Greece’s New Policy Earns Unpopular Remarks from Economists and Bitcoin Experts


Credit card and bank transactions will no longer be a payment option but an obligation for Greek citizens. A new regulation will mandate them to spend 30 percent of their yearly income through digital transfers, and those who will fail to follow this will be fined with a 22 percent tax of the leftover amount. And while experts insist that cryptocurrency won’t be of much relevance in this matter, they have been quickly picking up on this new policy. 


While Andreas Antonopoulos who’s a Bitcoin activist, commented that this kind of dogma is new to him and might be a hostile strategy to eliminate cash in Greece, however, economist Nicholas Economides disagrees to this. He argued that by some means, this has been going on in the country for five years, and this tactic supports modernization and is designed primarily to control tax evasion.


On the contrary, some believes that Greeks do not rely on cash because they want to avoid paying their taxes. Antonopoulos then thinks that this policy does not limit tax evasion.


Ironically, middle-class residents appear to be the regular taxpayers and they will be the ones who will primarily get affected with this bank limitations, since the majority of people does not pay their taxes full at all. This this law would cause significant impact to the general public, especially to those who don’t own such financial instruments.


As Antonopoulos continues to criticize the new tax policy, he described the Bitcoin community as “trivial”, “secluded” and “risk-averse” because people generally prefer remote bank accounts when purchasing Bitcoin. CNN reported that Greek Bitcoin dealings increased when banking limitations previously took effect in 2015.


Though there are no studies that support this perception, it is believed that government sleaze contributes to significant economic distresses. Notably, Greece recently received in 2018 a failing integrity evaluation for alleged levels of fraud. 


Whereas the Mediterranean state is hardly the first to implement finance surveillance to try to restrain tax evasion, India also steered a similar measure in 2016 through demonetization where citizens were compelled to exchange their old cash to fresh ones to curtail black-market trades. This move mostly affected low-income labour force and minor business proprietors but was not effective in minimizing the number of excise evaders which was its primary goal. As a conclusion, fiscal policies do not solve the tariff evasion issue alone. 


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