As cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum become more prevalent in investment circles and acceptable for commercial transactions, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has said little other than to label “virtual currencies” as property and state that transactions involving virtual currencies may be subject to taxation under generally applicable law. However, on September 7, the Congressional Blockchain Caucus introduced the Cryptocurrency Tax Fairness Act which would exempt certain cryptocurrency transactions and create a cryptocurrency-specific information reporting requirement.
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To date, virtual currencies and related service providers remain unregulated in Japan. However, on March 4, 2016, the Cabinet of Japan approved an amendment bill to the Payment Services Act of Japan and submitted it to the Diet (“Amendment Bill”).
Most importantly, the Amendment Bill aims to bring the industry under the supervision of the Financial Services Agency of Japan (“FSA”) and introduce new registration requirements for virtual currencies exchanges, including those based outside of Japan that provide services to customers in Japan. Exchanges based outside of Japan may be registered as a “Foreign Exchange” if they are registered or licensed in their home jurisdiction; however, they must have an office in Japan and designate a “representative of Japan,” the failure of which would result in disqualification.