Countries around the world have a wide ranging view of the digital currency Bitcoin.
Western superpowers like the United States and United Kingdom have shown a positive attitude towards the new Bitcoin technology.
Wikipedia has a list by territory or state of the current legal and regulatory rules.
While some countries have explicitly allowed its use and trade, others have banned or restricted it. Likewise, various government agencies, departments, and courts have classified Bitcoins differently.
While this article provides the legal status of Bitcoin, regulations and bans that apply to this cryptocurrency are likely to extend to similar systems as well.
Where In The World Is Bitcoin Legal?
Some countries like Canada and Australia are still deliberating on what to do about Bitcoin, legally. And the many others have already made their decision against digital currency as a whole, and Bitcoin, in particular.
The fact that bitcoin can be anonymously used to conduct transactions between any account holders, anywhere and anytime across the globe, makes it attractive to criminal elements. They may use Bitcoins to launder drugs money or to buy illegal goods, like drugs or weapons.
Most countries have not clearly made determinations on the legality of Bitcoin, preferring instead to take a wait-and-see approach.
Some countries have indirectly assented to the legal usage of Bitcoins by enacting some regulatory oversight.
However, bitcoin is NEVER legally acceptable as a substitute for a country’s legal tender.
Bitcoin’s list of detractors runs long and deep. Elected officials reserve particular ire for Bitcoin however, with leaders across the globe weighing in.
While most governments seek regulation, others have gone further, passing laws that ban the use of Bitcoin altogether.
Where In The World Is Bitcoin Banned?
“Bitcoin is not a legal tender of any country. Any transaction through Bitcoin or any other crypto-currency is a punishable offense”
“It is illegal to use any currency that is not issued and controlled by a government or an authorized entity.”
In 2014, the Central Bank of Bolivia banned Bitcoin and the government has since sharply cracked down on its usage.
Officials of the People’s Republic of China announced in 2017 that the country will use their own digital currency. Bitcoin is thus rapidly depreciating as it is likely that the use of digital currencies such as Bitcoin will be banned in the country and that the official digital currency developed by China’s Central Bank will be used.
Despite Exchanges around the world reporting trading records not every nation in the world is enamoured with “The Internet of Money,” as the South American nation of Colombia has decided to end 2016 by banning Bitcoin usage, domestically.
Ecuador has outlawed bitcoin, not because it is opposed to digital currency, but because it wishes to control it and tether it to the Ecuadorian dollar. “Electronic money is designed to operate and support the monetary scheme of dollarization” explained an economist affiliated with the government.
As of March 19, 2014 the Central Bank of Iceland issued a statement explaining the legal status of digital currency in Iceland. Purchasing them may violate the Icelandic Foreign Exchange Act, which specifies that Icelandic currency cannot leave the country.
BTCXIndia was the first bitcoin exchange designed and built in India. While following KYC and AML guidelines, and allowing instant INR (Indian rupee) deposits and withdrawals, BTCXIndia was forced to close by their bank, which no longer services bitcoin businesses.
“We have today been informed by our bank that they will no longer serve bitcoin businesses,” the notice stated. “We have investigated the possibility to operate through other banks, but it seems this is a general policy in India as of today.”
Also on the list of countries that have banned Bitcoin is Kyrgyzstan, a tiny landlocked state in Central Asia
The Nepalese government has jailed almost a dozen cryptocurrency enthusiasts, with the latest pair seemingly guilty of little more than operating a small-scale bitcoin exchange.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday, January 17, has passed a circular to inform all Nigerian banks that all transaction in bitcoin and other virtual currencies have been banned in Nigeria.
Bitcoin is banned in practice, although that’s not officially legal yet. With the Russian ruble rebounding, but still down over 30% from January 2014, banks and the national government aren’t looking kindly on those who are investing in other currencies, digital or not.
Bitcoin has suffered a small banning in the buying and selling of scrap metal and “waste products”. This sets a bad precedent of government interference for the future, but so far the ban is restricted to this industry by all accounts.
The Chairman of the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) has declared Bitcoin to be illegal in Taiwan, following a recent high-profile kidnapping accident involving ransom demands made in Bitcoin.
According to news reports, the Bank of Thailand ruled bitcoin illegal on July 29, 2013. However, it appears “it issued a preliminary ruling that using bitcoins . . . was illegal because of a lack of existing laws” in the case of a currency exchange license application by Bitcoin Co. Ltd.
Bitcoin businesses have been able to conduct business and get licensing, but the ban technically is still there, if not in practice currently.
Back in February of 2014, Vietnam banned the virtual currency bitcoin for use by credit institutions, citing its ease of use for criminal purposes and its high risk for investors.
“Transaction by bitcoin is highly anonymous so bitcoin can become a tool for crimes like money laundering, drug trafficking, tax evasion, illegal payment,” the central bank said in a statement.
This seems to be the most common thread in Nation-States throughout the world. Trust the central bank’s currency and do not trust algorithmic currency.
Consequently, keeping your savings with Bitcoin is not recommended at this point. Bitcoin should be seen like a high risk asset, and you should never store money that you cannot afford to lose with Bitcoin.
Protect yourself at all times, take responsibility for your own financial affairs and never speculate any cash you cannot afford to lose. In 2017 you will need to be a massively sophisticated Bitcoin expert to have any chance of understanding what is going on.