In more interesting developments, Australia will recognize Bitcoin as money and protect Bitcoin-based businesses. By July 1st, 2017, it will be exempt from goods and services tax if transactions occur through regulated exchanges and trading platforms. Exchanges in Australia have fallen significantly behind the larger growing markets in South Korea and Japan due to double taxation of Bitcoin trading by the Australian government. The Australian government stated in its budget, “Backing innovation and FinTech is a goal of the government and we will make it easier for new innovative digital currency businesses to operate in Australia.”
From July 1st, 2017 forward, purchases of digital currency will no longer be subject to GST. Currently, consumers who use digital currency can effectively bear general sales tax two times once the purchase of the digital currency taxes take place and then the goods and services are subject to tax upon use. One advantage that the government sees by doing this is that they can also regulate the bank’s efforts to deny banking services to Bitcoin-based businesses. Additionally, this would create wonderful innovation and trading volume. “Innovation will drive productivity growth in Australia. That is why the government’s $1.4 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda is designed to enable Australia to take full advantage of new economic opportunities.”
The government is committed to establishing Australia as a leading global financial technology (FinTech) hub and is announcing a new package that aims to position our local FinTech industry as a world leader. Australia is not the only country removing the chains on Bitcoin transactions. Russia is a notable competitor to the U.S. dollar system, and this major gold importer has adopted the Bitcoin technology. Countries that are tired of the Federal Reserve chains on the dollar and SWIFT payment systems continue to divest holdings of dollars for worthy wealth preservation assets.
Russia’s largest retailer, Ulmart, intends to accept Bitcoin payments as of September 1st, 2017. Ulmart, an electronic goods dealer, will apply Bitcoin availability to high-priced items first. Ulmart Chairman Dmitry Kostygin has been watching the regulatory environment of blockchain technology and Russia since 2014. “As the blockchain technology is coming into our operations to fight counterfeit items, we see that the mystery that existed around Bitcoin 3 years ago has significantly receded.”
Currently, Ulmart sells close to 150,000 items as a first-party seller, and Russian authorities hope to recognize Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as legal as they enforce rules against illegal transfers. Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev said in an interview, “The central bank is developing a joint position together with the government on digital currencies, according to its press service.” As you can see, the shackles are being taken off the cryptocurrency movement and will continue forward for the foreseeable future. The U.S. dollar is a dying asset, and slowly diversifying away from it is the name of the game.