The German regulatory practice has been to treat bitcoin as a unit of account and thus a financial instrument. Consequently, commercial services involving bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies (including trading, brokerage, operating exchanges, investment advisory ) are regulated activities, requiring the relevant authorisation of Germany's Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht, or BaFin). On 25 September 2018 the Higher Regional Court of Berlin decided that bitcoin is not a financial instrument and that the operation of a bitcoin trading platform is not a regulated activity. Caution should be exercised, however: the decision of the court is not binding on BaFin. To read more about the case in question and what is next, click here.
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