West indian countries

All major countries where crypto is legal, illegal or restricted

Cryptocurrency has been a controversial topic since its existence. It has been widely criticized for its volatility and environmental impact and is even referred to as ‘Ponzi Scheme’ by Top Economists. However, some countries still believe in the decentralizing power of cryptos like El Salvador, which made Bitcoin legal tender in September 2021, followed now by the Central African Republic in April this year.

The legal status of crypto varies from country to country. Here we list all the major countries that have made cryptos legal, illegal or unregulated (with certain restrictions).

Algeria

In 2018, Algeria passed a financial law making all crypto transactions illegal. This includes holding and trading any digital asset. Any breach of the law is a criminal offense and subject to penalties.

Bolivia

In 2014, Bolivia made crypto illegal. The Bolivian Central Bank has issued a resolution banning cryptos, instead of rug-pulling cases and scams that cost investors a fortune. According to the Bolivian government, cryptocurrencies should not be considered an investment.

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China

Central Bank of China in September 2021, made all cryptocurrency-related transactions illegal and impose a blanket ban, sending the strongest signal yet of its determination to clamp down on the industry.

All cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Tether, are not fiat currencies and cannot be distributed in the market, the People’s Bank of China said on its website. “All crypto-related transactions, including services provided by offshore exchanges to domestic residents, are illicit financial activities,” the PBOC said in the statement.

Cuba

Cuba is the latest country to license and regulate cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Egypt

Egypt has classified cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as prohibited 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 trading or promotion of cryptos without a license from the Central Bank.

European Union

The European Union has not made the use of crypto legal or illegal. It recognizes Bitcoin and other digital assets as “crypto-assets”.

Meanwhile, European Union (EU) lawmakers are tightening the rules on the transfer of cryptocurrency, given the growing use of crypto-assets for money laundering. According to Reuters, the new proposal will require cryptocurrency companies such as exchanges operating across the EU to obtain, retain and submit information about any of their users involved in transfers.

The proposals seek to extend the Anti-Money Laundering Requirement (AML), a rule already applicable in the conventional payment space. This would require crypto exchanges to report to authorities if a transaction above 1,000 EUR ($1,100) takes place.

Indonesia

In 2018, the Indonesian central bank issued new regulations prohibiting the use of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, as a means of payment.

Iran

The crypto industry in Iran is unregulated, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) in April 2021 allowed domestic banks and money changers to use locally mined and licensed cryptocurrencies to pay the imports to the sanctioned country.

The country has a very “love-hate” relationship with crypto. Iran has announced a four-month ban on energy-intensive mining of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin after cities suffered unplanned outages due to massive cryptocurrency mining operations in the country.

Notably, around 4.5% of global bitcoin mining takes place in Iran, which according to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic.

India

The Cryptocurrency and Official Digital Currency Bill Regulation, 2021 has not yet been tabled by the government. The bill aims to ban all private cryptocurrencies in India, however, “it allows certain exceptions to promote the underlying cryptocurrency technology and its uses,” the document states.

India took 30% tax on crypto investors, and a 1% TDS on all intra crypto traders. Currently, India has not regulated cryptos but will not legalize them either.

The country is “pretty ready” with its consultation document on cryptocurrencies and consulted with national and institutional stakeholders, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Economic Affairs Secretary Ajay Seth said.

Russia

In January 2022, the central bank of Russia proposed to ban the use and mining of cryptocurrencies on Russian territory, citing threats to financial stability, the well-being of citizens and its sovereignty in monetary policy.

The move is the latest in a global crackdown on cryptocurrencies, as governments from Asia to the United States fear private and highly volatile digital currencies will undermine their control of financial and monetary systems.

Russia has argued for years against cryptocurrencies, saying they could be used to launder money or finance terrorism. However, Russian leaders use cryptocurrency circumvent the sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies after Russia invaded Ukraine, said Blockchain analytics firm Elliptic. The research firm has tracked down a Russian crypto wallet that has “significant assets”.

Turkey

In April 2021, the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey issued a regulation prohibiting the use of cryptocurrencies in any form, directly or indirectly.

United States

Cryptocurrencies are legal in the United States. According to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the United States Department of the Treasury, bitcoin is a convertible currency with a value equivalent to real currency or which can substitute for real currency. The Internal Revenue Service has also classified Bitcoin as property for tax purposes.


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