Bulgaria: Cryptospace Development and Inaction of Authorities
Bitcoin businesses in Bulgaria develop slowly but steadily: there are a few operational BTM’s in the country’s capital of Sofia, local community meetings, and a local exchange. All in all, bitcoin infrastructure in the country is pretty fine.
ForkLog talked with Vladislav Dramaliev, co-founder of Bulgaria’s first bitcoin exchange and several other related services.
Notably, development of local bitcoin infrastructure happens against the background of almost complete indifference of authorities. Back in April 2014 Bulgarian tax service decided revenues from bitcoin transactions are subject to taxation, while revenues from buy/sell operations in Bitcoin are taxed at 10% rate. So much for regulation.
“So far Bulgarian institutions have not really expressed official interest in Bitcoin, apart from announcing that bitcoin should be considered a financial asset and all capital gains are subject to Đ° 10% tax. Bulgarian banks are also either oblivious to the existence of bitcoin or are not against using their services for bitcoin-related deals. I have not heard of a local bank that has denied access to its services due to identified bitcoin affiliation,” Dramaliev told ForkLog.
However, member of Bulgarian Bitcoin Association Nikolay Mitiaev, who had opened several BTM’s in Sofia, says there were examples of the contrary. In particular, he noted in an interview he faced major difficulties in his interaction with banks, one of which rejected to process his transactions altogether.
“They didn’t explain why, and only referenced their internal policy,” he said.
Most Bulgarian bitcoin users prefer bitcoinbg.eu, a portal of choice for anyone having any questions. According to Dramaliev, it is a forum for nearly 2,000 users and Bulgaria’s biggest. Additionally, there are meet-ups for those interested held on a regular basis.
“I believe that in Bulgaria there is a large and well-informed Bitcoin community. It is primarily composed of miners, but there are also people who genuinely believe that the world we live in requires Bitcoin. We have a great forum with more than 1900 members, where anyone can go for assistance when it comes to using cryptocurrencies – http://bitcoinbg.eu/. Regarding educational events, I have personally organized such, explaining Bitcoin and bitcoins, the mining process, the benefits and current drawbacks of the technology. I intend to organize more in the near future.
Together with a few friends we just started organizing regular Bitcoin/Blockchain meetups in Sofia. Every last Thursday of the month, we welcome anyone interested in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology to meet with us and pose their questions. Our idea is for people to know that each month they can talk face-to-face with us and acquire information from Bitcoin enthusiasts,” Dravaliev says.
Dramaliev went on to say that the local community has recently established a Bitcoin Association set to vocalize the official position of Bulgarian community on any issue related to cryptocurrencies.
As far as ForkLog knows, there are several major Bitcoin-related projects in Bulgaria.
- Bitcoini.com. It is one of Bulgaria’s first bitcoin-related and definitely country’s first bitcoin-exchanging website. For a while it has been the country’s monopolist.
- CoinFixer.com. A bitcoin exchange compliant with KYC and AML regulations approved by the State Agency for National Security, which offers SMS verification system. The site is one of Bulgaria’s most popular nowadays.
- BitHope.org. The site is set to involve bitcoin holders in charitable efforts. It is Europe’s first crowdfunding site working exclusively at the expense of non-profit organizations.
Additionally, users may find several places in Bulgaria where digital currencies are accepted as a legal tender. According to coinmap.org, one may pay with bitcoins at one of Sofia’s restaurants, a lighting fixtures store, web hosting, and services rendered by a translation agency and tour operators.
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