Previously we have already told you about the legal aspects of Bitcoin and the Regulator’s opinions on Bitcoin (NFA — National Futures Association, CFPB — Customer Financial Protection Bureau, OCC — Office of the Controller of the Currency, FINRA — Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Federal Reserve, IRS — Internal Revenue Service, CFTC — Commodity Futures Trading Commission, FinCEN — Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, SEC — Securities and Exchange Commission).
You can often hear the news like “China bans Bitcoin” or “Bitcoin banned in India”. But do they have any grounds? What does Bitcoin ban really mean for the country? Does Bitcoin price depend on its legal position in different parts of the world? There are too many questions that still need to be answered.
In today’s article we will dive into the geography of Bitcoin and discuss the countries where it is banned or legal.
4 years ago, in 2014, the Central Bank of Bolivia has issued an official statement, in which it outlawed all currencies (both national and digital), which were not regulated or created by the Bolivian government.
“It is illegal to use any kind of currency that is not issued and controlled by a government or an authorized entity.”
What is more, the Bolivian government is rather hostile to the use of cryptocurrencies: they regularly arrest Bolivians, who are using crypto for personal or business purposes. The local authorities have recently claimed that cryptocurrency is a pyramid scheme and using Bitcoin as well as any other cryptocurrency is illegal.
It is interesting that recently Nicolas Maduro, the President of Venezuela, has proposed Antigua and Barbuda, Plurinational State of Bolivia, Republic of Cuba, Commonwealth of Dominica, Republic of Ecuador, Grenada, Republic of Nicaragua, Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, (all member states of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA)) to develop together the Petro, his oil-backed cryptocurrency. However, the idea was not successful.
Cryptocurrencies were also banned by the Ecuadorian authorities. It was assumed that cryptocurrencies would become an obstacle for the development of a new E-based money system controlled by the state.
The Central Bank of Vietnam has officially banned cryptocurrencies (namely, Bitcoin) in its statement in June 2014.
“The State Bank of Vietnam has reported it to the Government and sent an official note warning about the risks in the Bitcoin using transactions and affirming that the Vietnamese Government does not recognize and allow the Bitcoin using transactions and is not responsible to resolve the arising disputes relating to the Bitcoin using transactions.” Farther down, the Ministry of Public Police notes that Bitcoin’s use could negatively impact the country by facilitating crime and providing a workaround for taxes. Furthermore, the government argues that speculation and the possibility of a bubble burst could undermine “the people’s confidence in the government.”
In 2017 the Prime Minister of Vietnam has signed a plan that would eventually legalize Bitcoin in the country in the near future. However, in autumn 2017 the Vietnamese authorities have changed their minds and made a decision to ban the cryptocurrency industry in a country.
Countries where Bitcoin is legalized
Just a few years ago all Australians who traded cryptocurrencies cryptocurrencies (buy / sell operations) were had to pay goods-and-services tax. However, recently the government of Australia has introduced a new law on Bitcoin double taxation.
“Currently, consumers who use digital currency can effectively bear GST twice: once on the purchase of the digital currency, and once again on its use in exchange for other goods and services subject to the GST. The bill will ensure that Australians are no longer charged GST on purchases of digital currency, allowing it to be treated the same way as physical money for GST purposes.”
In accordance with the proposed amendments to the legislation on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism, control over the activities of bitcoin-exchanges will be carried out by the Australian Reporting and Analytical Transaction Center (AUSTRAC).
“There is a constant threat of serious financial crime, because new technologies are emerging, and criminals are trying to use them for dishonest purposes,” said Justice Minister of Australia Michael Keenan. “These measures will guarantee that criminals will not be able to hide anything.”
Canada is considered to be a Bitcoin friendly country with an effective regulatory mechanism. The cryptocurrency industry is regulated under AML under Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing regulations.
The Minister of Finance Bill Morneau claimed that the Government of Canada will not tighten the rules governing transactions with digital currencies. According to Morneau, the Canadian authorities do not plan to change their position regarding bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies and, accordingly, do not consider the possibility of strict regulation of this market.
At the same time, the Minister noted that the issues of money laundering and terrorist financing through cryptocurrency are still important and deserve increased attention.
“We need to be sure that we understand what is the basis of this market, so as not to jeopardize our economy,” he said.