Paweł Gruza – the man who was involved in preparing the cryptocurrency bill and other strategic pieces of legislation, is leaving the Polish government. It is rumoured that the reason behind it is a conflict with his superior – Minister of Finance Teresa Czerwińska. It may take some time to find the right replacement and efforts to come back to the negotiation table on the shape of the Polish digital asset market.
A big blow to the Polish crypto sphere
The general public was informed about Gruza’s parting by Poland’s leading business daily – “Puls Biznesu” (PB). However, there had been some hearsay about his possible departure going around for a month or so. It is reported that he might be interested in being appointed for a key position in the management board at KGHM – a Polish multinational corporation with operations around the world, , originally state-owned, currently traded on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, a leader in copper and silver production.
Gruza won’t be jobless, yet …
PB reported that there are vacancies for the positions of a Vice President for Development and Vice President for Foreign Assets to be filled and that there were job interviews held on Tuesday 21 August. According to information sourced from the Polish media, there was an ever-increasing conflict building up between Gruza and Teresa Czerwińska and at a certain point she apparently said “it’s either me, or him”. Clearly, money could have been at stake as well, as Gruza, a qualified layer, earned far less than he could rake in on the free market.
What next with the crypto bill?
As was mentioned earlier, Gruza was in charge of the talks between the Polish cryptocurrency sphere representatives and the government related to, among other things, the tax on civil law transactions (Podatek od Czynności Cywilno Prawnych – PCC) on crypto-to-crypto deals and the overall shape of regulations on digital currencies in Poland. He has been named as “the voice of reason” as regards crypto-related regulations. As a result of this unfortunate departure, the future of that legislation in that area remain one big unknown, and so is the name of Gruza’s successor.
Polish PCC not to be charged until June 2019
What is known, however, is that PCC will not be charged on crypto-to-crypto transactions within the period from 13 July 2008 until 30 June 2019, and the final shape of the law on Bitcoin and such-like assets will come to light by the end of June next year. This was, by no means, a spontaneous decision on the part of the Polish government, but was a result of the first-ever in a short history of Polish trading, strike which took place on 20 April 2018, during which traders and other individuals involved in cryptocurrency investments, walked hand in hand to protest against governmental proposals. The officials yielded and Paweł Gruza – then still a Vice Minister of Finance admitted that innovative economy outpaced regulations, with relevant tax law lagging behind.
Change of tune
On 4 of April, the Ministry of Finance published information on its stance on cryptocurrency taxation, whereunder digital assets would be deemed transferrable economic property. Later on, Gruza conceded that the government’s previous approach departed from the actual economic substance of cryptocurrency transactions, thus being detrimental to the methods relied upon for profits by individuals involved in cryptocurrency trading. He also announced a decision to begin work on legal changes that would result in the scrapping of PCC on such instruments, acting in collaboration with KNF – the Polish regulatory watchdog.
Back to square one
We wrote back in July about the establishing of The Blockchain Chamber of Commerce and New Technologies (Izba Gospodarcza Blockchain i Nowych Technologii – IGBINT), launched by the Polish Bitcoin Association (Polskie Stowarzyszenie Bitcoina – PBS) a few months earlier, meant to represent the whole Polish crypto sector during talks that were to be held with the Polish authorities. Now that a prominent figure well-versed in the workings of the new financial technologies is gone, it seems that the whole work undertaken both by IGBINT and also other organisations such as Rafal Zaorski’s KryptJam SA (Zaorski being also a key figure behind Crypto Security Fund) more likely than not, will have to start afresh.