After the National Bank of Serbia (NBS) issued its first anti-Bitcoin statement last week, the country’s Bitcoin community didn’t take long to reply. And they don’t seem disappointed by the authority’s reaction to cryptocurrency.
According to the bank, the Serbian laws say Bitcoin is not legal tender. It also claims that banks and even licensed exchange dealers cannot trade, purchase or sell BTC, highlighting that the users are taking a huge risk when dealing with digital money.
Although the worldwide ecosystem might see the decision as a setback to the Serbian Bitcoiners, the local community is actually pleased when it comes to the bank’s official recognition of digital currency. Especially when compared to the Russian stance, a country that has already shown that will not support digital money in any way.
Talking about the Serbian position regarding cryptocurrency, Aleksandar Matanovic says “the more modern and open-minded approach would have been a huge surprise, having in mind that Serbia is very slow with adopting innovations, especially in the field of finance”. The Serbian resident, quoted by Coindesk, is the founder of digital currency exchange and Bitcoin ATM operator Bitcoin 365.
Still, the local Bitcoin community hopes that Serbia’s new Ministry of Finance, Dusan Vujovic, can be encouraged to learn more about Bitcoin. That is at least Matanovic’s plan. According to the entrepreneur, this will be the focus of a new advocacy group that will soon be created.
A group of Bitcoin enthusiasts are in the process of establishing a Bitcoin association here. We will give our best to promote Bitcoin, raise the awareness and educate people about using it. One of the goals would be to try to talk with Ministry of Finance in attempt to regulate Bitcoin, so businesses can start using it.
In the meantime, the Russian Bitcoiners are having a bad time due to the country’s government latest actions against cryptocurrency. A couple of months ago, the European nation’s Ministry of Finance announced a draft bill that could define the idea of ‘money surrogate’. If approved, the bill will ban all types of value that fall into this category, which should include Bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies.
This is the main reason why Russian Bitcoin businesses are being encouraged to move their operations into other territories. Coindesk quotes a local lawyer that warns the local Bitcoiners about a scary possibility: “the adoption of the bill in [its current] wording will literally mean that Bitcoin is illegal in Russia and one can hardly help Bitcoin business after this step”.