Assen Vassilev (Bulgaria’s deputy prime Minister for EU Funds, and minister of Finance) said that the EU member country is looking into options to implement a crypto payment system.
According to a Bloomberg report on Friday, Vassilev stated that the government is in discussions with the Bulgarian National Bank and industry players to explore crypto payments. However, he said that it was unlikely that Bulgaria would become a major hub of crypto miners. Many are reportedly considering leaving Kazakhstan due to political turmoil and disruptions to internet.
After the seizure 213,519 Bitcoins (BTC) from an underground criminal network prior to 2017, the Bulgarian government could still be one the largest HODLers worldwide. The Bitcoins were valued at approximately $3.5 billion at that time but more than $8.2 million at the time of publication. It is not clear if the officials have sold the crypto or auctioned it. Or if they still own the digital assets.
Bulgaria, a member of European Union, is one of eight countries that haven’t adopted euro. It wouldn’t be able to benefit from the digital euro being introduced by participating central banks. Officials from the Bulgarian National Bank and the government stated that they would adopt the euro in 2024. Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, stated in March that the introduction of digital currency may not take place before 2025.
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A federal jury found Rossen Iossifov (owner of RG Coins, a crypto-exchange based in Bulgaria) guilty of conspiring to commit racketeering. In a scheme to defraud more than 900 Americans, the Bulgarian national worked with others. He was sentenced for ten years.