Tax authorities in Greece have seized half a million bank accounts, containing 1.6 billion Euros, in the first half of 2016.
In the first four months of the year alone, authorities seized 428,465 accounts, and the numbers included in May push that figure well over the half-million mark. This contrasts with last year, where 333,776 accounts were seized all year.
Seizures of Greek accounts by tax authorities continue to rise by leaps and bounds year after year. In 2014, seizures averaged about 7,000 per month, while in 2016 they currently average over 100,000, more than a tenfold total increase.
European economy in rough shape as EU cracks down on anonymous Bitcoin
The astronomical rise of bank seizures in Greece may be indicative of greater financial issues permeating throughout the European Union. The long-term economic impacts of the UK’s departure from the EU may negatively affect the union as a whole, as the German vice-chancellor predicts Brexit will end up sending the EU “down the drain.” These economic problems may end up being global, as the world’s major central banks are asking government for help, admitting that they alone cannot help the economy.
In the US, economic conditions may not fare much better. The national debt of almost $20 trillion already surpasses Bitcoin’s value several thousand times over. Key economic indicators, including farm machinery sales and transportation, point towards a recession on the horizon for the US. Meanwhile, Bitcoin is doing quite well, having equalled the stability of a large cap stock, and recently surpassing that of the British pound.
Cryptocurrency can offer an escape from fund seizure
As long as governments are willing to claim large portions of income, people are willing to go to great lengths to avoid paying. The Panama Papers scandal revealed how the world’s rich and famous have been hiding their funds in offshore accounts in order to avoid taxes, and now governments are cracking down on “dirty money” in response. As such, demand is increasing for tax havens.
Bitcoin solves a great deal of the restrictions of tax havens while providing some similar benefits, including a store of wealth not subject to government seizure, and not necessarily tied to any real-world identity. While Bitcoin’s Blockchain is completely public and therefore subject to a certain degree of traceability (albeit with difficulty), competing currencies, which may offer more robust privacy features, are mainly available through first acquiring Bitcoin. However, Dash and Monero, two of the more known privacy-centric currencies, are gaining cash-buying options, meaning they will soon be easily and privately available, removing the “Bitcoin-first” privacy liability. If these trends continue, and cryptocurrency gains much wider public adoption, it could very well end taxation.