A Guide to Countries Where Bitcoin is Legal or Banned

Where Bitcoin is Legal or Banned

If you are looking for Bitcoin to buy, sell, or invest, you should check to see if it is legal in your area of residence.

Countries have vastly different regulations for cryptocurrencies. Some see Bitcoin as an exception, allowing it to be used as currency, a way to pay taxes, buy goods, or they allow it as a commodity to be traded.

Just the mere possession of Bitcoin will land you in jail in other countries. Some haven’t even bothered to control it yet, leaving Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in an unregulated limbo.

Countries Where Bitcoin Is Banned or Legal In 2020

Countries that ban Bitcoin

The majority of the world usually accepts Bitcoin and cryptos. But some nations explicitly banned them. Either ban has been implemented due to Bitcoins’ decentralized existence, the danger to the nation’s existing financial system, or simply because proper regulations have yet to be approved. So, a minimum of 9 nations has agreed to do so as of March 2019. Those are:

  • Afghanistan
  • Pakistan
  • Algeria
  • Bolivia
  • Bangladesh
  • The Republic of Macedonia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Qatar
  • Vanuatu
  • Vietnam

Including the countries that ban BTC, some nations restrict Bitcoin and can not be used in exchanges or payment. Banks and other financial service providers are forbidden from dealing with cryptocurrency exchanges and businesses under these jurisdictions. The countries have barred even crypto trades (like in China) in more extreme cases.

  • China
  • India
  • Ecuador
  • Indonesia
  • Morocco
  • Zambia
  • Nepal
  • Egypt
  • American Samoa

Remember that these regulations have not eradicated Bitcoin or other crypto traders and their use despite the prohibitions and restrictions. It is practically unsustainable to prohibit them because of the nature of decentralized cryptocurrencies. Most individuals in those countries use sites such as Local Bitcoins, Paxful, or Bisq to exchange it with others, as shown by the amounts of trading on these platforms.

China weekly local Bitcoins volume
LocalBitcoins trading volume in China. Source: Coin.dance
Paxful trading volume in India
Paxful trading volume in India. Source: Coin.dance
LocalBitcoins trading volume in Saudi Arabia
LocalBitcoins trading volume in Saudi Arabia. Source: Coin.dance

This helps to show that no government has the power to outlaw Bitcoin completely unless they forbid the entire country from using the internet.

Countries that allow Bitcoin

Data reveals on a positive note that there are at least 111 nations that officially accept Bitcoin and cryptos as legal.

For example, major countries like the U.S. and Canada have a relatively crypto-friendly stance towards them while also trying to implement anti-money laundering laws and deter fraud. Elsewhere, member states in the EU are not permitted to introduce their own cryptocurrency but are encouraged to legalize cryptocurrency exchanges and comply with the regulations.

As of January 2020, the countries with the most Bitcoin-friendly status are:

  • Japan
  • Gibraltar
  • Malta
  • Ukraine
  • Switzerland
  • The Netherlands
  • Lithuania
  • Estonia
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Bermuda
  • Slovenia
  • Singapore
  • Georgia
  • Belarus
  • Hong Kong

Countries where Bitcoin is neither legal nor illegal

Many nations have yet to make up their minds on what to do with Bitcoin. Under these situations, BTC possession is legal in the sense that you are permitted to own it, but there are no specific guidelines or legal security about its status. Such countries are either now developing a legal structure for Bitcoin and cryptos or taking the path of ‘waiting and seeing’. These countries are ‘undetermined’ for now and include:

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Argentina
  • Barbados
  • Colombia
  • French Guiana
  • Gabon
  • Jamaica
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kosovo
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Malaysia
  • The Maldives
  • Mauritius
  • Nigeria
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Tunisia
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Tanzania
  • Uruguay

Fears of major crackdowns on cryptos have had a significant impact on bitcoin. This is why many people are suspicious of the system and are dependent instead of conventional systems.

Nonetheless, an increasing number of governments opt for digital innovation and play a part in the industry. At the same time, there is a risk that jurisdictions that oppose the emerging industry will be left behind. These countries are now some of the world’s poorest nations, and ongoing crackdowns on Bitcoin and cryptos, in general, seem to bear no positive results to boost the situation. On the contrary, it is an excellent opportunity to accept crypto-companies with favorable legislation to bring in investment, money, tax revenue, and raise living conditions for the entire population.

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