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Bitcoin Regulation and Bitcoin Tax in Germany

The Germany central Bank maintains a tight grip on the financials of Germany and there is no love lost for cryptocurrencies by the bank. A governor recently stated, “Any attempt to regulate cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin must be on a global scale as national or regional rules would be hard to enforce on a virtual, borderless community.”

And Joachim Wuermeling, a member of the board of Germany’s Bundesbank, said national rules may struggle to contain a global phenomenon. “Effective regulation of virtual currencies would therefore only be achievable through the greatest possible international cooperation, because the regulatory power of nation states is obviously limited,” Wuermeling told an event in Frankfurt.

So although no immediate plans have been forthcoming to regulate cryptocurrencies in Germany a joint proposal with France for a united regulatory body is being put forward to the G20 summit.

However the real feeling in the bank is well expressed by the fact that there are NO ATMs in Germany despite it being a forward thinking technological country. It seems that those ATMs that were there have been shut down by virtual of the fact that the Secretary of Finance, Mr. Wolfgang Schäuble has the BaFin (BarFin The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority) under his tight control and uses it as a method to restrict the trade of Bitcoin in Germany by instituting a ‘banking licence’ to operate a Bitcoin ATM. Such a banking licence costs around 700,000 EURO … cash, making it impossible to justify the cost of operating a Bitcoin ATM in Germany. So Germans simply cross the border to Austria where there are ATMs available.

According to BaFin, “BaFin has qualified BTC with legally binding effect as financial instruments in the form of units of account pursuant to section 1 (11) sentence 1 of the German Banking Act (Kreditwesengesetz – KWG). These are units similar to foreign currencies and not of legal tender. They include value units having the function of private means of payment in barter transactions, as well as any other substitute currency used by virtue of private-law agreements as a means of payment in multilateral settlement accounts. This makes a central issuer obsolete. BTC are not e-money within the meaning of the German Payment Services Supervision Act (Zahlungsdiensteaufsichtsgesetz – ZAG) because there is no issuer establishing claims against himself by issuing BTC. This is different for digital currencies, which are based on a central agent (e.g. Liberty Reserve). BTC are not legal tender either, and therefore qualify neither as foreign currency nor as foreign banknotes and coins.”

As far as exchanges are concerned, As of 29 January 2018 BaFin issued a cease and desist order against Crypto. Exchange GmbH, Berlin, to immediately cease its bitcoin brokerage services (Finanzkommissionsgeschäft).

This article is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as financial information for any purpose such as investment or speculation and it is the responsibility of the reader to perform proper due diligence before acting upon any of the information provided. We recommend that you consult with a licensed, qualified investment advisor before making any investment decisions.