Bitcoin in Polish law - is virtual currency legal?

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Polish bank customers have been convinced for quite a long time to use virtual financial operations - using online accounts, making transfers via telephone or paying with contactless cards. Therefore, since the offers of reliable financial institutions, such as banks, were accepted with caution and with distance, it may seem surprising that many people are starting to use Bitcoin - a cryptocurrency created by anonymous (anonymous? Anonymous?) Satoshi Nakamoto.

What is bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital cryptocurrency that is saved on the user's computer in the form of a wallet file or stored on special servers run by third parties. Unlike traditional money, "bit coins" do not have one specific issuer or owner. Consequently - there is no one to guarantee the safety of its users. At the same time, however, Bitcoin is not exposed to attacks by the first better hacker - it is thanks to the use of cryptography that basic security functions are ensured.

Should we start to "switch" to virtual currency, abandoning traditional money? No - it is not possible to use a currency in state settlements that cannot be secured by specific institutions, as is the case with traditional funds that are controlled and protected by the State Treasury and banks. At the same time, Bitcoin is a good alternative for people who make many online payments, especially inter-state. It allows you to avoid the need to make online transfers that require time, currency conversions, usually also additional fees for foreign transfers. In this case, however, the internet currency bought in the country is no longer subject to any geographic or administrative restrictions.

Bitcoin - electronic money in the light of the directive

Bitcoin only works in the virtual world, so treating it as an electronic currency seems appropriate. However - not entirely.

The definition of electronic money is provided in the directives of the Parliament and the European Council. According to it, electronic money is a monetary value stored electronically, including magnetically, which constitutes a claim against the issuer. This value is issued in exchange for cash for the purpose of making payment transactions, and its issuers may be entities authorized to issue electronic money, i.e. certain credit institutions, electronic money institutions, the European Central Bank or national central banks. Each entity, before it can issue electronic money, must obtain a permit from the supervisory authorities of its country.

On the other hand, Bitcoin is not issued by a specific entity indicated by the directive - it is created by a heterogeneous system, consisting of a different number of computers at one time, unsupervised by a state entity. Moreover, one Bitcoin does not necessarily mean one real money - which is the rule in the field of electronic funds.

Bitcoin - a currency in the light of the regulations?

Thus, Bitcoin is by definition a currency, a virtual money. However, does the fact that this was the intention of its creators and that it is actually perceived by users who use it make it also a currency in the light of Polish regulations?

In order to determine this, it is worth examining first what - according to Polish regulations - money itself is. Pursuant to the Act on the National Bank of Poland of August 29, 1997, currency signs are banknotes and coins for zlotys and groszes. These marks may only be issued by the National Bank of Poland, and they are legitimate means of payment in the country.

Keep in mind that a monetary sign - that is, a banknote or coin - is not the same as a monetary unit. The monetary units are just zlotys and groszes and they are expressed in money signs. So, in short, money can be considered a unit of money and a sign of money.

The above definition, however, automatically excludes Bitcoin from the group of state currency - it is not issued by the NBP. Also, the definition of foreign currencies does not include this virtual money. Pursuant to the aforementioned Act, foreign currencies are currency (banknotes and coins) that are legal tender outside the country, which may also be withdrawn from circulation, but subject to exchange. However, Bitcoin is not issued by any government body - so it cannot be considered a foreign currency.

Therefore, from the point of view of Polish law, Bitcoin is not money - neither electronic nor traditional. These are only data saved on the disk, with no value as a currency for payment. Despite this, Bitcoin does not lose its value at all - on the contrary, there is a steady increase in interest in this type of currency in the world.