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Bitcoin ban: these are the countries where crypto is restricted or illegal

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Bitcoin has been controversial since its debut in 2009, as have the cryptocurrencies that followed in its wake.

Although widely criticized for its volatility, its use in nefarious transactions, and the exorbitant use of electricity to mine it, crypto is seen by some, especially in developing countries, as a haven during storms. economic.

El Salvador became the first country to make it legal tender in September 2021, now followed by the Central African Republic in April this year.

But as more and more people turn to cryptos as an investment or a lifeline, criticism of the crypto has continued to manifest itself in a series of restrictions on its use.

The legal status of bitcoin and other altcoins (alternative coins to bitcoin) varies widely from country to country, while in some the relationship remains to be properly defined or is constantly changing.

While the majority of countries do not make the use of Bitcoin itself illegal, its status as a means of payment or as a commodity varies with different regulatory implications.

Some countries have imposed limits on how Bitcoin can be used, with banks prohibiting its customers from transacting in cryptocurrency. Other countries have outright banned the use of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies with heavy penalties in place for anyone who transacts crypto.

These are the countries that have a particularly strained relationship with Bitcoin and other altcoins.

Algeria

Algeria currently prohibits the use of cryptocurrency following the adoption of a financial law in 2018 that made it illegal to buy, sell, use or hold virtual currencies.

Bolivia

The use of Bitcoin has been completely banned in Bolivia since 2014. The Bolivian Central Bank issued a resolution banning it and any other currency not regulated by a country or economic zone.

China

China has cracked down on cryptocurrencies with increasing intensity throughout 2021. Chinese authorities have repeatedly warned its people to stay away from the digital asset market and have severely cracked down on mining in the country as well as currency exchanges in China and abroad.

On August 27, Yin Youping, deputy director of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) Financial Consumer Rights Protection Bureau, called cryptos a speculative asset and warned people to “protect their pockets.”

Efforts to undermine Bitcoin – a decentralized currency beyond the control of governments and institutions – are widely seen as an attempt by Chinese authorities to float their own e-money.

The PBoC seeks to be one of the first major central banks in the world to launch its own digital currency, and in doing so, it would be able to monitor the transactions of its staff more closely.

On September 24, the PBoC went further and cryptocurrency transactions prohibited altogether in the countryside.

Colombia

In Colombia, financial institutions are not allowed to facilitate Bitcoin transactions. The Superintendencia Financiera warned financial institutions in 2014 that they could not “protect, invest, trade or manage virtual money operations”.

Egypt

Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta, the country’s top Islamic advisory body, issued a religious edict in 2018 classifying bitcoin transactions as “haram,” which is prohibited by Islamic law. Although not binding, Egyptian banking laws were strengthened in September 2020 to prevent the trading or promotion of cryptos without a license from the Central Bank.

Indonesia

Bank Indonesia, the country’s central bank, has issued new regulations prohibiting the use of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, as a means of payment from January 1, 2018.

Iran

Bitcoin has a complex relationship with the Iranian regime. In order to escape the worst impact of crippling economic sanctions, Iran has instead turned to the lucrative practice of Bitcoin mining in order to finance imports.

While the Central Bank prohibits the trading of foreign-mined cryptocurrencies, it has encouraged Bitcoin mining in the country with incentives.

About 4.5% of global Bitcoin mining takes place in Iran, which blockchain analytics firm Elliptic says could represent revenues of over $1 billion.

For the crypto industry to thrive, Iran has offered licensed miners cheap energy, but requires all mined crypto to be sold to the Central Bank.

However, unlicensed mining drains more than 2 GW from the national grid every day, causing power shortages.

To that end, Iranian authorities have issued a four-month ban on Bitcoin mining until September 22.

India

India is becoming increasingly hostile to cryptocurrencies. On November 23, the government announced plans to introduce a new bill in the Indian parliament that would establish a new central bank-backed digital currency as well as ban almost all cryptocurrencies.

Earlier in 2021, it considered criminalizing the possession, issuance, mining, trading, and transfer of crypto assets. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he wanted to make sure crypto “doesn’t end up in the wrong hands, which can ruin our youth.”

Iraq

Despite sustained efforts by authorities to block their use, cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly popular in Iraq. The Central Bank of Iraq has been particularly hostile, issuing a statement banning their use in 2017 which is still in effect to this day. In early 2021, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Interior Ministry issued similar guidelines to arrest money brokers and exchanges handling crypto.

Kosovo

While holding or trading cryptocurrency assets is not yet banned in Kosovo, the government announced a ban on crypto mining in early January, blaming a growing energy crisis. The country, which unilaterally declared independence in 2008, is facing historic power shortages with scheduled blackouts currently being put in place to save energy. In a further attempt to reduce energy waste, Economy Minister Atrane Rizvanolli announced a long-term ban on crypto mining in the country. Police have been tasked with enforcing the ban as well as locating mining sites across the country.

Nepal

Nepal Rastra Bank declared Bitcoin illegal in August 2017.

North Macedonia

North Macedonia is so far the only European country that has implemented an official ban on cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and others.

Russia

Russia has a checkered association with cryptocurrency, made even more complicated by its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Although cryptography is not banned in Russia, until recently there was a dispute against its use. Now, he is seen by some as a savior to help the country escape the heavy financial sanctions imposed by the West.

Russia passed its first laws to regulate cryptos in July 2020, which for the first time designated cryptocurrency as taxable property.

The law, which came into force in January this year, also prohibits Russian officials from owning crypto assets.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly linked cryptocurrency to criminal activity, calling for greater attention to cross-border crypto transactions in particular.

In July, the Attorney General announced a new bill that would allow police to confiscate crypto deemed to have been obtained illegally on the grounds that it was used for corruption.

However, as the third largest mining center in the world according to data from the University of Cambridge, there are fears that Russia may now embrace crypto and exploit its natural resources to exploit bitcoin mining rather than mining. denigrate.

Turkey

Many in Turkey have turned to cryptocurrency as the value of the Turkish lira has plummeted. With some of the highest usage levels in the world, the onset of regulation has been swift this year, with inflation peaking in April.

On April 16, 2021, the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey issued a regulation prohibiting the use of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, directly or indirectly, to pay for goods and services. The next day, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan went further and issued an executive order that crypto exchanges with a list of companies subject to AML/CFT rules.

Vietnam

The State Bank of Vietnam has declared that the issuance, supply and use of Bitcoin and other cryptos is illegal as a form of payment and is subject to fines ranging from 150 million VND (€5,600) at 200 million VND (€7,445). ).

However, the government does not prohibit the trading of Bitcoins or hold them as assets.