Cryptocurrency has been a controversial topic since its inception. It has been widely criticized for its volatility and impact on the environment and is even referred to as “Ponzi scheme” of leading economists. However, some countries still believe in the power of decentralization of cryptocurrencies such as El Salvador, which made Bitcoin a legal tender in September 2021, now followed by the Central African Republic in April this year.
The legal status of cryptocurrencies varies from country to country. Here we list all the major countries that have made cryptocurrencies legal, illegal, or unregulated (with some restrictions).
In 2018, Algeria passed a financial law that made all cryptographic transactions illegal. This includes maintaining and trading any digital asset. Any violation of the law is subject to crime and is punishable.
In 2014, Bolivia made crypto illegal. The Central Bank of Bolivia has issued a resolution banning cryptocurrencies, instead of cases of carpets and scams that have cost investors a fortune. According to the Bolivian government, cryptocurrencies should not be trusted as an investment.
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Central Bank of China in September 2021, made all cryptocurrency transactions illegal and put a total ban, sending the strongest signal so far of his determination to repress the industry.
All cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Tether, are not fiat currencies and cannot be circulated in the market, the People’s Bank of China said on its website. “All cryptocurrency-related transactions, including services provided by offshore exchanges to domestic residents, are illicit financial activities,” the PBOC said in a statement.
Cuba is the latest country to authorize and regulate cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
Egypt has classified cryptocurrencies as Bitcoin as banned by Islamic law. Dar al-Ifta, the country’s main Islamic advisory body, issued a religious decree in 2018.
The country 2020, tightened banking laws in September 2020 to prevent the trade or promotion of cryptocurrencies without a license from the Central Bank.
The European Union has not made the use of cryptocurrencies legal or illegal. Recognizes Bitcoin and other digital assets as “cryptocurrencies.”
In the meantime, European Union (EU) lawmakers tighten rules on the transfer of cryptocurrencies, in view of the growing use of cryptocurrencies for money laundering. According to Reuters, the new proposal will make it mandatory for cryptocurrency companies, such as exchanges operating across the EU, to obtain, retain and send information about any of their users involved in any transfer.
The proposals seek to extend the anti-money laundering (AML) requirement, a rule that is already applicable in the conventional payment space. This would make it necessary for cryptographic exchanges to inform the authorities if any transaction in excess of EUR 1,000 (USD 1,100) is carried out.
In 2018, Indonesia’s central bank issued new regulations banning the use of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, as a means of payment.
The cryptocurrency industry in Iran is unregulated, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) in April 2021 authorized domestic banks and money changers to use locally mined and licensed cryptocurrencies to pay for imports to the sanctioned nation.
The country has a very “love-hate” relationship with cryptography. Iran has announced a four-month ban on energy-consuming cryptocurrency mining like Bitcoin after cities suffered unplanned disruptions due to massive cryptocurrency mining operations conducted in the country.
In particular, about 4.5 percent of global Bitcoin mining takes place in Iran, which, according to blockchain analysis firm Elliptic.
O Cryptocurrency and regulation of the official digital currency bill, 2021 is yet to be presented by the government. The bill seeks to ban all private cryptocurrencies in India, however, “allows certain exceptions to promote the underlying cryptocurrency technology and its uses,” the document reads.
India charged a 30 percent tax in cryptographic investors and a TDS of 1 percent in all intra cryptographic traders. Currently, India has not regulated cryptocurrencies, but will not legalize them either.
The country is “pretty ready” with your reference document on cryptocurrencies and consulted with national and institutional stakeholders, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, said Economic Affairs Secretary Ajay Seth.
In January 2022, the central bank of Russia proposed banning the use and mining of cryptocurrencies on Russian territory, citing threats to financial stability, the well-being of citizens and the sovereignty of their monetary policy.
The move is the latest in a global crackdown on cryptocurrencies as governments in Asia and the United States fear that privately operated and highly volatile digital currencies could undermine their control of financial and monetary systems.
Russia has argued for years against cryptocurrencies, saying they could be used in money laundering or to finance terrorism. However, Russia’s leaders are using cryptocurrencies to avoid sanctions imposed by the US and its allies after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, said the analysis company Blockchain Elliptic. The research firm has located a Russian cryptocurrency portfolio that has “significant asset assets.”
In April 2021, the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey issued a regulation banning the use of cryptocurrencies in all forms, directly or indirectly.
The United States
Cryptocurrencies are legal in the US. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Control Network (FinCEN), Bitcoin is a convertible currency with a value equivalent to the real currency or that can act as a substitute for the real currency. The Internal Revenue Service has also classified Bitcoin as property for tax purposes.