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Bitcoin in Israel

The Israeli Central Bank is taking a hard line on Cryptocurrencies stating recently it will not recognise Bitcoin and any Altcoins as actual currency citing difficulty in devising regulations to monitor the risks of such activities, despite many countries demonstrating a capability of instituting regulations that control the transactions of Bitcoin and many of them welcoming Bitcoin as a currency.

Deputy Governor Nadine Baudot-Trajtenberg said “The Bank of Israel’s position is that they should be viewed as a financial asset,” at a meeting of Israel’s parliamentary finance committee, noting that there was no government responsibility for investors in bitcoin.

Curiously Baudot-Trajtenberg said, the central bank was studying the issue of virtual currency but not much could be learned from what exists globally since no regulator anywhere in the world had issued guidelines to the banking system on how to act in relation to customers’ activity in virtual currencies. Although such countries as the US, Australia, UK, Japan, S. Korea and many others had issued regulations relating to the buying, selling and trading of cryptocurrencies and the activities of exchanges and miners. He said, “There is a real difficulty in issuing sweeping guidelines to the system regarding the proper way to estimate, manage, and monitor the risks inherent in such activity,” she said. “The anonymous nature of virtual currencies leads to the possibility that they may be used to launder money, finance crime, and so forth,” Baudot-Trajenberg said.

Shlomit Wagman, head of Israel’s anti-money- laundering authority said a thorough investigation was needed since terrorist organisations use virtual currency platforms.

Last week, Israel’s markets regulator proposed regulations that would ban from trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange companies whose main business revolves around bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Despite the probably heavy-handedness it is likely that Bitcoin will flourish in Israel as international exchanges become more likely to be used to acquire bitcoin as an asset. Also peer to peer exchanges of Bitcoin will likely increase the more the central Bank works to clamp down on Bitcoin.

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