Technology, commerce, and the economy have been moving forward. Creating sources of commercial exchange other than the current legal currencies, shaping the creation of a globalized world that is almost one hundred percent digital.
The emergence of a form of payment such as “cryptocurrencies” is undoubtedly a fundamental part of these advances. In general terms, cryptocurrencies can be defined as virtual assets that use cryptographic encryption to guarantee their ownership and ensure the integrity of transactions. It also controls the creation of additional units, i.e., to prevent someone from making copies, for example, through a photo, among others. These coins do not exist in physical form since they are typically stored in a digital wallet. Now, according to Banco de México, a Virtual Asset can be defined as:
- A unit of information does not represent the holding of any underlying asset at par. And that is univocally identifiable, even fractionally, stored electronically.
- The issuance control is defined using predetermined protocols to which third parties can subscribe.
- It has rules that prevent replicas of the information unit or its fractions from being available for transmission more than once simultaneously.
Since it is a virtual and not a physical asset, many countries have proposed various actions to achieve recognition. And to allow transactions to be carried out through such technological means. Some of these countries, for example, have gradually allowed the purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies. Provided that brokerage firms have the official authorization and recognize the use of virtual assets and bitcoins to carry out commercial operations. However, many other countries have been exploring the need to issue their own cryptocurrency.
According to recent publications in Mexico, 12% of the adult population owns some cryptocurrency, making our country the ninth nation with the highest rate of possessing these instruments worldwide. From our point of view, this percentage has been increasing exponentially, considering that the use of cash in the country is still daily.
Mexico is among the 10 nations with the highest adoption rate of cryptocurrencies. Only behind Nigeria, which has an adoption rate of 24.2% of its population, Malaysia (18%), Australia (17.7), Indonesia (16.75), Hong Kong (15.8%), Singapore (15.6%), India (15.4%) and the Philippines (13.3%).
Therefore, financial institutions in Mexico have begun to conduct various studies and opinions in the industry regarding the possible tax treatment that should be given to the use of virtual assets by taxpayers. Taking into consideration mainly some of the recommendations of the BEPS project regarding tax planning strategies used when there are certain discrepancies and inconsistencies between national tax systems.
The current legal framework with cryptocurrencies
Around the world, cryptocurrencies find themselves in different legal situations depending on the country in which the focus is placed. In most of these regions, their use for transactions is not expressly prohibited. This is precisely what happens in Spain, Mexico, and the United States.
There is another legal scenario in which it is possible to carry out commercial transactions as long as banks are not involved. Which is the case in areas such as Canada or Colombia. Meanwhile, paying with cryptocurrencies in regions such as Saudi Arabia or Vietnam is forbidden. Finally, they are formally illegal in some countries, including China and Morocco.
Taxation of cryptocurrencies
Taxation is beginning to contemplate cryptocurrencies, given the gains and losses they can generate for investors. In the case of Spain, it became mandatory to declare investments in cryptocurrencies in the Income Tax Return in 2021. In this new model, a new box for virtual currencies is included. It is required to detail the gains in the “Capital gains and losses derived from transfers of other capital items .”They must be made, specifically, in a box . Losses can also be declared to obtain deductions, being optional in this case.
In the European framework, the countries with the most attractive taxation for cryptocurrency investors are Portugal, Germany, and Switzerland, since they do not require the profits to be declared. In other cases, digital businesses are starting to come into play without a clear line regarding virtual currencies. This happens with Bermuda and its “Digital Assets Business Act,” passed in 2018 and excludes the payment of taxes for cryptocurrencies.
We can affirm that the landscape is changing worldwide with the irruption of these new assets. At first, they seemed like a new trend, but finally, they have been installed as one more new investment product. Nowadays, the best way to get up to date to make investments and know the market’s reality is to be trained with a Master’s in Finance. That can offer a better orientation on the finances of the 21st century and its different trends. Among the primary knowledge taught are cryptocurrencies and new investment concepts.