Montenegro is ready – albeit remaining cautious

The cryptocurrency affair stirred up the public ahead of the parliamentary elections, but also shed light on a relatively new industry in Montenegrin.

Source: rtcg, investitor
Ilustracija: Shutterstock/Lukas Gojda
Ilustracija: Shutterstock/Lukas Gojda

All those who understand the matter claim that the wealthiest individuals in the world and the largest institutions are entering the crypto industry and that Montenegro, as a small country, has a chance to profit if it becomes one of the first to regulate this field.

"There are two main benefits in my opinion. One is tax regulation, where profits from cryptocurrency trading will be regulated, and the state will collect revenues that it currently doesn't. The other aspect is building an industry and creating new jobs," said economic analyst Mr. Novak Svrkota.

On the other hand, caution in regulating the crypto market is evident in the Ministry of Finance, which warned about significant opportunities for misuse. It was announced that they are preparing a draft law that will be open for public discussion during the next year and then submitted to the parliament for approval, as reported by the local Investitor portal.

"Cryptocurrency trading is a trend, but it opens up a huge, enormous, unimaginable space for money laundering. It provides a practically painless way to legalize all illegal activities, without cash transactions and leaving any trace in payment processes. I would be extremely cautious and wouldn't rush and take the lead as Montenegro in relation to this endeavor," stated Finance Minister Aleksandar Damjanović.

While the Ministry of Finance doesn't have an official figure on how much cryptocurrency trading takes place in Montenegro, Mr. Svrkota, who is engaged in cryptocurrency trading himself, emphasizes that several thousand Montenegrin citizens are involved in it.

"Now is the moment when cryptocurrencies are in decline and there isn't as much interest. Last year, at its peak, I would say that over 10,000 people in Montenegro were involved in trading," Svrkota said.

The fact that trading is active is proven by the recent installation of a crypto ATM, called a kriptomat, in Tivat, where cryptocurrencies are traded. According to the current Finance Minister, the ATM is not currently operational, and all trading conducted on it was illegal since the market is not regulated.

"Anything that isn't regulated by law and doesn't have a legal basis can't function within the system until legal conditions are established. From the perspective of the Ministry of Finance, we will work to prevent illegal operations or provide such information to the relevant authorities," Damjanović explained.

The notion that Montenegro should become a hub for the crypto industry is advocated by Damjanović's predecessor and the leader of the Europe Now Movement, Milojko Spajić. He brought Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, the most popular cryptocurrency platform, to Montenegro last year, and Buterin has been residing in Tivat since then.


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