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Japan says Bitcoin is not a currency

Japan says Bitcoin is not a currency

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Over the past 24 hours, a man believed to be the founder of Bitcoin was chased through the streets of Los Angeles, only to deny having any involvement in the project. But the identity of the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto isn't the only Bitcoin news of the day: Japan has decided that Bitcoin isn't actually a currency.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Japanese government has decided that the virtual currency isn't actually money as far as the country's regulators are concerned. That could mean that those regulators are off the hook for the collapse of Japan-based Mt. Gox, which filed for bankruptcy last week after losing some $500 million worth of bitcoins in a theft that has yet to be solved. Japanese authorities began investigating the sudden closure of Mt. Gox early last week, even though Japan's financial authorities claimed they didn't have jurisdiction over the matter. US prosecutors are also investigating the Mt. Gox closure.

Japan isn't washing its hands of Bitcoin entirely, though, reportedly setting down a couple of rules in the same decision. Commercial banks will not be allowed to deal in Bitcoin, and Bitcoin transactions will be subject to sales tax.