Why is the Latest Bitcoin Ruling Important?

  • Critics push the Dutch Gaming Authority to comment on cryptocurrency.
  • There are calls to regulate cryptocurrency investment as a gambling activity in Holland.
  • Kansspelautoriteit ruled that cryptocurrency investment does not come under its jurisdiction.

There’s no doubt that Bitcoin has endured a chequered history since its inception in 2009, from being described as a fraud by Morgan Stanley to becoming the criminals’ choice of cryptocurrency on the Silk Road.

Even as Bitcoin has evolved to overcome these challenges, it continues to face opposition from regulators and governing authorities alike. This was certainly the case in Holland recently, when critics asked the Dutch Gaming Authority (Kansspelautoriteit) to comment on cryptocurrency investment and regulate it as a gambling activity.

The findings were interesting, while they also served as a blow to those who remain suspicious of digital currencies in the modern age.

How Did Netherlands’s Gaming Authority Rule on Bitcoin?

Kansspelautoriteit representatives have come under increased pressure recently, with the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AMF) having issued a series of warnings in relation to the popularity of Bitcoin and similar currencies. The latest of these focused on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), which offers a modern investment opportunity and enables groups to raise funds for diverse cryptocurrency ventures.

The unregulated nature of ICOs have certainly captured the attention of the AMF, while it’s believed that these vehicles could be hiding untold risks. Similarly, experts have claimed that the practice of offering cryptocurrency tokens could be vulnerable to fraud and manipulation, encouraging Kansspelautoriteit to comment on the issue.

After careful review, Kansspelautoriteit confirmed that cryptocurrency investment does not come under its jurisdiction. On the back of detailed research, the organisation found that investing in Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies cannot be considered as a gambling activity, while it offered two key reasons for this. Firstly, the study revealed that it cannot be classed as a game of chance, as investors are not required to compete for prizes or rely solely on opportunism in order to achieve a desired income.

Additionally, games of chance and gambling activities prevent participants from exerting a dominant influence over specific outcomes. This principle cannot be applied to cryptocurrency investment of any type, reaffirming the regulator’s stance and dampening hopes that further regulatory measures could be forthcoming.

The Future for Cryptocurrencies in Europe

While it’s the job of financial and gaming regulators to collaborate and ensure that citizens are safeguarded at all times, there’s a sense that the perception of cryptocurrency in the eyes of fiscal experts remain somewhat outdated.

After all, the notion that blockchain (the technology that underpins Bitcoin) creates a virtual environment in which fraudsters can thrive has been sustained for more than a decade, but the same can arguably said of any innovative or decentralised platform. It’s also fair to say that Bitcoin has always responded well to moments of adversity, while benefiting directly from fair and carefully considered regulatory measures.

This is reflected by the ruling of Kansspelautoriteit, who have clearly adopted a more objective outlook and appraised Bitcoin based on facts and actionable data rather than suspicious and outdated perceptions. Make no mistake; this represents a victory for Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies, while it may also set a new precedent for financial and European regulators to follow.