Cryptocurrencies are unregulated in Romania. The National Bank of Romania (the “NBR”) issued a press release in 2015 indicating that they do not consider cryptocurrencies as currency and noted that the acceptance as payment of cryptocurrencies is not mandatory. The NBR also added that cryptocurrencies are not a form of electronic money (within the meaning of the legislation implementing Directive 2009/110/EC on the taking up, pursuit and prudential supervision of the business of electronic money institutions). The NBR stated that it monitors the evolution of cryptocurrency schemes from the perspective of potential risks for the financial system. It did not issue any formal indication on whether cryptocurrencies may be seen as payment instruments, mainly due to the very scarce use of cryptocurrencies in Romania for payment purposes, rather than its broader use as investment instruments. Nevertheless, the NBR may consider such classification in the future. In relation to its 2015 press release, the NBR issued another statement in February 2018 in which it drew attention to the high risk of people losing the money they invest in virtual coins. The NBR noted a rise in interest in virtual coins, especially Bitcoin, both in terms of holding and trading and as a business. In the press release, the NBR stated that in order to avoid reputational risk exposure at the level of credit institutions it discourages any involvement in virtual currencies, including in terms of providing services to entities that provide investment or trading services in these currencies.
In February 2018, the Financial Supervisory Authority (the “FSA”), which is the supervisory authority for capital markets in Romania, posted a pan-European communication on its website issued by ESMA, EIOPA and EBA to raise awareness among retail investors about the risks of buying and trading virtual coins. Also around the same time the FSA issued another warning about the high risks of investing in financial contracts for differences (CFDs) on cryptocurrency.
The Romanian courts refer to cryptocurrencies mostly in criminal disputes, which largely concern the use of cryptocurrencies as means of payment for illicit transactions, but also in civil disputes (e.g. a case where a cryptocurrency exchange filed suit against a trader to be able to return fiat to that trader for a wrongfully processed transaction). The court practice does not qualify cryptocurrencies in any manner.