Canada Clarifies Its Position On Bitcoin As Legal Tender

For those living in North America, it seemed more likely that the Canadian authorities would accept Bitcoin as a currency before the US government made a decision. After all, Canada is the site of the first two-way Robocoin Bitcoin ATM and thus far the Canadian government seems to have been permissive of the cryptocurrency. But that seems to be changing almost overnight.

Bitcoin Is Not Legal Tender

An unnamed Department of Finance official stated in an email that Bitcoin is not recognized as legal tender in Canada. According to the Wall Street Journal, the official said that only Canadian bank notes and coins are considered legal tender in Canada, and the digital currency does not enjoy this status. While there is no ban on Bitcoin in Canada, it does somewhat clarify the government’s position on it which is unfortunately not positive for Bitcoiners.

However, most Bitcoiners will not be concerned by this statement. After all there are scores of governments across the world that have taken a similar stance over Bitcoin being a currency or not. It is interesting to note that the official used the word ‘legal tender’ instead of ‘currency’ specifically. To most it may seem one and the same, but in a way the Canadian government has stripped Bitcoin of any type of recognition in a financial sense.

Cyberspace Currency Is Not Real

Others would rather see the silver lining – the government has not issued any specific warnings against Bitcoin of late and has not imposed restrictions on individuals and institutions within Canada.  But it may be premature to think that the Canadian government will officially recognize the cryptocurrency. At least not anytime soon.

There was some recognition of Bitcoin by Canadian tax authorities in late 2013. Not recognition where Bitcoin would get some official status, but rather recognition by making mention of it – calling Bitcoin a virtual currency, rather than a digital currency. The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) also stated that virtual currencies should be considered distinct from traditional fiat currency.

However, looking back on these statements, it is possible that the writing was on the wall – Canadian authorities were not overtly approving the cryptocurrency. By calling Bitcoin a virtual currency and separating it from traditional fiat currency, the government essentially stressed that Bitcoin should not be considered as anything ‘real world’.

Too Soon To Be Pessimistic

Canadian Bitcoiners may not have anything to worry about just yet though. At least not like their Chinese counterparts. Authorities in Canada have not made mention of any impending restrictions on financial institutions from having anything to do with Bitcoin or even hinted at taking steps anywhere along the lines of China.

It is well known that Bitcoin is not going to enjoy an official status in most countries anytime soon. There is still a long way before authorities can take a definitive stand on what Bitcoin is and how it should be viewed. For now though, Canadian Bitcoiners can take solace in the fact that the Robocoin ATM is allowed to operate in Canada and they can proudly boast the first Bitcoin embassy in the world within their borders.

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