How Italians Perceive Cryptocurrencies?
Italy is known as a country that still fanatically guards its culture and is mindful of its roots and rich heritage. The center of the Renaissance, Italy has offered much to the cultural and architectural progress of mankind. Historically, It has been slow to accept technological innovations. The best example is that of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Although Italy is part of the European Union, its acceptance of this disruptive and transformative technology has been slow, almost arduous. Italy’s stance towards cryptocurrencies is a bit deviating from the positive outlook of many other members of the EU.
The Regulatory Framework
While Italy, as part of the European Union, follows the roadmap and regulations laid down by the EU authorities, as a country, it isn’t very proactive in popularizing cryptocurrencies. Italy, like many other countries, does not have a clearly defined regulatory framework to govern cryptocurrencies. Italians do trade in cryptocurrencies through crypto exchanges, like Coinbase that accepts Italian residents. However, the revenue department of the Italian government identifies cryptocurrencies as foreign currency and taxes it at 26%.
The ambiguity in legal interpretation hit many crypto enthusiasts hard. The rationale that crypto wallets were not bank accounts, and thus, not liable to be taxed, was wrong. But when the Italian authorities changed the definition of the crypto wallet, they suddenly came under the purview of existing financial regulations.
However, the Italian government has taken a favourable stance in a bid to understand cryptocurrencies better. The Italian Treasury Department of the Ministry of Economy and Finance passed a legislative decree in February 2018. This decree explains how and when any crypto-related business should report its activity to the Ministry. This effort was seen by many as the government’s step towards understanding how citizens engage with cryptocurrencies, before the new asset class starts to impact the economy. However, the new decree throws up more confusion than clarity and only time can tell how the stakeholders react to it.
The Political Conditions in Italy and its Consequence on the Rise of Crypto
The political landscape in Europe is difficult. Many European countries have debts over 100% of their GDPs. And there is a rise of anti-European sentiment in many countries which eventually has a great impact on how governments are formed and constituted.
However, riding on the wave of populist sentiment, these new governments are now faced with the harsh reality of the current economic climate. Brexit is a case in point that has divided an entire nation into two groups and as good as destroyed the political future of many leaders.
The situation in Italy, though not that grave, isn’t very different. The new government experienced a stumbling block in the form of the president who refused to sign off on the list of new ministers of the coalition government. Italian leaders have played their part in the economic crisis the country is going through. Debt is at a staggering 2.3 trillion Euro.
So how does this impact the cryptocurrency market? Experts believe that with austerity measures and limits on having money in bank accounts, people will turn to this new asset class to protect their savings. This will lead to more people buying and transacting in cryptocurrencies because of their mistrust in the government, leading to the rise of the alternate financial ecosystem powered by cryptocurrencies.
Usability of Tokens and Mass Adoption
If statistics are to be believed, one in 10 Italians owns cryptocurrencies and 42% are interested in buying the digital currencies. The current economic scenario has gotten Italians closer to cryptocurrencies. Italy has one of the most active communities of blockchain and crypto around the world. Italians are finding novel ways to use cryptocurrencies in daily life.
The city of Naples was seriously mulling creating its own autonomous cryptocurrency to safeguard itself from what it called an “unfair debt” from the central government. Startups, private enterprises and even football clubs are all getting ready to use, or are already using, cryptocurrencies as payment.
How Italians ar Buying Crypto
Buying cryptocurrencies in Italy isn’t difficult. Many exchanges, including global leader Binance, allow Italians to register and trade cryptocurrencies. To drive wider adoption of cryptocurrencies in Italy, Binance has introduced a credit card feature that allows people to easily buy cryptocurrencies using their credit cards. The exchange has also launched a Europe-specific fiat-to-crypto platform.
There are many BTMs (Bitcoin ATMs) in major Italian towns that cater to the demand of Italians interested in buying cryptocurrencies. Bitit has physical stores that sell Bitcoin and other top cryptocurrencies through cash or card payments. Many entrepreneurs have also set up physical stores that sell cryptocurrencies. The rise in such stores is an indication of peoples’ preference of buying from a physical location, something they can trust.
The Future is Bright
The Italian case isn’t unique. The crypto craze in Italy is a result of the same forces that led to the creation of Bitcoin. Financial hegemony and an uncertain political landscape are at the heart of the Bitcoin revolution. The rise of crypto in Italy is no different.
It is now the prerogative of the government to take note of the direction in which the winds are blowing. They need to create a beneficial regulatory landscape that helps adoption and innovation. There are ventures that are using the limitless potential of the blockchain technology to create a decentralized financial ecosystem. Unbank is the world’s first platform that seeks to bring decentralized banking on the blockchain in an effort to leverage the full potential of this technology. By working closely with industry leaders and shapers of public perception, Unbank is making people aware of the advantages of blockchain banking. While this will help the common people, it will also help in reducing the burden on the financial system.
Unbank is on a mission to provide a wide range of transactions for the common people, by bringing more businesses and service providers under the Unbank ecosystem. This will go a long way in mass adoption of crypto, not only in Europe but in other regions of the world as well.
Italy needs to look at crypto as a means of helping solve the economic crisis the country finds itself in. This will benefit the future generations of the great nation of Italy.
Unbank positions itself as the first decentralised blockchain payment service in France. Check out https://unbank.mobi/ to know more about Unbank and its vision to revolutionise payments in our society.
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