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1  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Crowdfunding legal costs for case at the EU Court of Justice about Bitcoin/VAT on: August 21, 2014, 07:14:08 PM
Update 26th of August

I have great news! One donor (who wants to remain anonymous for now) has agreed to cover all costs for the written submission that is due in a few weeks. This made it possible for me to hire Mannheimer Swartling, a very reputable Swedish law firm with the necessary experience of the EU court as well as VAT questions related to financial institutions. This means that I am not looking for more funds at this point. We will assess the financial situation again if and when there is an oral hearing coming up. At that point it might be necessary to raise more funds.

Big thanks to everyone who has contributed so far! (money, legal assistance, contacts etc. – I have received a lot of friendly e-mails and phone calls this past week).

I now have a lot of contacts that can offer insight into the situation in other EU countries. I will pass this information on to my lawyer and we will of course try to learn as much as possible about the legal status in other countries but there won't be time to talk to everyone. There is one thing that everyone in other EU countries can do to help and that is to lobby your own government! All EU countries have the oppurtunity to intervene in the case and the more countries we have on our side the better.

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Original post

As some of you may already know there is an ongoing case regarding Bitcoin and VAT exemption in Sweden and the EU. The Supreme Administrative Court (“Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen”) has now requested a preliminary ruling from the EU Court of Justice. The case, C-264/14, can be found here and has been covered quite a lot in media (Bloomberg, Law360, CoinDesk).

I got involved in this simply by asking for an advance ruling in Sweden because I wanted to start selling bitcoin on my site bitcoin.se. It has now escalated and I find myself in a situation where my case will likely decide if and how VAT should be applied to Bitcoin throughout the EU.

It took me a while to realize the significance of this case and I have to appoint a top law firm team here in Sweden that can prepare a written submission (and we’re short on time here - this has to be done in 3 weeks) as well as a potential oral hearing later on. The Swedish counsel will also cooperate with interested parties throughout Europe to get input and support from other European countries if deemed necessary. I am currently discussing with teams at three of Swedens top firms in VAT and EU-law. After asking about the costs I have received fee estimates that range from 22 000 to 38 000 EUR (approximately 56 to 96 bitcoin at the time of writing).

So here is my problem. There is no way that I can finance this personally. I don’t have enough commercial interest in the case to throw all of my savings on it, the business that we wanted to start on bitcoin.se has not been launched so there is no money there. This is why I am now reaching out to the Bitcoin community.

Disclaimer: Donating is in no way a guarantee that we will win the case but if I can’t raise the money the risks are dramatically increased that I will lose since I will have to deal with the court proceedings on my own (which one of the parties I have discussed the case with has described as “catastrophical” for Bitcoin in Europe).

If the donated money is in excess of the costs I will donate the excess funds to Bitcoin organizations in Europe. If, for some reason, none of the funds raised are used I will return all bitcoins to the sender address (so make sure that you donate from an address that you control!)

-----------------------------------------------------
Please send your donations to this Bitcoin address:
(no more donations necessary at this point)
-----------------------------------------------------

About me
My name is David Hedqvist and have been running bitcoin.se since early 2012. I am a moderator of the Scandinavian forum section at bitcointalk.org and I have also been a moderator at bitcoin.stackexchange.com since its launch.

I will post this message on bitcoin.se, on bitcointalk.org where my name is D.H. and on Reddit where my name is D_H_. If you read about the case on curia.europa.eu or in media you can confirm that the case is about David Hedqvist and bitcoin.se. Feel free to send me a PM or an e-mail to david@bitcoin.se if you have any questions.

You may also contact Dr. Thaer Sabri (thaer@flawlessmoney.com), Chief Executive of Electronic Money Association, to confirm the legitimacy of this fund raiser.
2  Local / Skandinavisk / Posting guidelines on: January 17, 2014, 07:50:03 PM
Welcome to the Scandinavian forum! We don't have a lot of rules but

  • Posts should be in Danish, Norwegian or Swedish (or sometimes English, see below for details). The reason that we use the strictest definition of Scandinavia and don't allow posts in Finnish or Icelandic is that we want all posts to be understandable by everyone. One of the main reasons for having this forum is to build a local community and if we would allow other languages we would simply get multiple communities in one forum. But that doesn't mean that all you awesome people from Finland and Iceland are totally banned here, because...

  • Sometimes we allow posts in English. One great example of this would be when our Finnish friends want to have a meetup in Stockholm. Or if someone is going to Sweden for a holiday and wants some help from fellow Bitcoiners. Also, people living in Scandinavia that only speak English but want to connect with Scandinavians are welcome to post in English.

  • Advertisements and announcements of new products and services are generally not allowed unless they specifically target a Scandinavian audience. So, translating an announcement of a random altcoin to one of the Scandinavian languages is not enough, but announcing a new Danish Bitcoin exchange is totally fine.

 
3  Local / Skandinavisk / Kapiton phishing-försök on: November 21, 2013, 07:18:55 AM
Några trådar skapades idag på bitcointalk.org samt forum.bitcoin.se som försökte lura folk att logga in med sin Kapiton-inloggning på en extern sida. Gör inte det!

Trådarna skapades av en helt ny användare (trots att Sebastian redan har en användare) och använde en Gmail-adress istället för en Kapiton-adress. Inläggen länkade till en sajt som ej ligger på kapiton.se-domänen så det råder inget tvivel om att det var ett phishing-försök.

Jag har mejlat Sebastian på Kapiton.
4  Bitcoin / Legal / Good news regarding Bitcoin and VAT in Sweden on: October 21, 2013, 07:45:00 PM
This is related to the thread Bitcoin and VAT in the EU but I think that it deserves its own thread. About a year ago I requested an advance ruling from Skatterättsnämnden (“the tax board”?) in Sweden regarding Bitcoin and VAT. An advance ruling in this case means that their decision is legally binding for the tax agency in Sweden (“Skatteverket”) and a general administrative court (“allmän förvaltningsdomstol”) if the applicant wants to use it. The case that I presented was that I would be buying bitcoins from an exchange (e.g. Mt.Gox) and then sell them on to Swedish customers. Last week I finally received their decision and it was good news!

First of all, they state that exchanging between regular currency and Bitcoin does not imply consumtion, i.e. Bitcoin is not treated as a good or a service, so there is no VAT on bitcoins themselves. With regards to VAT it is treated as any other currency.

Second of all, they reach the decision that the service that I provide is also excempt from VAT, i.e. there should be no VAT added to the commission that I would take.

I have written about this in Swedish on bitcoin.se with some quotes from the ruling but it is hard for me to translate the legal stuff to english. I only have it on paper right now but the ruling will be public on the homepage of Skatträttsnämnden, hopefully later this week.
5  Local / Skandinavisk / SEB:s chefsstrateg om Bitcoin on: April 24, 2013, 06:56:16 PM
Chefsstrategen på den svenska storbanken SEB har skrivit en artikel om Bitcoin och jag har också kommenterat den på bitcoin.se. Det är en saklig och i stort sett korrekt artikel, betydligt bättre skriven än annat man sett i svensk press på sista tiden. Intressant att läsa hur han ser på framtiden:

Quote
Argumentet att bitcoin skulle utgöra ett hot mot och konkurrera ut vanliga banker stämmer dock inte. Det finns inga teoretiska hinder för vanliga banker att öppna filialer på internet och där erbjuda konton, lån och andra banktjänster i bitcoin på precis samma sätt som man redan gör i alla andra valutor. Faktum är att en sådan utveckling är högst trolig om bitcion växer till att bli kommersiellt intressant samtidigt som eventuella legala frågetecken rätas ut.
6  Local / Skandinavisk / Intervju, Göteborgs studentradio on: April 15, 2013, 03:07:30 PM
Jag blev i helgen intervjuad i programmet Tamburen på Göteborgs studentradio. Programmet finns som podcast här och inslaget om pengar börjar vid ca 15:35. Det är först en intervju med en nationalekonom och sedan kommer jag in.
7  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / This is how easy it is to accept Bitcoin donations - my little showcase on: January 16, 2013, 08:06:44 PM
A while ago I watched this video about Swedbank's and MasterCard's plans to make Sweden a cashless society. There was a scene with a church showing off their "kollektomat", simply a terminal where you can make a donation using your credit card instead of making the traditional cash donation.



It got me thinking about how much the church might have paid MasterCard for that terminal and how much of their donations that are now shared with MasterCard. So, I thought that there should be a way to show people how incredibly easy it would be for them to start accepting Bitcoin donations, and that's why I made this:

http://accept.bitcoin.se

It is based on the code from bitaddress.org, so big thanks to them! It's currently available in English and Swedish, let me know if you wanna translate it to some other language.

8  Bitcoin / Legal / Financial Supervisory Authority in Sweden consider Bitcoin a "means of payment" on: December 08, 2012, 11:24:45 AM
A few days ago I wrote on bitcoin.se (in Swedish) about a reply from the Financial Supervisory Authority where they consider Bitcoin to be a "means of payment" (I don't know what the correct English term for that is). Anyway, what this means is that if you want to run a business that buys/sells bitcoins you now have to register with the authority and get their approval.

My hope is that this will make things clearer regarding the VAT situation. If the financial authorities consider it a means of payment it should be hard for the tax authorities to consider it an "electronic service" that is subject to VAT (as they have previously stated). I haven't yet gotten any new information from the tax authorities regarding this though.
9  Local / Skandinavisk / Finnish Bitcoin community coming to Stockholm - meetup? on: October 23, 2012, 07:08:36 PM
I'll write this in English so that our Finnish friends can understand it. Technomage has organized a cruise for the Finnish Bitcoin community and they will be in Stockholm on the 25th of November (a Sunday). Sounds like a great oppurtunity for a meetup. So, who's interested and how can we organize it?

From http://www.facebook.com/events/436383989752089/ :

"The ship is Silja Serenade and it'll leave Helsinki in the afternoon of the 24th (Saturday) of November and it comes back to Finland in the morning of the 26th (Monday). So it's two nights at the boat and one day in Stockholm.

6 people have confirmed and bought tickets already. One can also participate in this event by helping us organize a meetup in Stockholm. We're very interested in meeting Swedish Bitcoin enthusiasts."
10  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Swish! on: October 15, 2012, 08:14:22 PM
By the end of this year the largest banks in Sweden launch a service that makes it possible to send money to a friend using your IPhone/Android phone by just knowing his/her phone number. The money will be at the receiver's bank account instantly, even if you don't use the same bank. Basically everyone in Sweden has an account with one of these banks and it sounds like it will be easy to activate the service by logging on to your online bank and providing your phone number. I think that this service will be quite a success.

Now, I want to be able to tell people that this is just as easy with Bitcoin with the added benefit of being able to send money to your friends all over the world. One key selling point that I see with Swish is that I just need to know someone's phone number. So, how close to this are we in the Bitcoin world? What can I recommend to people that is just as easy as Swish?


11  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Non-profit mining organization on: March 08, 2012, 12:59:45 PM
I had this idea of a non-profit organization with the sole purpose of helping secure the Bitcoin network. It would accept donations, buy mining equipment and use all of its profit to pay off electricity and to buy more mining equipment. With some donations I think it could eventually grow to be a rather big player in the mining business.

People who want to contribute to the Bitcoin network but don't have the time or technical skill to mine or run their own client could instead make donations to the organization. Mining farms could be spread out over the world and run by members of the organization that want to contribute.

I just came up with the idea so I don't have any details regarding anything, just thought I'd throw the idea out there to see if there is any interest or opinions.
12  Bitcoin / Legal / Bitcoin and VAT in the EU on: February 29, 2012, 07:46:45 PM
I have tried to sort out what applies regarding Bitcoin and VAT in Sweden and since some of the rules regarding VAT are harmonized within EU I thought that I'd share this in order to get some feedback from other EU citizens. These are my conclusions (I'm not an expert in this field so feel free to point out any errors or terms that I use incorrectly):

 * Finansinspektionen ("Financial Services Authority"?) in Sweden tell me that they do not consider Bitcoin a currency.
 * The Swedish Tax Agency tell me that I should treat Bitcoin as an "electronic service".

Everything that is delivered electronically is considered a "service" instead of a "commodity", there are a few differences in taxation but I don't think that's what's important here. What's important is that since Bitcoin is not considered a currency a purchase with bitcoins will be considered barter. In barter, one should look each transaction separately so that if e.g. a customer (private individual) buys a table from a company and pays with bitcoins these 2 transactions should be considered:

 1. The customer bought a table from the company
 2. The company bought some bitcoins from the customer

I the first transaction VAT is added by the company and recorded as output VAT. In the second transaction there is no VAT since the purchase is from a private individual. Later when the company wants to get rid of the bitcoins this will be considered a sale of bitcoins (regardless of whether they are exchanged for some currency or if something is bought using them) and then VAT should be added to the sale and recorded as output VAT.

From what I can understand this is a bit problematic. It will be hard for the company to exchange the bitcoins since they must add VAT (in Sweden this is 25%) to the "sale". No private individual will buy at that price since they can buy from eachother with no VAT. Some other company could possibly buy them since they can deduct the VAT but at some point some company will have to return the bitcoins to an individual.

Have other people in the EU reached similar conclusions? If my conclusions are correct it is a pretty big obstacle in getting merchants to start accepting Bitcoin.

For Swedish readers, I have started a similar topic in Swedish at bitcoin.se.
13  Local / Skandinavisk / Översättning av klienten till svenska on: October 09, 2011, 07:11:29 PM
Angående Gavin's inlägg här. Är någon intresserad av att göra en insats och översätta den nya klienten till svenska? Om någon påbörjar en översättning kan ni väl skriva ett inlägg här så att inte flera av oss jobbar på samma sak. Om ingen annan nappar kollar jag förmodligen på det om några dagar.

Hur som helst tror jag att det är bra om vi är flera som kollar igenom översättningen (den förra hade en del brister), använd gärna den här tråden även för diskussioner om översättningen.
14  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Pull request for translation - who reviews it? on: September 25, 2011, 09:34:13 AM
I'd like to make some improvements to the Swedish translation of the client. I understand the technical side of making a pull request etc., but will my request be accepted? There aren't many people in the project who can judge if the Swedish translation is good or not, so will it simply be accepted if noone opposes it?

Previous Swedish translations seem to have been commited by codler, is this person "responsible" for the Swedish translation? Related to this, is there anywhere I can see a list of people who have permissions to make a pull?
15  Other / Meta / Moderator for scandinavian forum? on: August 26, 2011, 05:56:51 PM
Is there no moderator at all for the scandinavian forum? 5 of the last 6 topics are spam and they have been there for 4 days now. I reported them yesterday but they have not been removed.

I'll volunteer if no one else does, there's not a lot of activity in that forum so it wouldn't be too hard.
16  Local / Skandinavisk / Bitcoin.se - vad vill ni se? on: August 25, 2011, 05:09:31 PM
Jag planerar att starta upp www.bitcoin.se under en relativt snar framtid. Min tanke är att det kan bli en portal för att locka svenska användare. Alltså, introduktion på svenska, busenkla instruktioner för hur man börjar använda Bitcoin, troligtvis en nyhetsfokuserad blogg, ett forum. Någon gång hoppas jag också vi kan ordna ett nybörjarvänligt sätt att köpa Bitcoins i Sverige, utan att behöva skapa konton på utländska exchanges och föra över pengar till utländska bankkonton.

Vad mer kan vi göra, rent konkret, för att få svenskar att börja använda Bitcoin? Vad vill ni att bitcoin.se ska vara?
17  Bitcoin / Project Development / [ANNOUNCE] BitcoinPoster.com (free ad space for first 25 thread replies) on: August 23, 2011, 05:11:00 PM
Bitcoin Poster is a site similar to the well known million dollar homepage but with the purpose of promoting Bitcoin. Pixels can only be bought using bitcoins and links must point to something related to bitcoin (this could be an exchange, a blog, an information site, a merchant accepting bitcoin, a news article, or even your own forum profile page). Pixels are 1 bitcent/pixel and are bought in blocks of 10x10 pixels (1 BTC/block).

The first 25 people to respond to this post with two block numbers will get those two blocks (200 pixels) for free. That includes an image, a link and a mouseover text (max 50 characters). Forum accounts created today (or later) are not eligible.

For buying additional pixels simply send an e-mail to bitcoinposter@gmail.com with the subject "Order" and information on what blocks you want to buy. Check out the site for terms and conditions.

Welcome!

www.bitcoinposter.com
18  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Who updates www.bitcoin.org? on: June 23, 2011, 03:50:58 PM
Hi,

I posted this in "project development" but did not get a single answer, so I'll try here instead (someone should know).

There has been some discussions on the forum about changing things on the web page, for example changing "virtual currency" to "digital currency". Who is in charge of updating it? How do we get it done?
19  Bitcoin / Project Development / Who updates www.bitcoin.org? on: June 22, 2011, 06:46:35 PM
Hi all,

There has been some discussions on the forum about changing things on the web page, for example changing "virtual currency" to "digital currency". Who is in charge of updating it? How do we get it done?
20  Bitcoin / Wallet software / User friendly client initiative on: June 12, 2011, 02:48:50 PM
There have been many different threads about Bitcoin being too complicated to attract the general public. I'll start writing a client that tries to address a number of these issues and it would be great to get some feedback and suggestions. Here are some sketches and thoughts.

One problem is that it's too complicated for users to keep their money safe, they shouldn't have to care about that wallet.dat file. Still, they might not be comfortable using online wallets (at least not until som big, reputable company starts offering them). So, my plan is to use dropbox.com, google docs or some similar service where the user has an account to store their files. The wallet file is stored in their own account, but the client does the uploading/downloading transparently. So, when starting the client, the user enters their dropbox/google/whatever credentials, the client then downloads the wallet and presents it.




The status of a transfer is visualized by some simple progress indicator, rather than "78 confirmations" that doesn't mean anything to a regular user. The connection to the network is indicated as "poor", "good", "very good" or something similar, instead of "8 connections".

For storing a wallet with lots of money you might want higher security so there will be an option of securing an account so that the wallet file is encrypted before it's uploaded to the cloud service. This means that the user will have to enter a separate password when accessing that account, so that the client can decrypt the file.



The constantly changing bitcoin address should be hidden as much as possible from the user. A contact list where the user can send/receive money to/from friends should be easy to use. If the user wants some money from a friend he can click "request payment" which will send an e-mail to the friend with an URI that can be clicked. The friend will click the link which will open up his client with a confirmation box of sending amount X to the user (just the user's name, not the bitcoin address is presented). The bitcoin address is saved by the client so that the friend can send another payment to our user, but my hope is that we can get people to use the "request payment" flow, so that new bitcoin addresses can be generated for each transfer.



I will start developing this, it will be a windows program since that is what I know best, and I will make it open source when it is released so that people can be confident that it doesn't do anything shady. If anyone wants to use this to develop a similar client for another OS, please just go ahead! Let us know about it in this thread. As long as the wallet/contacts files are stored in a well defined place in the user's google/dropbox account, it would be easy for a user to access the same accounts from a computer, a smart phone etc.

Please suggest improvements to my ideas and add other things that will make Bitcoin more user friendly. I will do this in my spare time so it will not be ready tomorrow. If anyone wants to encourage me feel free to send something to 17FwVHLYS9D2S1v7KeXiY7r4VaB91dpcfa Smiley
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