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Countries Where Bitcoin Is Banned or Legal 2019

countries where bitcoin is banned or legal

If you are looking to buy, sell, or spend Bitcoin, you should check if it is legal in your country.

In fact, there are many countries with different cryptocurrency regulations. Some of them even single out Bitcoin, allowing it to be used as money, pay taxes, purchase goods, or trade it like a commodity.

In other countries, even the mere possession of Bitcoin can get you to prison. Others have not even bothered to regulate it yet, leaving Bitcoin and other cryptos in legal limbo.

The legality of Bitcoin all over the world can be seen in this map:

Countries where bitcoin is banned or legal
Legal map of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Source: Coin.dance

Countries where Bitcoin is banned

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are generally welcomed in most parts of the world. Nevertheless, some countries have actually banned them or their use. Whether bans were imposed due to Bitcoins decentralized nature, the threat to their current financial system or just because proper regulations are yet to be approved, there are at least nine countries as of March 2019 which decided to do so. These are:

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

In addition to the countries where BTC is banned, there are also countries where Bitcoin is somewhat restricted and cannot be traded or used for payment. In such states, banks and other financial service providers are prohibited from dealing with cryptocurrency exchanges and companies, and in more extreme cases the countries have even banned crypto exchanges (etc China).

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

Note that despite the bans and restrictions, these laws have not eradicated Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency trades and their usage. Due to the nature of decentralized cryptocurrencies, it is simply impossible to ban them. Many individuals in those countries still make use of sites like Local Bitcoins, Paxful or Bisq to trade it with others, as indicated by the trading volumes on these platforms.

Local Bitcoins trading volume China
LocalBitcoins trading volume in China. Source: Coin.dance
paxful trading volume in India
Paxful trading volume in India. Source: Coin.dance
LocalBitcoins Saudi Arabia trading volume
LocalBitcoins trading volume in Saudi Arabia. Source: Coin.dance

This just serves to prove that no government holds the power of truly ban Bitcoin unless they prohibit the usage of internet for the entire nation.

On a positive note, research shows there are at least 111 states where Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are recognized by law and are legal.

For instance, major countries like the United States and Canada hold a generally crypto-friendly attitude towards cryptocurrencies while also trying to enforce anti-money laundering laws and prevent fraud. Meanwhile, in the European Union, the member states are not allowed to launch their own cryptocurrency, but crypto exchanges are encouraged to be legalized and comply with the regulations.

As of March 2019, the most Bitcoin-friendly countries where BTC is legal are:

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

Some countries still haven’t made their mind what to do with Bitcoin. In such cases, the usage of BTC is legal in the sense that you can own it, but there are no clear rules or legal protection concerning its status. These countries are either already creating a legal framework for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, or have taken a wait-and-see approach. These “undecided” countries include:

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

Fears of widespread cryptocurrency crackdowns have had a long-standing effect on Bitcoin.
Because of that, many people are wary of the trustless system and rely on traditional systems instead.

Regardless, a growing number of governments choose to embrace digital innovation and play a role in the industry. At the same time jurisdictions which oppose the emerging industry are at risk of being left behind. Ironically, these countries already are some of the poorest nations in the world, and widespread Bitcoin and cryptocurrency crackdowns seem to yield no favorable results to improve the situation. Quite the contrary; embracing the cryptocurrency businesses with favorable regulations present an excellent opportunity to bring in innovation, capital, tax revenue and improve the living standard for the whole population.

You may also like to read: How to buy Bitcoin?

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