Sweden

Sweden does not have any specific regulation that deals with cryptocurrencies. A number of agencies have issued statements, reports, and preliminary judgements on how they interpret cryptocurrencies and how such currencies relate to Swedish law.

The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen) has made the determination that bitcoins are subject to its authority, as trade in bitcoins (i.e., offering a site where bitcoins can be bought and sold similar to an exchange) is a financial service (annan finansiell verksamhet) and thus subject to mandatory reporting requirements.[324]In 2017, the Authority issued a report titled The Authority’s Role in Innovation, which among other things described its role in relation to novel concepts such as bitcoin.[325]The report described ICOs as investment projects and means of securing capital.[326] The Authority has also issued warnings against the use of ICOs, noting that they are unregulated and not subject to its review.[327] It referred to the European Supervisory Authority for its interpretation that ICOs may be regulated by the Prospectus Directive, the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD), and the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive.[328] The Authority’s 2017 report stated that it is unaware of any Swedish corporation that secures funding through ICOs.[329]

In March of 2018 the Swedish Central Bank announced that “[b]itcoins are not money.”[330] The announcement explained that cryptocurrencies are not seen as currencies, referencing a new financial report on cryptocurrencies written by the Central Bank of Sweden staff.[331] The Central Bank of Sweden is considering launching an e-currency, but the project is still in the review stage.[332]

In 2015 the Swedish Tax Authority published a guideline on how it will view and tax mined bitcoins for the 2014 tax year.[333] Unless specific conditions are met the digital currency mined is considered income from a hobby, and generally tax exempt.[334] The Tax Authority has not issued a determination on the applicability of the Income Tax Act with respect to potential capital gains from bitcoins.

The Swedish Skatterättsnämnden (Swedish Tax Board) issued a preliminary ruling in 2013 on value-added tax (VAT) and bitcoins, stating that trade in bitcoins is not subject to Swedish VAT, but is instead subject to Financial Supervisory Authority regulations and treated as a currency. The decision was appealed by the Swedish Tax Authority.[335]  The Swedish Administrative Supreme Court ruled that bitcoins and similar cryptocurrencies are not subject to VAT.[336] That decision was rendered following a preliminary judgment from the Court of Justice of the European Union holding that cryptocurrencies are exempt from VAT.[337]

In 2014 representatives of the Swedish Enforcement Authority announced to Swedish media outlets that it would start to investigate and seize bitcoin holdings when collecting funds from indebted individuals.[338] The first seized bitcoins were auctioned off online in 2017.[339]

In a response to a question from a member of Parliament the Swedish government has advised caution in the use of cryptocurrencies by citizens, as it is unregulated and carries risk.[340]

On July 23, 2017, the Nasdaq Stockholm Disciplinary Committee rendered a decision that ordered the bitcoin company XBT Provider AB to pay a fine of SEK1,000,000 (approximately US$120,000) for failing to publish annual reports and make its prospectus available online.[341]


[324] Press Release, Finansinspektionen, Valutaväxlare och annan finansiell verksamhet [Currency Exchanges and Other Financial Activity] (updated Jan. 24, 2017), https://www.fi.se/sv/bank/sok-tillstand/valutavaxlare-och-annan-finansiell-verksamhet/, archived at https://perma.cc/K7DH-T2NN.

[325] Finansinspektionen, Myndighetens roll kring innovationer [The Authority’s Role Regarding Innovation] 12 (Dec. 1, 2018), https://www.finansinspektionen.se/contentassets/d3cd30fe473d4a7995f0 c38209ddb7f1/myndighetens-roll-kring-innovationer.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/Y229-M3A7.

[326] Id.

[327] Press Release, Finansinspektionen, Varning för risker med Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) [Warning of Risks Associated with Initial Coin Offerings] (Nov. 7, 2017), http://www.fi.se/sv/publicerat/nyheter/2017/varning-for-risker-med-initial-coin-offerings/, archived at  https://perma.cc/D9BS-K8C6.

[328] Id.; see also Press Release, European Securities and Market Authority, ESMA Highlights ICO Risks for Investors and Firms (Nov. 13, 2017), https://www.esma.europa.eu/press-news/esma-news/esma-highlights-ico-risks-investors-and-firms, archived athttps://perma.cc/XGT3-T3QW.

[329] Finansinspektionen, supra note 63, at 325.

[330] Press Release, Sveriges Riksbank, Bitcoin är inte pengar [Bitcoins Are Not Money] (Mar. 14, 2018), https://www.riksbank.se/sv/press-och-publicerat/nyheter-och-pressmeddelanden/nyheter/2018/bitcoin-ar-inte-pengar/, archived athttps://perma.cc/KXK7-PPW8.

[331] Gabriel Söderberg, Ekonomiska kommentarer, Är Bitcoin och andra kryptotillgångar pengar? [Financial Commentary: Are Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Money?], Sveriges Riksbank (Mar. 14, 2018), https://www.riksbank.se/globalassets/media/rapporter/ekonomiska-kommentarer/svenska/2018/ar-bitcoin-och-andra-kryptotillgangar-pengar, archived at https://perma.cc/PDP4-X2HU.

[332] See Behöver Sverige en e-krona? [Does Sweden Need a E-Currency?], Sveriges Riksbank (Apr. 9, 2018), https://www.riksbank.se/sv/finansiell-stabilitet/det-finansiella-systemet/betalningar/behover-sverige-en-e-krona/?, archived athttps://perma.cc/KKD8-WBJE.

[333] Guidelines available at Skatteverket Dnr: 131 191846-15/111 Beskattning vid mining av bitcoin och andra virtuella valutor m.m. [Guidelines on the Taxation of Mining of Bitcoins and Other Virtual Currencies] (Apr. 24, 2015), https://www4.skatteverket.se/rattsligvagledning/338713.html?q=131+191846-15%2F111, archived at https://perma.cc/QVH3-H8AL; see also Elin Hofverberg, Sweden: Tax Authority Publishes Guidelines for Income Tax on Bitcoin Mining, Suggests Prohibition of Bitcoin Use in Waste and Scrap Metal Transactions, Global Legal Monitor (May 20, 2015), //www.loc.gov/law/foreign-news/article/sweden-tax-authority-publishes-guidelines-for-income-tax-on-bitcoin-mining-suggests-prohibition-of-bitcoin-use-in-waste-and-scrap-metal-transactions/, archived at https://perma.cc/ZR8B-UP8X (emphasis added).

[334] Skatteverket, supra note 333.

[335] Skatterättsnämnden, Förhandsbesked [Preliminary Ruling], Mervärdesskatt: Handel med bitcoins [VAT: Trade with Bitcoins] (Oct. 14, 2013), http://skatterattsnamnden.se/skatterattsnamnden/forhandsbesked/2013/forhands besked2013/mervardesskatthandelmedbitcoins.5.46ae6b26141980f1e2d29d9.html, archived at https://perma.cc/AET4-3T4N.

[336] Högsta förvaltningsdomstolens dom [Supreme Administrative Court’s Judgment] (SAC Judgment), Nr. 7101-13 (Feb. 2, 2016), http://www.hogstaforvaltningsdomstolen.se/Domstolar/regeringsratten/Avg%C3%B6randen/ 2016/Februari/7101-13.pdf, archived athttps://perma.cc/JU5G-KLWE; see also Elin Hofverberg, Sweden: Supreme Administrative Court Rules Trade in Bitcoins Not Subject to VAT, Global Legal Monitor (Feb. 4, 2016), //www.loc.gov/law/foreign-news/article/sweden-supreme-administrative-court-rules-trade-in-bitcoins-not-subject-to-vat/, archived at https://perma.cc/82P2-CBBA.

[337] Case C‑264/14. Skatteverket v. David Hedqvist, 2015 Curia Europa, ECLI:EU:C:2015:718 (Oct. 22, 2015), http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?docid=170305&doclang=EN, archived at https://perma.cc/LU2G-U6VD.

[338] Kronofogden ska leta Bitcoins hos skuldsatta [Swedish Enforcement Authority to Look for Bitcoins from Indebted Individuals], Sveriges Radio (Oct. 6, 2014), http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=1646&artikel =5983956, archived athttps://perma.cc/AR5S-V7G2; see also Elin Hofverberg, Sweden: Enforcement Authority to Collect Bitcoins, Global Legal Monitor (Oct. 23, 2014), //www.loc.gov/law/foreign-news/article/sweden-enforcement-authority-to-collect-bitcoins/, archived athttps://perma.cc/6YVP-CLNX.

[339] Press Release, Kronofogden, Nu kan du köpa bitcoin hos Kronofogden [Now You Can Purchase Bitcoins from the Swedish Enforcement Authority] (Oct. 12, 2017), https://www.kronofogden.se/66713.html, archived at https://perma.cc/ZT5P-VWDS; see alsoElin Hofverberg, Sweden: Bitcoins Seized During Asset Seizure, Global Legal Monitor (Nov. 7, 2017), //www.loc.gov/law/foreign-news/article/sweden-bitcoins-seized-during-asset-seizure/, archived at https://perma.cc/8QBR-V887.

[340] Statsrådet Per Bolund (MP), Kryptovalutor på svenska marknaden, Svar på skriftlig fråga 2017/18:484 [Cryptocurrencies on the Swedish Market, Answer to Written Question 2017/18:484] (Jan. 10, 2018), http://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-lagar/dokument/svar-pa-skriftlig-fraga/kryptovalutor-pa-svenska-marknaden_H512484, archived at https://perma.cc/959K-AWSY.

[341] Nasdaq Stockholm Disciplinary Committee, Decision 2017:07 (July 23, 2017), http://www.nasdaqomx.c om/digitalAssets/106/106081_decision.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/B3U3-PS6R.