Federal employees have been ordered to report their virtual currency holdings by the US Office of Government Ethics.
The New Employee Guidance
This new guidance by the Office of Government Ethics, issued on June 18, is going to affect all federal employees including the Justice, army, department of homeland security and others.
The notice states that virtual currency is considered as neither a real currency nor a tender by the OGE. The guidance includes the reporting and conflict principles that are to be followed and which will be applying to tokens and coins received either through ICO (initial coin offerings), distributed through blockchain technology or issued.
It states that filers are to report their virtual currency holding if their virtual currency holdings are more than $1000 during the reporting period or equally if they receive an income exceeding $200 from their virtual currency holding during the reporting period. Filers will also be required to disclose the name of the currency, as well as the exchange or platform where it is held if it is indeed held on a platform or exchange.
Reasons Why The Guidance Was Necessary
The OGE has said that the guidance was necessitated by the increased use of virtual currency. It said that, as a result of this increased access and use, many employees who were holding virtual currencies would approach their ethics officials seeking guidance on how they would fulfill the disclosure reporting obligations with their new circumstances.
Depending on whether a digital currency is classed as a security, the filer will be required to report the transactions of the said investment asset. If there is any ambiguity on how the digital holding is classified, the filer will be advised by the ethics officials to report the transactions of the investment asset if its value should be exceeding the reporting threshold through the periodic transaction reports.
The guidance goes on further to state that the digital currencies are in fact investment assets that may cause a conflict of interest to the parties owning them. It then states that digital currencies held by employees will not be receiving any conflict of interest exemptions. It has, however, also said that the OGE would be issuing further guidance once the nature of virtual currency is clearly defined in the near
More Governments Restricting Officials From Cryptocurrency
The US is not the only place where government officials are being regulated concerning Cryptocurrency dealing.
The South Korean government has in the recent past also put restrictions on its employees with regards to Cryptocurrency. In fact, the South Korean government entirely banned its employees from holding and trading in the alternative economy in a move that has seen it become the first government to impose such a ban on its staff.
The Ministry of Personnel Management has said that employees who will be found getting involved in Cryptocurrency will undergo disciplinary actions as a result of violating the prohibition of forbearance.