2/4/2016, 6:11 PM (Source: TeleTrader)
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Commonwealth calls for regulation of virtual currencies

The Commonwealth called for a proper and timely regulation of digital currencies, such as bitcoin, according to its latest press release on the subject.

The Commonwealth's Working Group on Virtual Currencies published its report on Wednesday after a year of deliberation, finding that only Bangladesh deemed the bitcoin and other digital currencies were unlawful. Canada recognises their legality, but has sought to regulate the risks related to their use, while in Singapore it is not unusual to see a Bitcoin ATM or cash machine.

The report explored issues of cybercrime, money laundering and financing of terrorism, and proposed a technical guidance for its member countries, based opinions from experts from the banking sector, academic researchers, virtual currency operators, law enforcement and users.

The Commonwealth's report also said that "virtual currencies have the potential to benefit member countries and to drive development," adding that their prohibition was "unlikely to be effective". It encouraged tax authorities to establish taxation regimes for use and transactions, while avoiding regulation of the "underlying decentralised ledger technology."

The digital currencies are seen as a potential advantage for the population without an access to banking services. Africa is an example, with up to 80% of Africans who "exist solely in the cash economy," according to Lorien Gamaroff, the founder of Bankymoon, an organisation which combined smart metre technology and Bitcoin to allow payments of electricity costs for schools in South Africa.

"By making digital payments available new products and services will become accessible to this large market," said Lorien Gamaroff.

Bitcoin rose 5.18% against the U.K. pound, with 1 bitcoin buying £265.6599, added 5.05% against the U.S. dollar, buying $387.0000, and strengthened to the euro 4.17% to buy €346.9295 by 6:17 p.m. CET.

Breaking the News / ZR