Israel Supporting Cryptocurrencies
Cointelegraph has written an in-depth piece on how “The Startup Nation” – Israel – is supporting cryptocurrencies. In 2017 alone, Israeli startups raised more than $5 billion in capital. The country is also at the forefront of technological innovation as it embraces cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
Landmark Steps for Cryptos in Israel
In 2017, Hapoalim, the country’s biggest bank, tied up with Microsoft and created a platform based on blockchain tech to simplify and speed up the process of signing up guarantors.
Then, in February 2018, cryptocurrencies were acknowledged as property and the Israeli Tax Authority (ITA) imposed taxes on the digital assets. Later in the month, the Israeli Supreme Court sided with a local cryptocurrency exchange, Bits of Gold, against Leumi Bank, which has refused services as the crypto it traded in – Bitcoin – could not meet anti money-laundering standards.
Judge Anat Baron of the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the exchange. She explained that the last five years of the exchange’s operations proved that the bank’s fears that Bitcoin, if left free, would lead to violations of the law, were untrue.
This ruling, which is being called “precedent setting”, did not question the bank’s right to assess each transaction, nor its right to take action against those it might consider risky. However, what the court did do was decide that right now there is no legal prohibition on cryptocurrency trading in the country – as long as it maintains complete transparency and doesn’t break any statutory laws.
What This Means for Cryptocurrencies in Israel
While there have been detractors, there has been great strides taken on Israeli blockchain innovations. According to the Co-Founder of Bancor, Galia Benartzi, the country has always viewed the growth and development of technology as an opportunity as well as a strength.
Itay Nagler, the CEO of a blockchain-based travel company called Cool Cousin, says Israelis are programmed to believe there is a better and more efficient way of doing things. This lack of fear of change is what helps the country lead innovations and also be among the first to adopt cryptocurrencies and blockchain tech.
This does not mean that it is all smooth sailing for cryptocurrencies in Israel. Israeli regulators recently ruled that crypto-related company could not trade on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange has been a setback for the crypto movement.
Overall, the attitude taken towards cryptos in Israel is to let the useful attributes – such as its technology – flourish, but the grey areas of the crypto markets be limited till regulations are set in place.