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Introduction to Bitcoin and crypto trading in Greece
In a country with as many financial upheavals as Greece has had (remember the whole Grexit Saga ?), it’s no surprise that Greeks have shown a healthy appetite for cryptocurrency over the past few years. The number of Bitcoin ATMs is high, as is the number of blockchain organizations, but the country is underserved by the virtual asset services provider (VASP) community. However, the recent introduction of a digital wallet provider and Greece’s crypto exchange registry by the Hellenic Capital Markets Commission (HCMC) will help to improve Greece’s crypto-economy moving forward. There is no specific tax strategy for crypto and, as we have seen in similar environments, clearer tax guidance can actually promote the crypto economy rather than hinder it. Naturally, as an EU Member State, Greece will likely follow any EU initiatives, including the EU Commission’s proposals for a new EU law on crypto assets. You can expect to pay a tax of 15% on the capital gains from your cryptocurrency transactions, but there are other taxes as well – see below.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading in Greece
A significant number of Greeks as with other European crypto economics, exchange fiat currency with cryptocurrencies through overseas Greece crypto exchanges and through the growing number of cryptocurrency ATMs. The growing use of cryptocurrencies is expected to rise as Greece becomes more financially stable and more blockchain-related services are allowed – and feel confident enough- to enter the economy.
Bitcoin mining in Greece
Mining crypto is a highly technical and expensive activity at the best of times, involving powerful computers – and lots of energy, especially in Greece. Due to the sky-high cost of electricity in Greece, mining is prohibitively expensive – at least within the country. There is no formal guidance on the taxation of mining income. But, depending on the specific circumstances, the mining gain, once exchanged into flat currency, is taxable after cost deductions at 22%. If the price of crypto makes mining more profitable and more popular – rates and laws could change.
Greece has yet to reap the benefits of a crypto economy, despite Bitcoin’s popularity with a large percentage of the population. Greece is a nation with a long tradition of preferring physical cash and assets to investments per se, so long-term investment planning with crypto is going to need far clearer regulation and guidance from the authorities before it becomes a mainstream investment choice. As yet, there are no special regulations relating to investment funds or collective investment schemes that invest in digital assets, but any that offer it are likely to want correspondingly higher fees. For the record, alternative investment fund managers (AIFMDs) are required to comply with existing conduct of business rules covering risk management, conflicts of interest and transparency obligations, etc.
Greece’s financial outlook on Bitcoin and the crypto economy
The Greek financial community has had enough well-publicized concerns over the past decade without being able to play a leading part in the crypto economy of its own country. As a result, most blockchain crypto activity has been led by a population willing to use overseas exchanges to transfer funds and hold bitcoin. However, with more EU proposals for digital assets to impact Greece in the future, the use of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets is expected to expand over the coming months. This will enable banks and financial services to offer more innovative services
Greece and Defi
While the Greek government is open to blockchain in the public domain, it has had enough conventional challenges to think about without the addition of new ways of adapting its technology and there have not been any notable initiatives in the area. There is something called the Hellenic Blockchain Hub made up of businessmen and public officials which aims to provide a basis for blockchain progression and education across the country. Various organizations and councils in the private and public sectors support this. Clearer regulatory certainty will definitely accelerate the number of organizations interested in providing blockchain services and innovations. The regulation of decentralized financial (Defi) platforms that match borrowers and lenders of digital assets is assessed on the legal categorization of the assets being lent and the specific set-up of the platform. Digital assets exchanged over a Defi platform do qualify as financial instruments under Greek Law
Crypto regulation in Greece
As from the start of 2021 digital wallet providers in Greece or from Greece to other countries must apply to HCMC for registration for Anti Money Laundering requirements. Custodianship of digital assets qualifying as financial instruments and must be licensed in accordance with the Greek MiFID Law. The Greek government requires digital tax records from all of its citizens in order to regulate the growth of the cryptoeconomy and the perennial problem of untraceable cash transactions in a society that loves to deal in cash.
The recent emergence of a special digital wallet provider and cryptocurrency exchange registry by the Hellenic Capital Markets Commission (HCMC) is a much-needed step towards clearer and more cohesive regulation. If HCMC rejects the registration application, digital wallet providers and cryptocurrency exchanges are not allowed to pursue their activities in Greece or out of Greece. More needs to be done in the regulation of cryptocurrencies to offer the confidence services providers need and also to attract overseas investment in the sector. It’s almost certain that this will come in the form of the EU Commission’s proposals for a new EU law on crypto.
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Taxes in Greece
Greek bitcoin tax
Despite, or probably because of all its well-publicized financial woes over the last ten years, a high percentage of the Greek population turned to buying and holding cryptocurrencies using overseas exchanges. Crypto is perfectly legal. In response to its financial indebtedness (remember the whole Grexit saga before Brexit?) where authorities prohibited currency transfers to other countries to restrict cash from leaving the country, Bitcoin became one popular route to make such transfers. Fundamentally, there is no definition as to the type and categories of digital assets and the legal nature of digital assets is likely to be assessed on a case-by-case basis, according to their specific characteristics. If that sounds a little confusing – it’s because it is.
Paying taxes on Bitcoin trading in Greece
Greece has no specific tax regime for cryptocurrency and no clear guidance on the matter of taxation. As with a number of mid-sized economies, Greece only taxes the gains you make on your crypto when you turn it or exchange it into a flat currency (traditional central bank-issued currency, such as Euros or dollars). Once your cryptocurrency gain is materialized it is then income taxable at a rate of 22%. Holding it in a wallet incurs no tax.
A while back Greece’s Independent Public Revenues Authority (IPRA) proposed the taxation of cryptocurrency income as income from portfolio investments. Therefore, any capital gains from the disposal of cryptocurrencies would be taxed for a non-professional individual at 15%, plus a ‘solidarity contribution’ which rises from 2.2% to 10% (that’s two taxes, by the way), applicable to annual income exceeding EUR12k Following on from the EU position which states ‘the sale of non-traditional currencies falls under the same VAT exemption as transactions relating to traditional currencies’, your crypto gains are exempt from VAT.
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This is not financial advice. Coincub is an independent publisher and comparison service. Its articles, interactive tools and other content are provided to you for free, as self-help tools and for informational purposes only. This space changes rapidly and evolving, so please make sure to do your own research. Although we do our best to provide you the best information, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information on this site or in regard to your individual circumstances.