In mid-2018, it was estimated that Bitcoin mining worldwide uses roughly as much energy as the nation of Ireland. While the accuracy of this estimate is debatable, one thing is clear; Ireland uses Bitcoin at an increasing rate.
Perhaps the memory of the Irish banking strikes, when all banks in the nation ceased functioning for about one year out of a troubled decade, contributes to Ireland’s enthusiasm for Bitcoin. After all, the Bitcoin network is incapable of going on strike. Bitcoin also stands as further proof that people can manage quite well without the traditional banking system.
The vigorous Irish economy, with one of the highest rankings for per capita GDP, has a lot to offer Bitcoin and vice versa. A 2017 report by leading auditor PwC ranked Dublin as the second most attractive financial hub in Europe. Ireland scored very highly for strong rule of law, available talent, and ease of conducting business.
As Ireland has also rapidly established itself as a tech hub through favourable tax policies, the nation is ideally positioned to ride the wave of Bitcoin innovation. The Blockchain Ireland project was launched in mid-2018 to further this exact goal. Perhaps Dublin will overtake London as Europe’s leading financial centre in the years ahead.
In this article, we examine the current regulatory and tax situation in Ireland, and explore some of the more significant Irish blockchain groups and projects. Thereafter, we explain exactly how our users in Ireland can purchase bitcoins (BTC) either of two ways:
1) Using any credit or debit card issued by either VISA or MasterCard, or
2) Via a SEPA bank transfer in Euros from any bank account in your name.
Irish Bitcoin Regulations
The Irish Central Bank has officially stated in its “Consumer Warning on Virtual Currencies” that while it does not regulate or guarantee Bitcoin, it is a legal form of payment. The Irish Central Bank’s Director of Markets Supervision, Gareth Murphy, expressed his views on the future of crypto regulation in a mid-2014 speech, transcribed here. In the minutes of a meeting of the Central Bank Commission in December of 2017, cryptocurrency is even discussed as a model for creating a “central bank digital currency.”
The Irish government has not yet laid out its final position on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. How it is regulated going forward will depend on whether it’s classified as a currency or commodity, as existing laws which govern those categories will then be applied to Bitcoin. It’s also possible that an entirely new category will be created for cryptocurrencies.
It must be noted that while the Central Bank and government are at least tolerant of Bitcoin, certain Irish banks are adopting an oppositional stance. Several Bitcoin businesses have had their bank accounts closed as a result, although individuals are thus far unaffected by such policies.
Irish Taxation of Crypto
Bitcoin transactions are exempt from VAT according to the outcome of a case decided by the EU’s Court of Justice. However, the standard capital gains tax of 33% does apply to all profits made through crypto, over and above the first €1,270 of your total annual gains. Remember that any losses or expenses incurred in the course of your crypto activities are deductible.
It’s always best to keep detailed records of all your crypto transactions so that you can file an accurate tax return, as well as track your portfolio’s performance. In the event that you have undisclosed profits, you may choose to file a qualifying disclosure with the Revenue Commissioners.
Coinmama recommends that you consult a tax professional to confirm this information, which is subject to change, as well as to assess your particular situation.
Irish Blockchain Projects
The Blockchain Association of Ireland was founded in 2015 to educate the public, companies, and regulators on the merits of blockchain technology. The Crypto Coast project is a more recent initiative, which aims to incubate blockchain startups and link up blockchain developers, particularly in the South East of Ireland.
In January of 2017, the largest professional service network in the world, Deloitte, opened a blockchain development lab in Dublin. Deloitte’s EMEA Blockchain Hub worked in cooperation with the Bank of Ireland to develop a blockchain-based upgrade to the bank’s trade reporting service. Irish Funds also cooperated with Deloitte to develop prototype blockchain software for regulatory reporting, dubbed RegChain.
Finally, IDA Ireland’s Blockchain Ireland initiative aims to attract foreign investment by accelerating the growth of Ireland’s blockchain sector. This project is a collaboration between the Department of Finance, Enterprise Island, the Irish Blockchain Export Group, and Consensys.
How to Buy Bitcoin in Ireland
Now that you have a wallet and address, you’re ready to purchase Bitcoin. Coinmama lets people in most countries, including the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, buy bitcoin (BTC) with credit or debit cards issued by either VISA or MasterCard. This is probably the easiest and quickest way to buy BTC; you should receive your coin within half an hour.
Additionally, UK and EU residents may use our new SEPA transfer method to buy Bitcoin. This option allows you to pay with Euros sent from any SEPA region bank account, which must be registered in your name. Bank transfers have lower fees and higher limits than card purchases but do take somewhat longer; up to a couple of business days.
Here’s how to go about buying BTC from Coinmama, in 4 easy steps:
Step 1 - Create Your Coinmama Account:
- Head to the Coinmama website and select the blue “Sign Up” tab.
- You’ll need to enter your email, password, first name, last name and your country of residence.
- If you already have an account, just sign in with your login details.
- For more information on how to create an account with us, click here.
Step 2 - Verify Your Account:
- To purchase bitcoin (BTC), you first need to become verified.
- It’s necessary to upload your ID or passport, plus various other documents depending on which level of verification you wish to reach.
- For further help with account verification, please click here.
Step 3 - Purchase Your Bitcoin:
- Once signed in and verified, navigate to the “Bitcoin” tab in the top menu bar.
- Once there, you will be presented with several choices: either purchase a set amount of BTC, or enter in a custom amount of up to roughly $5,000 (as of the time of writing) for card purchases or $12,000 for SEPA purchases. You can also choose to price BTC against EUR or USD.
- Supply your Bitcoin wallet address (as discussed above). This address is where we’ll send the coins which you buy. You can re-use this address for subsequent purchases or get a new one from your wallet, at your discretion.
- Next, select the “Go to Payment” button.
Step 4 - the Checkout Page:
- Complete the form with your relevant details. Make sure that your card or banking details, such as your name, correspond with the details you supplied when creating your Coinmama account.
- Finally, proceed to payment by clicking on the “Pay now” button. For card purchases, kindly note that only cards issued by VISA or MasterCard are accepted.
Once your card payment has been made, the order status will read “In Process.” This means that your order is being processed by the bank or card company. Credit card orders will be processed within minutes but SEPA transfers may up to two business days. When paying via SEPA, note that you will get the BTCEUR rate at the time your money arrives at our account. This means that during times of high price volatility, you may get a rather different Bitcoin amount (either more or less) than expected.
Once payment has been made, our BTC transaction to your wallet’s address then needs to be confirmed by the Bitcoin network. In approximately 10 minutes, a Bitcoin payment will be broadcast from Coinmama’s wallet to the Bitcoin address you supplied in Step 3 point 3.
Note that during times of especially high traffic, your transaction may take longer than normal to appear as confirmed within your wallet. Ordinarily, the transaction will be confirmed within 10 minutes.
For large amounts, it’s recommended that you wait for up to 5 more confirmations. You may then regard the transaction as final and spend your new coins.
Ireland has the potential to become a leading nation in blockchain development, and it’s heartening to see official support for this goal. Although Irish banks are proving somewhat resistant to the rise of cryptocurrency, it’s likely that they’ll be forced to adapt in time.