BitPay Suspends Operations in Germany Over Regulatory Concerns

Michael LaVere
  • BitPay has suspended operations in Germany in response to new crypto regulations being imposed next year. 
  • New anti-money laundering policy will require crypto companies to obtain special licenses. 

Crypto payment processor BitPay has announced an indefinite suspension of operation in Germany as the company mulls over regulatory concerns. 

BitPay Halts Operation in Germany

According to a post published to the platform’s official website, BitPay addressed the issue of international users being unable to access the service. BitPay described itself as a US-based company that complies with “all mandated federal and local regulations.”

The post detailed how BitPay is barred from engaging with countries that are under sanction by the US, stating, 

“U.S. companies are prohibited from engaging economically or by trade with persons or businesses based in countries that are under trade and economic sanctions set forth by the U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC).”

BitPay also reports being in compliance with local regulations, including those that may have a ban on cryptocurrency. The policy states if you live in a country that has banned bitcoin or cryptocurrency, “we cannot offer our services to your business or customers.” Germany is listed among the countries that are currently off-limits to BitPay, alongside Egypt, Iraq and several others. 

While other countries may not be able to partake in BitPay’s bitcoin and bitcoin cash-based platform due to trade sanctions, Germany’s position in the EU is head-scratching for potential clients.

However, BitPay PR representative Jan Jahosky told CoinTelegraph their platform was mulling the impact of new crypto regulations coming next year. In the meantime, the company has decided to cease operations in Germany while they consider their options in light of new policy mandates. 

BitPay further clarified, 

“Germany has publicly stated that they want crypto companies to apply for a license starting in 2020. We have paused operations in Germany while we evaluate the need for German licenses.”

New Crypto Regulations

The change in policy for German cryptocurrency companies and users is in response to growing concerns over illicit activity. The new approval process is apart of a broader trend in anti-money laundering that will require crypto-based companies to obtain a Federal Financial Supervisory Authority-issued license. 

However, the policy shift is already causing headaches for German-based companies relying upon bitcoin. Information technology news outlet Computer Base said it would no longer be able to collect bitcoin for its subscription service, forcing users to turn to alternatives like PayPal. Computer Base is just one example of companies that rely upon the tools provided by BitPay for simplifying crypto payments.