Cryptocurrency Legal Countries List 2021

Cryptocurrency Legal Countries List 2021 PDF | Bitcoin Legal Tender Countries List | is Cryptocurrency legal in India | Bitcoin Legal Countries List 2021

The legal status of Bitcoin (cryptocurrency) varies substantiallly from state to state and is still undefined or changing in many of them. whereas the majority of countries do not make the usage of bitcoin itself illegal, its status as money varies with differing regulatory implications.

While some states have explicitly allowed it use and trade, other have banned or restricted  it. Likewise, various government agencies, departments and courts have classified bitcoins differently.

Cryptocurrency Legal Countries List

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Below the list of Countries.

Southern Africa
Country or territory Legality
23px Flag of Angola.svg Angola Yes check.svg Legal

While government officials have advised against the use of bitcoin, there is no legislation against it and it remains fully legal.

23px Flag of South Africa.svg South Africa Yes check.svg Legal

In December 2014 the Reserve Bank of South Africa issued a position paper on virtual currencies whereby it declared that virtual currency had ‘no legal status or regulatory framework’.The South African Revenue Service classified bitcoin as an intangible asset.

23px Flag of Namibia.svg Namibia Yes check.svg Legal

In September 2017 the Bank of Namibia issued a position paper on virtual currencies entitled wherein it declared cryptocurrency exchanges are not allowed and cryptocurrency cannot be accepted as payment for goods and services.

23px Flag of Zimbabwe.svg Zimbabwe Yes check.svg Legal

The Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe is sceptical about bitcoin and has not officially permitted its use. On 5 April 2017 however, BitMari, a Pan-African Blockchain platform got licensed, through its banking partner, AgriBank, to operate in the country.

Cryptocurrency Legal Countries in Southern Africa

North America

Country or territory Legality
23px Flag of Canada %28Pantone%29.svg Canada Yes check.svg Legal / X mark.svg Banking ban

Companies dealing in virtual currencies must register with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (Fintrac), implement compliance programs, keep the required records, report suspicious or terrorist-related transactions, and determine if any of their customers are “politically exposed persons.”

The law applies to non-Canadian virtual currency exchanges if they have Canadian customers. Banks may not open or maintain accounts or have a correspondent banking relationship with companies dealing in virtual currencies if that company is not registered with Fintrac.

Dealers in digital currency are regulated as money services businesses.

The Authorite des Marches Financiers, the financial regulator in the province of Quebec, has declared that some bitcoin related business models, including exchanges and ATMs, are regulated under its current MSB Act.

As of April 2018, the Bank of Montreal (BMO) announced that it would ban its credit and debit card customers from participating in cryptocurrency purchases with their cards. This is following another banking ban in Canada from Toronto Dominion (TD).

23px Flag of the United States.svg United States Yes check.svg Legal

The U.S. Treasury classified bitcoin as a convertible decentralized virtual currency in 2013.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, CFTC, classified bitcoin as a commodity in September 2015. Per the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), bitcoin is taxed as a property.

Bitcoin was mentioned in a U.S. Supreme Court opinion (in the case of Wisconsin Central Ltd. v. United States) regarding the changing definition of money on 21 June 2018.

If money services businesses, including cryptocurrency exchanges, money transmitters, and anonymizing services (known as “mixers” or “tumblers”) do a substantial amount of business in the U.S., according to FinCEN director Kenneth Blanco in 2018, they are required to:

  • register with the U.S.FinCEN as a money services business
  • design and enforce an anti-money laundering (AML) program, and
  • keep appropriate records and make reports to FinCEN, including Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) and Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs)

As of August 2018, U.S. FinCEN had been receiving more than 1,500 SARs per month involving cryptocurrencies.
Seventeen other countries have similar AML requirements.

In September 2016, a federal judge ruled that “Bitcoins are funds within the plain meaning of that term”.

23px Mexico Yes check.svg Legal

Bitcoin was legal in Mexico as of 2017, with plans to regulate it as a virtual asset by the FinTech Law.

Cryptocurrency Legal Countries in North America
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Central America

Country or territory Legality
23px Flag of Costa Rica.svg Costa Rica Yes check.svg Legal

The Costa Rican Central Bank announced that bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are not considered currencies, and are not backed by the government nor laws. However, they are not illegal. There are a few merchants who do accept bitcoins in the country.

23px Flag of El Salvador.svg El Salvador Yes check.svg Legal

Bitcoin was made legal tender in the country through the “Bitcoin Law”, which was passed on June 8, 2021, and took effect on September 7, 2021.

One month on, more Salvadorans have Bitcoin wallets than traditional bank accounts, and the most popular bitcoin wallet—the government’s officially-sponsored Chivo wallet—had been downloaded by three million people, approaching 46 percent of the population. However, only 12 percent of Salvadoran consumers have used the cryptocurrency, and 93 percent of companies surveyed reported receiving no payments in bitcoin during the first month.

23px Flag of Nicaragua.svg Nicaragua Yes check.svg Legal

News reports indicate that bitcoins are being used in the country.

Cryptocurrency Legal Countries in Central America

South America

Country or territory Legality
23px Flag of Argentina.svg Argentina Yes check.svg Legal

Bitcoins may be considered money, but not legal currency. A bitcoin may be considered either a good or a thing under the Argentina’s Civil Code, and transactions with bitcoins may be governed by the rules for the sale of goods under the Civil Code.

22px Bandera de Bolivia %28Estado%29.svg Bolivia X mark.svg Illegal

Absolute ban. The Central Bank of Bolivia issued a resolution banning bitcoin and any other currency not regulated by a country or economic zone in 2014.

22px Flag of Brazil.svg Brazil Yes check.svg Legal

Not regulated, according to a 2014 statement by the Central Bank of Brazil concerning cryptocurrencies, but is discouraged because of operational risks. In November 2017 this unregulated and discouraged status was reiterated by the Central Bank of Brazil. On 7 May 2019, the Special Department of Federal Revenue of Brazil published a document on cryptocurrency taxes in the country.

23px Flag of Chile.svg Chile Yes check.svg Legal

There is no regulation on the use of bitcoins.

23px Flag of Colombia.svg Colombia Yes check.svg Legal / X mark.svg Banking ban

Financial institutions are not allowed to facilitate bitcoin transactions.
The Superintendencia Financiera warned financial institutions in 2014 that they may not “protect, invest, broker, or manage virtual money operations”.

23px Flag of Ecuador.svg Ecuador Yes check.svg Legal / X mark.svg Banking ban

According to a statement issued by the Central Bank of Ecuador on January 8, 2018, the use of cryptocurrencies is not authorized for use as a payment method in the country, due to their position that cryptocurrencies “sustain their value on speculation”. However, the purchase and sale of bitcoins is legal. Despite this, several companies dedicated to the cryptocurrency business such as Uphold or Binance prohibit the purchase of bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies through debit or credit cards issued within the Ecuadorian financial system.

23px Flag of Venezuela.svg Venezuela Yes check.svg Legal

Bitcoin miners used to be arrested by law enforcement authorities, however in January 2018 Carlos Vargas, the government’s cryptocurrency superintendent said “It is an activity that is now perfectly legal. We have had meetings with the Supreme Court so that people who have been victims of seizures and arrests in previous years will have charges dismissed.”

Cryptocurrency Legal Countries in South America
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Central Asia

Country or territory Legality
23px Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg Kyrgyzstan Yes check.svg Legal

Bitcoin is considered a commodity, not a security or currency under the laws of the Kyrgyz Republic and may be legally mined, bought, sold and traded on a local commodity exchange. The use of bitcoin as a currency in domestic settlements is restricted.

23px Flag of Uzbekistan.svg Uzbekistan Yes check.svg Legal

On 2 September 2018, a decree legalizing crypto trading — also making it tax-free — and mining in the country came into force, making Uzbekistan a crypto-friendly state.

Cryptocurrency Legal Countries in Central Asia

West Aisa

Country or territory Legality
23px Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg United Arab Emirates Contradictory information

Absolute ban. According to the Library of Congress “Under article D.7.3 of the Regulatory Framework for Stored Values and an Electronic Payment System, issued by the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates in January 2017, all transactions in “virtual currencies” (encompassing cryptocurrencies in Arabic) are prohibited.

Nevertheless, on 13 February 2018 Dubai gold trader Regal RA DMCC became the first company in the Middle East to get a license to trade cryptocurrencies, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre said. DMCC’s website emphasizes the “cold storage” of cryptocurrencies and states “DMCC’s Crypto-commodities license is for Proprietary Trading in Crypto-commodities only.
No initial coin offerings are permitted and no establishment of an exchange is permitted under this license.”

In November 2020, the Securities and Commodities Authority published “The Chairman of the Authority’s Board of Directors’ Decision No. (23/Chairman) of 2020 Concerning Crypto Assets Activities Regulation.” It establishes a regulatory framework for the offering, issuance, listing, and trading of crypto assets. Crypto assets providers must be incorporated onshore within the UAE.

21px Flag of Israel.svg Israel Yes check.svg Legal

As of 2017, the Israel Tax Authorities issued a statement saying that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies would not fall under the legal definition of currency, and neither of that of a financial security, but of a taxable asset.Each time a bitcoin is sold, the seller would have to pay a capital gains tax of 25%. Miners, traders of bitcoins would be treated as businesses and would have to pay corporate income tax as well as charge a 17% VAT.

23px Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg Saudi Arabia Yes check.svg Legal / X mark.svg Banking ban

Financial institutions are warned from using bitcoin.
The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has warned from using bitcoin as it is high risk and its dealers will not be guaranteed any protection or rights.

23px Flag of Jordan.svg Jordan Yes check.svg Legal / X mark.svg Banking ban

The government of Jordan has issued a warning discouraging the use of bitcoin and other similar systems.

The Central Bank of Jordan prohibits banks, currency exchanges, financial companies, and payment service companies from dealing in bitcoins or other digital currencies. While it warned the public of risks of bitcoins, and that they are not legal tender, bitcoins are still accepted by small businesses and merchants.

23px Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanon Yes check.svg Legal

The government of Lebanon has issued a warning discouraging the use of bitcoin and other similar systems.

23px Flag of Turkey.svg Turkey Yes check.svg Legal to trade and hold / X mark.svg Banking ban and illegal as payment tool

On 16 April 2021, Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey issued a regulation banning the use of cryptocurrencies including bitcoin and other such digital assets based on distributed ledger technology, directly or indirectly, to pay for goods and services, citing possible “irreparable” damage and transaction risks starting 30 April 2021.

23px Flag of Qatar.svg Qatar Yes check.svg Legal / X mark.svg Banking ban

Banks are not allowed to trade in Bitcoin due to concerns over financial crimes and hacking. Additionally cryptocurrency is banned in the Qatar Financial Centre.

23px Flag of Iran.svg Iran Yes check.svg Legal / X mark.svg Banking ban

Financial institutions are not allowed by central bank to facilitate bitcoin transactions.
In April 2018, Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran issued a statement banning the country’s banks and financial institutions from dealing with cryptocurrencies, citing money laundering and terrorism financing risks.

Cryptocurrency Legal Countries in West Aisa

South Asia

Country or territory Legality
23px Flag of Bangladesh.svg Bangladesh Yes check.svg Legal / X mark.svg Banking ban

Financial institutions are not allowed to facilitate bitcoin transactions.
In September 2014, Bangladesh Bank said that “anybody caught using the virtual currency could be jailed under the country’s strict anti-money laundering laws”.

23px Flag of India.svg India Yes check.svg Legal

Finance minister Arun Jaitley, in his budget speech on 1 February 2018, stated that the government will do everything to discontinue the use of bitcoin and other virtual currencies in India for criminal uses. He reiterated that India does not recognise them as legal tender and will instead encourage blockchain technology in payment systems.

“The government does not recognise cryptocurrency as legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate the use of these cryptoassets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payments system,” Jaitley said.

In early 2018 India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced a ban on the sale or purchase of cryptocurrency for entities regulated by RBI.

In 2019, a petition has been filed by Internet and Mobile Association of India with the Supreme Court of India challenging the legality of cryptocurrencies and seeking a direction or order restraining their transaction. In March 2020, the Supreme Court of India passed the verdict, revoking the RBI ban on cryptocurrency trade.

In 2021, the government is exploring the creation of a state-backed digital currency issued by the Reserve Bank of India, while banning private ones like bitcoin.

16px Flag of Nepal.svg   Nepal X mark.svg Illegal

Absolute ban. The use of any cryptocurrency is illegal in Nepal.

23px Flag of Pakistan.svg Pakistan Yes check.svg Legal

Cryptocurrencies including bitcoin are not officially regulated in Pakistan; however, it’s not illegal or banned. As of 16 January 2021, the State Bank of Pakistan has not authorized any individuals or organizations to carry out the sale, purchase, exchange, and investment of virtual currencies, coins, and tokens. There have been a number of arrests by the Cyber Crime Wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) related to the mining of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. These arrests were made under money-laundering charges.

Despite the many controversies around virtual currencies, prominent Pakistani bloggers and social media influencers are publicly involved in trading bitcoin and regularly publish content on social media in the favor of regulating cryptocurrencies. In December 2020, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government became the first province in Pakistan to pass a resolution to legalize cryptocurrency in the country.

Cryptocurrency Legal Countries in South Asia

East Asia

Country or territory Legality
23px Flag of the People%27s Republic of China.svg China (PRC) X mark.svg Illegal

Financial institutions are not allowed to facilitate bitcoin transactions.
Regulation prohibits financial firms holding or trading cryptocurrencies. On 5 December 2013, People’s Bank of China (PBOC) made its first step in regulating bitcoin by prohibiting financial institutions from handling bitcoin transactions.

On 1 April 2014 PBOC ordered commercial banks and payment companies to close bitcoin trading accounts in two weeks.

Cryptocurrency exchanges or trading platforms were effectively banned by regulation in September 2017 with 173 platforms closed down by July 2018.

In early 2018 the People’s Bank of China announced the State Administration of Foreign Exchange led by Pan Gongsheng would crack down on bitcoin mining. Many bitcoin mining operations in China had stopped operating by January 2018. A complete ban on cryptocurrency trading and mining was put into effect on 24 September 2021.

23px Flag of Hong Kong.svg Hong Kong Yes check.svg Legal

On 8 January 2014, the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury addressed bitcoin in the Legislative Council stating that “Hong Kong at present has no legislation directly regulating bitcoins and other virtual currencies of [a] similar kind. However, our existing laws (such as the Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance) provide sanctions against unlawful acts involving bitcoins, such as fraud or money laundering.

On 16 November 2013, Norman Chan, the chief executive of Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) said that bitcoin is only a virtual commodity. He also decided that bitcoin will not be regulated by HKMA. However, the authority will be closely watching the usage of bitcoin locally and its development overseas.

23px Flag of Japan.svg Japan Yes check.svg Legal

On 7 March 2014, the Japanese government, in response to a series of questions asked in the National Diet, made a cabinet decision on the legal treatment of bitcoins in the form of answers to the questions. The decision did not see bitcoin as currency nor bond under the current Banking Act and Financial Instruments and Exchange Law, prohibiting banks and securities companies from dealing in bitcoins. The decision also acknowledges that there are no laws to unconditionally prohibit individuals or legal entities from receiving bitcoins in exchange for goods or services. Taxes may be applicable to bitcoins.

As of April 2017, cryptocurrency exchange businesses operating in Japan have been regulated by the Payment Services Act. Cryptocurrency exchange businesses have to be registered, keep records, take security measures, and take measures to protect customers. The law on cryptocurrency transactions must comply with the anti-money laundering law; and measures to protect users investors. The Payment Services Act defines “cryptocurrency” as a property value. The Act also states that cryptocurrency is limited to property values that are stored electronically on electronic devices, not a legal tender.

23px Flag of South Korea.svg South Korea Yes check.svg Legal

Minors and all foreigners are prohibited from trading cryptocurrencies. Adult South Koreans may trade on registered exchanges using real name accounts at a bank where the exchange also has an account. Both the bank and the exchange are responsible for verifying the customer’s identity and enforcing other anti-money-laundering provisions.

23px Flag of the Republic of China.svg Taiwan Yes check.svg Legal / X mark.svg Banking ban

Financial institutions are not allowed to facilitate bitcoin transactions.
Regulators have warned the public that bitcoin does not have legal protection, “as the currency is not issued by any monetary authority and is therefore not entitled to legal claims or guarantee of conversion”.

Financial institutions have been warned by regulators that necessary regulatory actions may be taken if they use bitcoin.

On 31 December 2013, Financial Supervisory Commission (Republic of China) (FSC) and CBC issued a joint statement which warns against the use of bitcoin. It is stated that bitcoin remains highly volatile, highly speculative, and is not entitled to legal claims or guarantee of conversion.

On 5 January 2014, FSC chairman Tseng Ming-chung stated that FSC will not allow the installation of bitcoin ATM in Taiwan because bitcoin is not a currency and it should not be accepted by individuals and banks as payment.

Cryptocurrency Legal Countries in East Asia

Southeast Asia

Country or territory Legality
23px Flag of Cambodia.svg Cambodia Yes check.svg Legal / X mark.svg Banking ban

The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), has “asked banks in Cambodia not to allow people to conduct transactions with cryptocurrencies.

23px Flag of Indonesia.svg Indonesia Yes check.svg Legal to trade and hold / X mark.svg Illegal as payment tool

On 7 December 2017, Bank Indonesia, the country’s central bank, issued a regulation banning the use of cryptocurrencies including bitcoin as payment tools starting 1 January 2018. On 11 November 2021, Indonesian Ulema Council issued haram fatwa against use of cryptocurrencies as currency including Bitcoin, citing both Islamic laws and Indonesian banking and monetary regulations. The fatwa also forbids cryptocurrency trading and holding, except if those cryptocurrencies met the Islamic sil’ah standards of trade-able and own-able goods such as having physical form, having clear value, having known number, can be really owned, transferable, and not entirely speculative.

23px Flag of Malaysia.svg Malaysia Yes check.svg Legal

On 4 November 2013, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) met with local bitcoin proponents to learn more about the currency but did not comment at the time. BNM issued a statement on 6 January 2014 that bitcoin is not recognised as a legal tender in Malaysia. The central bank will not regulate bitcoin operations at the moment and users should aware of the risks associated with bitcoin usage.

23px Flag of the Philippines.svg Philippines Yes check.svg Legal

On 6 March 2014, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) issued a statement on risks associated with bitcoin trading and usage. Recently virtual currencies were legalized and cryptocurrency exchanges are now regulated by Central Bank of the Philippines (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) under Circular 944; however bitcoin and other “virtual currencies” are not recognized by the BSP as currency as “it is neither issued or guaranteed by a central bank nor backed by any commodity.

23px Flag of Singapore.svg Singapore Yes check.svg Legal

In December 2013, the Monetary Authority of Singapore reportedly stated that “[w]hether or not businesses accept bitcoins in exchange for their goods and services is a commercial decision in which MAS does not intervene.

On 22 September 2013, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) warned users of the risks associated with using bitcoin stating “If bitcoin ceases to operate, there may not be an identifiable party responsible for refunding their monies or for them to seek recourse and in December 2013 stated “Whether or not businesses accept bitcoins in exchange for their goods and services is a commercial decision in which MAS does not intervene, In January 2014, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore issued a series of tax guidelines according to which bitcoin transactions may be treated as a barter exchange if it is used as a payment method for real goods and services. Businesses that deal with bitcoin currency exchanges will be taxed based on their bitcoin sales.

In April 2019, the MAS referred to bitcoin as a digital payment token for purposes of the Payment Services Act.

23px Flag of Thailand.svg Thailand Yes check.svg Legal

Thai based bitcoin exchanges can only exchange Digital Currencies for Thai Baht and are required to operate with a Thailand Business Development Department e-commerce license. They are also required to have KYC and CDD policies and procedures in place, in accordance with the Ministerial Regulation Prescribing Rules and Procedures for Customer Due Diligence, Reference Page 8 Volume 129 Part 44 A Government Gazette 23 May 2555 (2012).

Suspicious activity must be reported to the Anti-Money Laundering Office (Thailand) (AMLO), of Thailand.

23px Flag of Vietnam.svg Vietnam Yes check.svg Legal to trade and hold / X mark.svg Illegal as payment tool

The State Bank of Vietnam has declared that the issuance, supply and use of bitcoin and other similar virtual currency is illegal as a mean of payment and subject to punishment ranging from 150 million to 200 million VND, but the government doesn’t ban bitcoin trading as a virtual goods or assets.

23px Flag of Brunei.svg Brunei Yes check.svg Legal to trade and hold

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is not legal tender in Brunei Darussalam and are not regulated by AMBD (Brunei Monetary Authority). It is not protected under the laws administered by AMBD.

AMBD however, advised the public not to be easily enticed by any investment or financial activity advertisements, and to conduct due diligence and understand the financial products properly before participating. There is no law that stated that holding or trading bitcoin is illegal.

Cryptocurrency Legal Countries in Southeast Asia

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