Canada's government has enacted what's believed to be the first legislation worldwide to define the status of crypto-currencies: they're money and have to be accounted and reported as such.
The laws, under the gripping title An Act to Implement Certain Provisions of the Budget Tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and Other Measures, went through parliament earlier this year, but have only now received royal assent (a common measure in Commonwealth countries whereby the local representative of the British Monarch rubber-stamps a law into force with a symbolic application of regal authority).
It's a move that will probably see some crypto-currency traders risk ignoring the law or exit Canada, with only traders aspiring to respectability likely to comply. As this wire release states:
“The amendments make Bitcoin and all digital currencies subject to the requirements currently applicable to money services businesses. Bitcoin exchanges will now be required to register with FINTRAC, report suspicious and other transactions, keep certain records, implement compliance plans, and determine if any of their customers are 'politically exposed persons.' Bill C-31 applies to Bitcoin companies that have a place of business in Canada and outside Canada, who direct services at persons or entities in Canada.”
[“Politically exposed person” – that is, someone in public office – is designed to sweep up the possible use of crypto-currencies to offer gifts that might otherwise escape reporting requirements – The Register.]
The law also means that banks can't open accounts for crypto-currency traders and other entities unless they're registered. ®