The Bulgarian Stock Exchange (BSE) has reportedly enabled local investors to bet on the price movements of bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH).
In addition, Finance Minister Assen Vassilev stated that the nation is exploring options for rolling out a crypto payment mechanism.
BTC аnd ETH Bets Are Now Allowed
According to a local coverage, as of today (February 16), Bulgarian investors are able to bet on the price fluctuations of the two largest digital assets – bitcoin and ether.
The initiative does not allow traders to purchase cryptocurrencies directly. Instead, they will be able to invest in exchange-traded commodities (ETCs) and exchange-traded notes (ETNs), which will still grant exposure.
Shares of global giants such as Apple, Samsung, Porsche, Volkswagen, Pfizer, Moderna, and many more are already tradeable at the BSE International. Furthermore, the exchange plans to list four additional funds focused on cryptocurrencies – VanEck ETP, 21Shares, ETC Issuance, and Wisdom Tree.
Bulgaria seems like it is opening its arms towards the digital asset realm. Last month, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance – Assen Vassilev – announced that the government intends to explore crypto payment techniques “in the short to medium term.” Nonetheless, he doubted that the nation could become a major digital asset mining hub.
Bulgaria’s Crypto History
The Balkan country and a member of the European Union since 2007 is not among the nations that make the headlines in the cryptocurrency space. The rules in the industry there are relatively simple – local investors do not need a license to delve into the asset class. On the other hand, bitcoin and the altcoins are taxable, like any other income from selling financial assets.
A thorough research, though, shows that Bulgaria and cryptocurrencies share a rather delicate history. Multiple reports from 2017 informed that the local authorities confiscated 213,519 BTC from illegal miners during an operation against monetary crimes. Back then, “Balkan Interpol” confirmed the news, while Chief Public Prosecutor Ivan Geshev denied such seizure.
It is worth noting that the latter was a target of mass protests last year. Thousands of Bulgarians flooded the streets of the nation’s largest cities, alleging him of corruption and insisting on his resignation. Geshev is under the scope of the newly formed ruling body, too, which already took measures to remove him from office.
However, there’s little-to-no information on what happened with the country’s BTC stash. While some reports suggest that they were sold, it’s still unconfirmed. In case Bulgaria still HODLs, it would mean that the country is one of the biggest BTC whales. The USD value equals more than $9 billion. For a nation with a GDP of around $77 billion last year, this number sounds quite significant.
Surprisingly, this topic was swept aside in the last couple of years. The newly assigned government, however, brought it back into question. Earlier this year, MP Ivaylo Marchev requested detailed information about the seizure and the whereabouts of the holdings from the Minister of Internal Affairs – Boiko Rashkov. The latter has still not responded to that appeal.