On August 11, 2017, the National Bank of Ukraine released a statement by deputy chairman Oleg Churiy. According to Churiy, the Financial Stability Council (FSC) will meet by the end of August 2017 to “work out a joint position on the legal status of bitcoin and its regulation.”
Although Churiy’s comments specifically single out bitcoin, it seems likely that the FSC’s conversation will encompass additional blockchain-based digital assets. The term “bitcoin” often functions as a catch-all placeholder for government agencies.
To date, the National Bank of Ukraine has collaborated with many governmental agencies on the topic, including:
- The Ministry of Finance;
- The State Fiscal Service;
- The State Financial Monitoring Service;
- The National Securities and Stock Market Commission; and
- The National Commission for the State Regulation of Financial Services Markets.
Ukraine is clearly taking a broad and holistic approach to its digital asset guidance. A multi-pronged approach is vital because of the many functions of virtual money. The Ukrainian government may consider instances where a digital asset serves as currency, provides utility to consumers, or even grants ownership in a company.
In his statement, Churiy references the diverse cryptocurrency regulatory schemes currently employed by the European Union, Israel, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the People’s Bank of China. He notes that discordant regulatory schemes around the world have made it difficult to give bitcoin a definite status in Ukraine. The FSC’s meeting should generate needed dialogue, if not a resolution.
In the meantime, a lack of government guidance has not prevented Ukrainian involvement in cryptocurrency. For example, a Ukrainian white hat helped rescue funds from wallets that were compromised during July’s Parity hack. More recently, the Kyiv Post reported that a group of Ukrainian entrepreneurs have invested in 150 bitcoin teller machines, to be installed across the country by January 2018.