Central Bank of Israel Refuses to Recognize Bitcoin

The Deputy Governor of the Bank of Israel spoke at the Knesset Finance Committee on a number of issues related to the phenomenon of cryptocurrencies
09 January 2018   1596

The Deputy Governor of the Bank of Israel Nadine Baudot-Trajtenberg revealed on Monday the central bank’s official position on the recognition and regulation of cryptocurrencies. The central bank official also admitted fielding a number of public complaints about banks making it difficult to move fiat money from their accounts to purchase cryptocurrencies while adding it would be difficult to issue regulations for cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin and similar currencies do not fit the legal definition of a currency or foreign currency. A currency fulfills the functions ascribed to it in the economic literature — a unit of account, a mean of payment, and stability that enables it serve as a store of value. None of these exist with Bitcoin or similar currencies, which are characterized by higher volatility, difficulty in making transactions, and a lack of certainty regarding the parties that stand behind it.

 

Nadine Baudot-Trajtenberg

The Deputy Governor, the Bank of Israel

Addressing customer concerns about using their fiat money to buy cryptocurrencies, she added that banks face compliance risks, particularly when fiat funds swapped into cryptocurrencies may be used to launder money, finance crime and so forth.

Recently, we have reported that the Bank of Israel announced its plans to issue digital currency in order to create a faster payments system as well as reducing the amount of cash in the economy.

Israeli BTC Investors to Face Catch 22

They need to pay taxes from Bitcoin investing in order to avoid their property arrest, but banks don't take their money due to AML issues
06 August 2019   168

Bitcoin investors in Israel are faced with the impossibility of paying taxes, as local banks refuse to accept funds received from the sale of cryptocurrencies because of the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing. About this writes the local edition of Haaretz on August 6.

Bitcoin is not recognized as a currency in Israel, therefore, individuals must pay 25% of the income from cryptocurrency trading to the treasury, and legal entities - 47%.

Investor Ron Gross told the publication that he acquired bitcoins in 2011 and reported his income to the tax office. In 2017, the bank that served Gross began to refuse to accept funds received from the sale of bitcoins. The investor met with representatives of the bank to demonstrate to them a 70-page history of bitcoin transactions as confirmation of the origin of the funds, but failed to convince them.

The tax authority is aware of the problem, but they say the ball isn’t in their courts. I’ve tried working with almost all the banks, but the minute they hear the word ‘Bitcoin’ they freeze up.
 

Ron Gross

Bitcoin investor from Israel

 

Since Gross was unable to pay taxes on time, his bank account, home, and even scooters were arrested. According to the investor, the tax authorities know about the problem, but can do nothing.

According to Haaretz, the tax office is aware of $ 86 million in unpaid taxes on income from cryptocurrency trading. It is possible that the real amount may be significantly higher.

Roy Arav, another Bitcoin investor, kept the proceeds from trading Bitcoin in an account with Israeli bank Discount under the control of the Bit2C exchange. The bank refuses to transfer money to Arava’s personal account under the pretext that its politicians forbid it to transfer funds related to virtual assets to client accounts due to the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Arav also could not pay taxes and was forced to sue the bank. According to the investor, the authorities entered his position and granted him a deferral of time for the consideration of the claim.