Local investors are apparently able to wager on the price movements of bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange (BSE) (ETH).
In addition, Finance Minister Assen Vassilev announced that the country is looking into the possibility of implementing a crypto payment system.
Bets on BTC and ETH Are Now Accepted
Bulgarian investors can now wager on the price variations of the two major digital assets – bitcoin and ether – as of today (February 16), according to local news.
Traders will not be able to buy cryptocurrencies directly through the initiative. They will instead be able to participate in exchange-traded commodities (ETCs) and exchange-traded notes (ETNs), which will provide them with exposure.
Shares of global behemoths like Apple, Samsung, Porsche, Volkswagen, Pfizer, Moderna, and a slew of others are now available for purchase on the BSE International. VanEck ETP, 21Shares, ETC Issuance, and Wisdom Tree are four new cryptocurrencies-focused products that the exchange aims to offer.
Bulgaria appears to be warming up to the idea of digital assets. Assen Vassilev, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, revealed last month that the government plans to investigate crypto payment mechanisms “in the short to medium term.” Despite this, he doubted the country’s ability to become a significant digital asset mining center.
History of Cryptography in Bulgaria
The Balkan country, which has been a member of the European Union since 2007, isn’t one of the most well-known cryptocurrency players. Local investors do not require a license to invest in the asset class, and the laws in the industry are quite easy. Bitcoin and other altcoins, on the other hand, are taxable, just like any other profit from the sale of financial assets.
However, a comprehensive investigation reveals that Bulgaria and cryptocurrency have a tumultuous history. According to multiple reports from 2017, local officials confiscated 213,519 BTC from illicit miners during a monetary crime operation. The news was confirmed by “Balkan Interpol” at the time, while Chief Public Prosecutor Ivan Geshev rejected the seizure.
It’s worth mentioning that the latter was the focus of major protests earlier this year. Hundreds of thousands of Bulgarians marched through the streets of the country’s major cities, accusing him of corruption and demanding his resignation. Geshev is also under the jurisdiction of the newly constituted ruling body, which has already taken steps to remove him from power.
However, little is known about what happened to the country’s Bitcoin reserves. While some stories claim they were sold, this has yet to be proven. If Bulgaria continues to hold BTC, it will be one of the world’s largest BTC whales. The USD value is in excess of $9 billion. This appears to be a considerable figure for a country with a GDP of roughly $77 billion last year.
Surprisingly, this issue has been brushed under the rug in recent years. The newly appointed government, on the other hand, called it into question. MP Ivaylo Marchev requested comprehensive information regarding the seizure and the location of the properties from Minister of Internal Affairs Boiko Rashkov earlier this year. That appeal has yet to receive a response from the latter.