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Czechs hit by Bitcoin fever

The latest internet searches show that the Czech Republic have been intently following the Bitcoin cryptocurrency since it’s launch in 2011.

According to Google figures, the Czech Republic performed the most searches for the term “Bitcoin”, followed by Hong Kong, Estonia and then the Netherlands. Surprisingly the United Kingdom is not in the top 10.

However in recent months, interest has waned a little moving them down to 4th position and allowing Estonia to take the top spot in Bitcoin searches since the start of the new year.

Although Czechoslovakians/Czech’s have searched for Bitcoin information more than any other country, it’s hard to see if they are actually adopting the cryptocurrency due to the lack of exchanges and their dual use of the Czech Koruna(CZK) and Euro. Trading charts also put the Czech Koruna at around position 25 in currency volume, although it’s definitely higher due to the common purchases in Euros and neighbouring exchanges.

They have however received the green light to dabble in Bitcoin by the Financial Analysis Unit, the Czech Finance Ministry but were made well aware of the risk factors inline with Anti Money Laundering regulations, according to an official statement released on the 16th September 2013.

The document also warns that payment above 15,000 Euros should be marked as suspicious according to section 18 of the AML law, whether sellers/buyers have to inform the authorities is still unknown. It seems that the Czech Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering Teams are concerned about money laundering which until recently was one of the widely abused uses of Bitcoin.

The document states that the “Financial Analysis Unit asks all required persons, that in relation to buying/selling of any digital currency, for example Bitcoin, to consider for appraisal any payment above the volume 1.000 EUR as very risky and as a candidate for decision about other measures, and to send notification about every payment about 15.000 EUR as a suspicious trade according to the section 18 of AML Law.

Bitcoin has had a rocky start in Czech Republic with one of the largest exchanges, Bitcash.cz, being subject to hackers who stole around 4,000 customer wallets amounting to around 2 million Czech koruna.

On the upside, economics daily newspaper Mladá fronta E15.za reported that a Men’s luxury shoe shop based in Pragues part Uhezd which is home to luxury shoe brands such as Church, Alden Vass and Alfred Sargent has attracted young people by accepting Bitcoin payment using QR codes.

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