The legality of owning cryptocurrencies by country

For people who are new to cryptocurrencies, one of the first concerns that comes to mind is the legal aspect of it. Can one legally own Bitcoins? What about buying, selling, trading or spending them in exchange for goods or services? Are there legal regulations around the topic of cryptocurrency mining?

It is not always easy to answer these questions, as the answers are influenced by which country you are in and what type of activity you are trying to perform with your cryptocurrencies. There could be further complications if your crypto transaction is from one country to another.

Furthermore, some countries may allow you to acquire, trade and/or mine them, but will not accept their usage as a payment method. In other places, the use of cryptocurrencies could be restricted but not completely banned.

Regulations are ever changing

Let’s not forget that cryptocurrencies are still a very new technology which is constantly changing and evolving. Bitcoin was created in 2009, which is not even a decade ago at the time of writing this article. In January 2018, only 60% of Americans had heard of Bitcoin. Cryptocurrencies are still only on the brink of being discovered by the majority of people, and there is still a long way to go before people will be using them on a day to day basis.

Legality of owning cryptocurrencies | Blog | Blockbase

Because of this, the rules and regulations around the topic are also still rapidly changing. Countries interpret the technology and its implications in their own way, and create laws accordingly. Some countries, like Venezuela and Cambodia, are very open to the idea and create their own national cryptocurrency. Other countries, like Ecuador, have attempted to ban it entirely.

Then again, one could also argue that decentralized technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrencies cannot be stopped by laws to begin with. A government could create laws declaring Bitcoin illegal, but enforcing those laws would be incredibly difficult given the decentralized nature of the technology. Stopping people from acquiring cryptocurrencies in the first place seems to be easier, by imposing nationwide bans on exchange websites, for example.




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Map: in which countries is cryptocurrency legal and illegal?

Blockbase has done extensive research to find out which stance each country takes regarding the legality of cryptocurrencies in 2018. We have distinguished between the legality of ownership, using cryptocurrencies as a payment method and mining them. The following map provides a visual representation of the data we collected.

While viewing the map, keep in mind that “legal” or “illegal” is based on official statements made by a country or a representative of a country, but not in all cases have laws actually been passed and gone into effect.

In case we missed or overlooked a change in laws, regulations, or a country’s official stance since publishing this map, feel free to let us know in the comments, so we can update it!

Disclaimer: the information in this article should not be used as legal advice in any case. The information comes from the sources listed at the bottom of the page. Blockbase is not responsible for any consequences of decisions made based on this list, and encourages anyone to do their own due diligence before engaging in cryptocurrency activities anywhere in the world.

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