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A Guide to Cryptocurrency Laws Across the World

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A cryptocurrency is a form of digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography as a security measure as well as a platform. Cryptocurrencies are not legal tender and are not backed by any government or central bank. They are also not subject to the same regulations as traditional currencies such as the United States dollar.

Cryptocurrencies can be used as forms of payment, but they most commonly serve as units of account (e.g., to keep track of debts between people and businesses) or storehouses for value (e.g., gold). Some cryptocurrencies are mere clones while others have been built from scratch using different codebases which were then modified with new features added on top (Ethereum).

Now, cryptocurrencies sell themselves on the fact that they are decentralized and independent of government intervention. However, this does not mean that governments have no say in how cryptocurrency markets flow. While crypto may have been around for over a decade now, in terms of historical scale it is extremely new, and few governments are keen to trust the system. This makes the laws that surround cryptocurrencies quite complicated and eternally chimeric.

To simplify the glut of information we’ve written this quick guide that covers cryptocurrency law in many countries and regions. It includes a discussion of how various governments are approaching the regulation of cryptocurrencies, how exchanges are regulated, and what crypto-friendly countries look like.

Since this list is quite long, we encourage you to use the “find” function on your browser if you’re looking for information on a specific nation, and that you do some further research to fill in any information gaps that this article might include.

Brazil

The Brazilian Central Bank has released a document explaining the official stance on cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency is not legal tender in Brazil and thus does not have the same status as fiat currencies like the US dollar or Brazilian real. The central bank also prohibits local financial institutions from offering services related to cryptocurrency trading.

There is no specific regulation for crypto exchanges, though regulators have stated that they intend to adapt existing laws for this purpose if needed. Tax authorities do not consider cryptocurrency assets at this time, though there may be changes in future legislation that could affect this stance.

Cryptocurrency mining operations are currently not regulated by any governmental agency in Brazil, though some states have banned it outright due to environmental concerns about excessive electricity use and cost pressures on low-income residents who cannot afford higher bills incurred by mining farms located near residential areas. 

There are no restrictions on using cryptocurrencies as payment methods within Brazil’s borders either; however, many merchants still prefer traditional forms of payment such as cash or credit cards due to their lower fees compared with those charged by most cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase which charge upwards of 5% per transaction made through their platform.

Canada

Canada is a great place to live and work. The country has a high standard of living, with an average GDP per capita of $54,177 (as of 2016). Canada’s government is also known for being very strict in terms of regulations on cryptocurrency, but that doesn’t mean you can’t buy crypto in Canada. Canadians are some of the biggest users and investors in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

In 2017 the Canadian government released new guidelines for engaging with cryptocurrency markets which require that anyone buying or selling cryptocurrency must register as a money services business (MSBs), which means they have to provide information about their customers’ identities when requested by law enforcement agencies or financial institutions. In addition to these requirements, there are also income tax considerations. 

If you mine any type of cryptocurrency as an individual then it’s considered taxable income at market value; however, if you hold a certain amount over time without selling them then they could be exempt from capital gains taxes if held longer than one year from when they were purchased; likewise with bartering or exchanging one type against another—this may need further research before determining how exactly this would affect taxes owed​

China

In China, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are not recognized as legal tender. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the country’s central bank, has banned financial institutions from handling Bitcoin transactions and shut down all domestic cryptocurrency exchanges.

The PBOC called the ban on ICOs “effective immediately” and ordered Beijing-based cryptocurrency exchanges to stop trading in digital currency. It also asked all related fundraising activity to be halted immediately with any open positions to be settled by September 20.

Ecuador

Ecuador has banned Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies since 2014. However, the country is currently working on its digital currency called “Sistema de Dinero Electrónico” (electronic money system).

To reduce government control over the money supply and spur economic growth, Ecuador became the first country to introduce its digital currency in 2016. According to CNN, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said that “the new electronic money would be backed by assets such as oil reserves and agricultural goods.”

Estonia

Estonia has been very progressive about digital currencies and blockchain technology. They have proposed their digital currency called “estcoin”. The Estonian government is also working with other countries to create a digital identity system that uses blockchain technology. This would allow citizens of the European Union to store personal information securely on a public ledger that no single entity controls or owns.

European Union

The European Union is defined by the Maastricht Treaty. EU law is binding on all member states and is directly applicable in its member states. The European Union does not have a common framework for regulating cryptocurrencies. However, cryptocurrency regulations vary between countries within the EU. 

For example, France has implemented stringent regulation of cryptocurrency with enforceable penalties for noncompliance, while other countries like Luxembourg have offered favorable legislation which allows businesses to operate freely without undue regulatory burden.

Similarly, while some countries like Germany do not regulate cryptocurrencies directly, they have provided some indirect guidance through their financial regulators (Bafin) that lays out how such instruments may be classified under existing laws by imposing certain restrictions on how they can be used.

India

India is planning to introduce a new law banning trade in cryptocurrencies, fining anyone trading in the country or even holding such digital assets. The bill is expected to be discussed shortly by the federal cabinet before it is sent to parliament, which is likely to pass it as early as next month.

The move comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced last week that he wanted all “illegal” tenders banned from financial transactions and said he did not consider cryptocurrency legal tender.

The proposed ban on virtual currencies would bring India into line with other countries like Nepal and Bangladesh that have banned their use entirely because of security concerns and worries about money laundering through crypto-assets like bitcoin.

Indonesia

As of April 2019, Indonesia has no clear regulations on cryptocurrency. The Indonesian government has not yet paid much attention to the issue of cryptocurrencies, but they will likely set out regulations soon.

There are no penalties for using or mining cryptocurrencies in Indonesia. However, there are penalties for trading and paying with these currencies in Indonesia. There are also no penalties for initial coin offerings (ICOs) or exchanges where cryptocurrencies can be traded. It is unclear how taxation will work when it comes to using or mining cryptocurrency in Indonesia.

Iran

As stated by a report from CoinDesk, Iran has banned cryptocurrencies and declared mining illegal. The legality of Bitcoin trading and mining in Iran seems to be a grey area. The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has declared that it does not recognize Bitcoin as legal tender and also does not approve of investments in the cryptocurrency market.

However, reports from local media have indicated that Iranian citizens are still using cryptocurrencies for money laundering purposes due to their high volatility rate, making them ideal for speculating on price fluctuations rather than using them as real currency.

To combat this issue, Iran is looking into creating its national cryptocurrency called ‘Paymon’ which would allow Iranians access to financial services without having to use traditional currencies like USD or Euro, etc.

Israel

The Israel Tax Authority has officially declared that cryptocurrencies are not currencies, but assets. Because they are not currencies, cryptocurrencies are subject to the same tax regulations as other assets. This means that cryptocurrency transactions will be subject to capital gains tax. The Israeli Securities Authority has also warned investors about fraud associated with ICOs.

Japan

Japan’s laws are generally friendly toward cryptocurrencies, except for minors. The laws allow cryptocurrency to be used as a means of payment, and this has resulted in Japan becoming one of the largest markets for cryptocurrency. The Japanese government has supported cryptocurrency exchanges by setting up a licensing system allowing them to operate legally.

Japan also protects its investors through its laws, which provide a clear legal framework for cryptocurrency trading and investing in general. Among other things, these rules include:

  • Disclosing information about who owns an exchange or brokerage (the register ledgers)
  • Providing adequate security measures against theft or fraud by users on-site at exchanges (fingerprint scanners)

Mexico

The Mexican government has not yet issued regulations for cryptocurrencies. There are several bills in the pipeline, but no official law. Crypto is generally legal, though taxation is unclear as of yet.

It’s important to note that this lack of regulation doesn’t mean that there are no regulations at all—just that they aren’t being enforced by officials or enforced by law at this time.

Morocco

Morocco has yet to develop a clear stance on cryptocurrency. The central bank of Morocco has issued statements that it does not recognize or endorse cryptocurrencies. However, the Moroccan government is reportedly working on an official legal framework for virtual currencies as it aims to become one of the world’s leading blockchain hubs by 2020.

The country’s regulatory framework is expected to be finalized in 2020, but until then citizens should use caution when dealing with cryptocurrencies.

The Netherlands and the Caribbean Islands (Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten)

The Dutch Caribbean islands (Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten) have separate laws from the Netherlands. Cryptocurrency is not legal tender in the Dutch Caribbean islands.

The Dutch cryptocurrency law is implemented through a royal decree: “Wet op het financieel toezicht.” In addition to rules that apply across all of Europe (such as consumer protection), this legislation establishes how cryptocurrencies are treated under financial regulation in the Netherlands.

Poland

Poland is a good place to start your cryptocurrency journey, as the government has made it clear that cryptocurrencies are legal. Cryptocurrencies can be used for the payment of goods and services in Poland, but cryptocurrency exchanges are regulated by the country’s Financial Supervision Commission (KNF).

In addition, cryptocurrency miners must register with KNF before they can begin mining operations. The Polish Ministry of Finance considers cryptocurrencies as property rather than legal tender in Poland; this means that they are taxed like any other type of property. Cryptocurrencies aren’t regulated by the central bank because they aren’t considered money under Polish law; instead, they’re treated like commodities such as gold or silver would be in other countries.

Russia and Belarus

Russia and Belarus are two countries whose laws on cryptocurrency are the most positive. In Russia, the legal framework for cryptocurrencies was developed in July 2014 to regulate and oversee the use of digital currencies. The legislation defines cryptocurrencies as “other property” and not a means of payment, so it is tax-free if used only as an investment tool or a store of value.

Belarus is also open to cryptocurrencies as long as they aren’t used for paying goods or services; however, it does not have any specific rules regarding them at this time. Russia recently announced plans to replace the US dollar with its currency—the Russian ruble—as an international reserve currency; if successful, this could lead to more widespread adoption of Bitcoin around the world due to increased demand for it from countries like Belarus that want alternatives for their national reserves but don’t have access (or choose not) invest in gold or other commodities like oil or silver

Singapore and Malaysia ASEAN region (Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam)

Singapore and Malaysia are two of the largest countries in Southeast Asia. Both have been at the forefront of cryptocurrency regulation, with Singapore taking a more lax approach to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies while Malaysia has chosen to prohibit them outright.

In Singapore, cryptocurrency is not legal tender and is considered an asset, which means it cannot be used as payment for goods or services. However, citizens can buy, sell and trade cryptocurrencies through exchanges that are registered with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The MAS also regulates banks in Singapore to ensure they don’t accept payments involving cryptocurrency value as well as prohibiting financial institutions from facilitating transactions involving cryptocurrencies directly or indirectly by allowing customers to use their bank accounts for these purposes.

While these measures may seem extreme at first glance, they were put in place after several Ponzi schemes were discovered using Bitcoin that cost many investors their money—a problem that could have been avoided had there been clearer laws governing how this new technology should be used by consumers and businesses alike

South Korea and North Korea

South Korea, as a member of the United Nations, has an established policy on cryptocurrency. While North Korea is also a member of the UN, it has not issued any statements regarding cryptocurrency regulation. It is unclear whether or not North Korea will adopt similar regulations as South Korea in the future.

Switzerland and Liechtenstein (EFTA member countries Iceland, Norway, and Lichtenstein have a separate framework for regulating cryptocurrencies) 

More crypto-friendly countries include Switzerland and Liechtenstein. In both of these countries, cryptocurrencies are considered assets, not legal tender. This means that users of cryptocurrency can pay for goods and services with various coins (for example bitcoin or ether) without having to convert their funds into fiat currency first.

Although Iceland is part of NATO, it has no specific laws regarding cryptocurrencies. However, the country does have strict anti-money laundering regulations in place as well as capital controls. If you’re looking for a place where you can trade freely without worrying about taxes or other restrictions on your freedom, then this might be the right place for you!

On the other hand, there are some countries that take an extremely cautious approach towards cryptocurrency use such as China and Russia; while others do not want any form of regulation at all like India or Indonesia.

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