31 Mar '14, 11am

Bitcoin is legally property, says US IRS. Does that kill it as a currency?

The news that bitcoin is to be treated as property by the IRS has sparked fear among fans of the cryptocurrency. But many of the concerns are overblown. America's Internal Revenue Service ruled on Tuesday that bitcoin should be treated more like stock than cash. On the one hand, that means that people who buy bitcoin and then sell it at a profit are potentially liable for lower taxes than they would otherwise be. On the other hand, it renders bitcoins significantly more difficult to use as a currency. Spending bitcoin on a product counts as cashing out, and so there would potentially be a capital gain to record in the user's accounts. In the simplest terms, if a bitcoin bought for $5 appreciates in value enough to be used to buy a $1,000 PC from Overstock.com, the customer would have to declare and pay tax on a $995 profit. That's concerning, but not the end of the world f...

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/mar/31/bitcoin...

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