Cross Border Regulatory Competition to attract Bitcoin ventures

Many Bitcoin ventures are classic micro-multinationals – tiny businesses that operate globally through a virtual office.

In 2009, I was COO of ReadWriteWeb, which was run through virtual offices. Richard Macmanus was in New Zealand, Marshall Kirkpatrick was in Portland, I was in New York and we had writers and tech folks in other locations.

Ethereum is another example of a micro-multinational, one that makes ReadWriteWeb seem simple.

Ethereum have developers in Berlin and Amsterdam and Vitalik seems to be based in Ontario when he is not on a ‘plane and London seems to be a kind of operational head office and the Foundation is in Switzerland.

Got that? Confused?

How do you think regulators feel?

The point is that ventures with a globally distributed team can choose their regulatory jurisdiction. Unlike a physically based business, the regulatory jurisdiction is not imposed upon them, it is an active decision.

Three Bitcoin regulatory stories caught my eye:
Finland Classifies Bitcoin as VAT-Exempt Financial Service


Proposed US Law Calls For Five-Year Moratorium on Bitcoin Regulation


Lawsky softens ‘BitLicense’ requirements


Each story is significant on their own. Together they show that Governments are aware that the value creation around Bitcoin can be big and they want as much of that value creation to happen within their borders (and tax jurisdiction).

Back in August I wrote that London was emerging as the Bitcoin capital of the world and one reason was the tech savvy forward-looking regulators, particularly in comparison with the heavy-handed first version of the Bit License in New York.

This competition among regulators to attract Bitcoin entrepreneurs is a healthy sign. It shows that we are well past the days when a government or regulator can simply “close down Bitcoin”. That is now likely to be as effective as Mubarak closing down the Internet in Egypt.



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