Cryptocurrencies started to affect the world the moment they appeared. And while northern Europe was certainly not the first place they took off, the Nordic countries quickly got a whiff of blockchain technology.
The involvement of various Japanese and US software developers in mining quickly spread crypto knowledge around the world. And the news soon reached countries like Norway and Sweden. Those are not the only two Nordic countries, but we'll focus on their stories here.
The first time cryptocurrencies were addressed in Norway was in 2013. That year, the Norwegian Financial Supervisory Authority, which is the financial regulator of the country, issued warnings about cryptocurrency, deeming it a dangerous tradable asset. However, the same thing happened in 2018, when most of the world was aware of the blockchain. Both of these warnings were driven by the European Supervisory Authority. The Central Bank of Norway never called cryptocurrencies illegal, but never really supported them either. They do, however, allow their staff to hold and maintain cryptocurrencies without any intervention.
The next big thing in terms of cryptos in Norway was when Bitcoin was categorized as capital property. That meant that monetary gains and losses on trading it would be taxed by the local authorities. Even today, every crypto trader in the community is expected to report their gains and losses to the relevant tax agencies.
However, according to the opinion expressed by Norskecasino's editor Peter Solberg (get acquainted with this article here), one of the most turbulent times was when cryptocurrencies were endangering the online gaming regulation of Norway. It was interference on the highest level as the population was using cryptos for anonymous transactions on foreign, unlicensed platforms. Regulations dictate that only two state-owned companies have the right to offer gaming services to the community.
The last crypto development in Norway was when the Central Bank exempted them from VAT payments after an EU law implementation. Despite the fact that Norway is not a part of the EU, it still tries to mimic all of the legislation. Currently, all crypto companies are able to "sell" their services and goods to outside sources without having to pay the extra 25% VAT.
Sweden has been much more open when it comes to cryptocurrency. Its first crypto announcement was in 2013, when the central bank of Sweden warned the population about the dangers of handling crypto. In 2014, though, the Swedish tax agency published guidelines on how it would collect tax on Bitcoins mined in 2013.
Soon after that, reports started coming from Sweden that more and more of the country's population was leaving cash in the past and switching directly to the digital economy. There were even reports that around 10,000 Swedes implanted microchips in their hands for payments. This was quickly spun in the direction of cryptos, with multiple crypto ATM owners promising chips in the near future. This was followed up by direct warnings from the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority stating that cryptocurrency was "not money" and did not in any sense resemble currency. This led to disputes about the taxation dilemma, but that was quickly cleared and the tax remained.
Overall, Swedish lawmakers quickly saw the potential of the blockchain and encouraged it by exempting it from the VAT. This allowed Swedish crypto companies to provide services and goods to the EU community for years now.
There are numerous plans for the Nordic countries in terms of cryptocurrencies. Norway, for example, boasts an independent city whose whole economy is built around blockchain and is mentioned as a libertarian utopia. Sweden has those crypto chips coming up and multiple partnerships with its neighbors regarding cryptos.
The largest development for the future however is the advancement of the IOTA and NTNU (Norwegian Technical University) partnership for converting the country's software developers into blockchain experts. Overall, things are looking up.