenic Capital Commission Authority. As a result, they face a serious threat, since their cryptocurrencies may become worthless overnight.
On top of that, it could be argued that cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet providers will also be affected by this situation, which is true. However, if they believe that it is not worth applying to be included in the register, they will simply exit the Greek cryptocurrency market.
In addition to the economic aspects of the decision about the register, there is also the technological parameter that refers to the fact that cryptocurrencies do not only represent economic value, as a means of transaction or investment, but are also a major technological advancement.
Therefore, governments should make an effort to understand how cryptocurrencies work, and make an attempt to use them for their own benefit and the benefit of their citizens, rather than introduce registers to regulate them, based solely on the assumption that cryptocurrencies are only used for money-laundering purposes.
Instead, they should promote cryptocurrency education among citizens, and embrace this new technology, which could work in parallel to the so-called fiat currencies.
Cryptocurrencies, in general, and Bitcoin in specific, are first and foremost a piece of breakthrough technology, in the context of modern Financial Technology (FinTec), and they should be viewed as such.
In spite of the need for regulation to protect citizens and businesses against any type of cryptocurrency fraud, the real need is to determine the limits, prospects, potential, and benefits from the use of cryptocurrencies in the economy, taking advantage of the relevant technology, and getting positive results for both the citizens and the economy overall, rather than raising barriers to the use of a financial technology asset that can prove to be a huge competitive advantage for any country to have in the future, in the context of an increasingly globalized and technology-dominated economy.