Hannes Helenius, FA Solutions: Cryptocurrencies and blockchain should be as globally harmonized as they can be
There should not be country specific legislation of cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology. Instead, this should be as globally harmonized as it can be. But cryptocurrencies are becoming more accepted and a more regulated asset class. That is a point of view voiced by a speaker of Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Finland, Chairman of the Board at FA Solutions Hannes Helenius. We interviewed him about the development of crypto industry in Finland and all over the globe. The expert also provided approaches towards digital assets regulation.
Interviewer: Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Finland (BCF)
Respondent: Hannes Helenius (H.H.)
BCF: Can you please describe the current state of the cryptocurrency industry in Finland? How popular is blockchain? Are the authorities investigating the technology?
H.H.: Finland has a fairly advanced situation in the cryptocurrency realm. As we have some successful trading platforms, successful cryptocurrencies, and periodic ICOs. There is a consumer segment who have already invested in cryptos years ago.
Finland is also considered as a very tech-oriented country and thus blockchain is one of the hot topics, but mainly for businesses. The authorities have stated just recently a plan to utilize blockchain and they have stated their view about cryptos from legal perspective. This is mainly due to fact that Finnish authorities follow EU regulations instead of introducing their own ones.
BCF: There aren’t any special strict regulations of cryptocurrencies in the country. What is the authorities’ current attitude towards bitcoin?
H.H.: I would say that there are as many opinions as there are people in discussion, but current legislations are in some part there and some parts coming up. However, as EU recently announced they shall apply the AML rules to the cryptos too, this is an indication that cryptocurrencies are becoming more accepted and a more regulated asset class.
BCF: In your opinion, does Finland need a state regulation of cryptocurrencies and blockchain? Which country could serve the best model to follow?
H.H.: In my opinion there should not be country specific legislation of cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology. Instead this should be as globally harmonized as it can be. As far as I see it, the most difficult part is to harmonize tax rules with cryptocurrencies – if any.
BCF: Many countries are nowadays trying to take a leading position in the industry. For instance, Malta’s ambition is to become a world’s center of blockchain tech development. Switzerland strives to be Crypto Valley. What are plans of Finland?
H.H.: Many countries drive different initiatives to become a leader or a hub for both cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. In my opinion, the business side will make their own calls based on commercial parameters rather than country specific sandboxes or others. For start-ups it might make sense to look around, but for real businesses your focus is towards your clients. Having said this, Finland is not being outperformed in creating new initiatives for these.
BCF: Cryptocurrency ban has been in the center of media discussions for a long time. However, is it likely to happen in the reality? Is it possible at all?
H.H.: I do not see total ban of cryptocurrencies for three reasons. First, currently the assets in cryptocurrencies are tiny compared to derivatives or any other asset class. Second, some countries or central banks have their own plan to introduce more regulated electronic currencies. Third, today investors are more and more aware of scams and quality proven ICOs than only few years ago. This demonstrates that the market itself is going and progressing in the right direction. We have to understand that both the media and the markets are in love with the volatility of cryptocurrencies.
BCF: One suggests that effective functioning of cryptocurrencies can be reached only due to global regulations. Is that idea feasible? Can you please outline the most important aspects of this issue?
H.H.: As I said already, in my opinion there should not be country specific legislation of cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology. Blockchain is a technology which can be used in many different types of businesses or administrations – best use cases are volume intensive and those are global. The biggest issues with cryptocurrencies and its legislation is the taxation and AML. As long as there is no mechanism to control those two, there will be dispute among the parties involved.
BCF: You will speak at Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Finland. What will your presentation be dedicated to?
H.H.: I will be one of the panelists during the conference and based on my background I shall focus more on current trends with cryptos in the wealth management industry and we can’t avoid the regulatory topics nowadays. If I may highlight in few words how I see the future – it will be better for investors, service providers, and especially those ones who are willing to do everything by the book.
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