Earlier this month, the Chairman of Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission Tseng Ming-chung had announced that bitcoin will be considered as an illegal asset in the country. The regulatory body had rushed to its decision following a kidnapping incident that involved a Hong Kong based businessman. The kidnappers had demanded bitcoin ransom for the businessman’s release.
Weeks after the decision, the Financial Supervisory Commission has decided to change its stance after observing the digital currency in action. Earlier today Tseng Ming-chung said that the Financial Supervisory Commission and the Central Bank of Taiwan have decided to treat bitcoin as a commodity instead of currency. By doing so, both the government bodies will be removing bitcoin from their purview.
However, according to few reports in Taiwanese media the Financial Supervisory Commission will soon be issuing an advisory to all the local banks, deterring them from accepting bitcoin as payments or third party receipts. The use of bitcoin in one of the leading supermarket chains in Taiwan in association with BitoEX, a bitcoin company was also discussed during the financial committee hearing.
Many supermarkets in the country allow shoppers to indirectly pay with bitcoin. BitoEX had partnered with FamilyMart chain of supermarkets along with few other smaller supermarket chains where BitoEX users could pay with coupons bought using bitcoin. Similarly, MaiCoin and other bitcoin companies have made it possible for their users to buy bitcoin by paying at supermarkets with cash or card.
The use of bitcoin is gradually growing across the world, and bitcoin companies in places like Taiwan have adapted to the market by finding new ways to get more people on-board.
Bitcoin is still considered illegal in many countries. Recently the finance ministry in Russia has drafted a new law which makes converting bitcoin to ruble a punishable offence which can lead to up to 4 years in prison.