Although the Internet is a tool that reaches across international boundaries and allows connections between people from all over the world, it’s behaviour and what you can do with is still influenced by the laws of the land wherever you may be resident. This becomes even more important when you add Bitcoin into the mix as, despite continued efforts by its supporters and progressive steps made by the powers that be in some countries, it’s still finding its feet in a legal sense in most jurisdictions and the uncertainty regarding its position in some countries can make its users second-guess themselves. As such, we are continuing our series looking at the legal status of Bitcoin and online gambling and this time we’ll be visiting Germany, the most populous country in the European Union and an important player on the global stage in many areas.
What is the deal with Bitcoin in Germany?
Bitcoin was recognised as a “unit of account” by the German Finance Ministry in 2013, thus making it eligible for tax and use in Europe’s biggest economy. However, since this announcement, there seems to have been no major moves on the status of the cryptocurrency.
Recently, the head of the German Central Bank, Jens Weidmann, suggested that Germany should look into developing its own digital currency as he believes a centralised currency is better for the global economy. Quoted in Business Insider, he stated:
"Allowing the public to hold claims on the central bank might make their liquid assets safer, because a central bank cannot become insolvent. This is a feature which will become relevant especially in times of crisis - when there will be a strong incentive for money holders to switch bank deposits into the official digital currency simply at the push of a button. But what might be a boon for savers in search of safety might be a bane for banks, as this makes a bank run potentially even easier."
What about online gambling in Germany?
Gambling in brick-and-mortar casinos is legal in all the states of the country and gambling is regulated by separate bodies in each of the states. Online gambling, however, is restricted to one state, Schleswig-Holstein, and licenses for online gambling are only available there. At the same time, there are online casinos which operate in Germany, Das Ist Casino being one of the biggest online casinos around, and many sports betting facilities can be accessed by German users. However, these exist in a legal grey area.