Home Page
News 26 Dec 17

Serbian Bank Advises Caution Over Bitcoin Fever

As interest grows in Serbia and other countries over the mysterious virtual currency, Serbia's National Bank has warned people trading it about the real risks they face.

Maja Zivanovic

Photo: Pxhere

As the frenzy continues over Bitcoin, Serbia's National Bank, NBS, has warned those trading with it to consider their actions and the level of risk they are willing to accept.

“Virtual currencies and Bitcoin, as one of the best known, are not legally regulated in the Republic of Serbia and cannot be considered a means of payment,” NBS told BIRN.

It added that trading in virtual currencies cannot be considered a foreign exchange, for which a special legal regime is prescribed.

The crypto-currency and worldwide payment system, which no one controls, has risen hugely in value, creating numerous Bitcoin millionaires, but also fears of a sudden crash in value. Currently, one Bitcoin is worth more then 11,740 euros.

Although there is no hard information on how many Serbian citizens are trading with Bitcoin, in June the Belgrade company MCM 965 presented the first Bitcoin ATM in this city and announced it will put more ATMs in other cities.

The website ECD, which says it is a Serbian brokering service for buying and selling Bitcoin, has listed all ATMs trading with virtual currencies in Serbia.

The Serbian website Cointelegraph, which supplies news on the “future of money”, on December 21 wrote that one hostel, several cafes and restaurants, one car wash company and computer equipment store, but also one private and one state owned higher education institution, accept Bitcoin as means of payment.

“In addition to the trade in virtual currencies, which we can consider a speculative business in terms of investing in a particular product and expecting profits from the difference in increasing the value of such a product on the market, a particular issue is the use of virtual currency to acquire other goods and services,” NBS said, adding that the Law on Trade lays down that prices should be expressed in Serbian dinars.

Since the Bitcoin is neither foreign currency, NBS noted, expressing the price of goods or services in this currency would not fulfil the provisions of this law. NBS added that the Finance Ministry should also give its opinion.

However, Serbs remain intrigued with Bitcoin and will gather on December 31 for a “massive New Year’s dig” for the virtual currency. As the Facebook event said, all who plan to attend should bring their own pickaxe.

Around a thousand people have announced they are going to this event, while 3,400 of them are interested.

“A message for anyone who decides to trade in Bitcoin is that he or she must take into account that behind this and other virtual currencies there is no central bank as a central monetary authority, there are no ways to mitigate large oscillations in offers and demand, and that even the rules of functioning of the platform for trading in Bitcoin are in many cases not clear enough and regulated, nor under the control of regulatory bodies,” NBS warned.

One Bitcoin advocate in the Balkans is self-proclaimed state between Serbia and Croatia, Liberland, which has its own Bitcoin Embassy and accepts donations in this virtual currency.  

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Premium Selection

19 Jan 18

EU Green Leader Condemns Threat to Bulgarian National Park

The European Greens co-president Ska Keller tells BIRN of her grave concerns for the future of the UNESCO-protected Pirin National Park, after Bulgaria's government approved plans to expand the ski resort there.

19 Jan 18

Vucic Visiting Kosovo to Profit Politically, Experts Say

Saturday's planned visit to Kosovo by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic – following the assassination of Kosovo Serb leader Oliver Ivanovic – is being seen as a point-scoring exercise.

18 Jan 18

Murder Puts Serbia-Kosovo Dialogue in Doubt

17 Jan 18

How Rich Are the Balkans’ Top Politicians?

Latest News from the Balkans

20 Jan 18

Romanians Resume Anti-Corruption Protests

19 Jan 18

Russia Slaps New Ban on Bosnian Apples

19 Jan 18

Duma Slates Moldova's Ban on Russian TV Shows

19 Jan 18

Djukic Trial for Tuzla Massacre Delayed Again