Although Bitcoin has been controversial since its beginning in 2009, it is being seen by some, particularly in the developing world as a safe harbour during economic storms. As more people turn to crypto as either an investment or a lifeline, these issues have manifested in an array of restrictions on their usage.
The legal status of Bitcoin and other altcoins (alternative coins to Bitcoin) varies substantially from country to country, while in some, the relationship remains to be properly defined or is constantly changing. Whereas the majority of countries don’t make using Bitcoin itself illegal, its status as a means of payment or as a commodity varies with differing regulatory implications.
There are some countries that have placed limitations on ways of Bitcoin while the others have banned the usage of Bitcoing and cryptocurrencies outright with heavy penalties levied for anyone making crypto transactions.
These are the countries that have a particularly fraught relationship with Bitcoin and other altcoins.
Following the passing of financial law in 2018, Algeria currently prohibits the use of cryptocurrency.
Since 2014, there is a complete ban on the usage of Bitcoin in Bolivia.
With increasing intensity throughout 2021, China has cracked down on cryptocurrencies and has issued warnings to its people to stay clear of the digital asset market.
In Colombia, financial institutions are not allowed to facilitate Bitcoin transactions.
In 2018, the country’s Islami advisory body issued a religious decree stating Bitcoin transactions as “haram”, something that is prohibited.
Bank Indonesia, the country’s central bank, issued new regulations banning the use of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, as a means of payment from 1 January 2018.
In order to evade the worst impact of crippling economic sanctions, Iran has instead turned to the lucrative practice of Bitcoin mining in order to finance imports. Currently, the Iranian authorities issued a four-month ban on Bitcoin mining until September 22.
The Nepal Rastra Bank declared Bitcoin illegal as of August 2017.
North Macedonia is the only European country so far to have an official ban on cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others, in place.
In July 2020, Russia passed its first laws to regulate cryptos which also bans Russian civil servants from owning any crypto assets.
On 16 April 2021, the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey issued a regulation banning the use of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, directly or indirectly, to pay for goods and services. The following day, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan went further and issued a decree that crypto exchanges to a list of firms subject to anti-money laundering and terrorism financing rules.
The State Bank of Vietnam has declared that the issuance, supply, and use of Bitcoin and other cryptos are illegal and penalties have been levied. However, there is no ban on bitcoin trading or holding them as assets.
Holding crypto as assets and trading is not banned however it is still an unregulated domain.