Countries That Use Cryptocurrency 2023

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Status

Absolute ban

Implicit ban

Legal to use/Undefined

Official legal tender (Bitcoin)

Unclear

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What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrencies are currencies, but which are very different from dollars, euros, pounds, or rupees. Cryptocurrencies are usually not issued by any particular country or authority. Instead, cryptocurrencies are decentralized and global. Cryptocurrency is also digital, with no physical coinage or bills, and new units (generally referred to as coins) are generated—in a process known as mining—through the performance of complex computer calculations. In the early days of crypto, this open system meant that anyone with a home computer could mine cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (the first and most widely accepted major cryptocurrency), Etherium, or Dogecoin. However, both competition and complexity increased as the industry matured, and by late 2022, few cryptocurrencies were worth the equipment and energy costs for most miners to pursue.

Which countries use cryptocurrency?

The vast majority of the world's countries use cryptocurrency. Although proof would be difficult to obtain, the possibility exists that cryptocurrency is used in every country in the world. However, the fact that cryptocurrency is in use in a given country does not necessarily indicate that cryptocurrency is legal for use in that country. Due to its inherently private and anonymous nature, crypto is quite easy to obtain, possess, and use discreetly. As long as an individual has internet access, they can buy and sell different types of cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, typically without detection.

Are there any international laws regarding Bitcoin and cryptocurrency?

Although many international laws exist to regulate different types of fiat currency, including the dollar, there are (thus far) few laws related to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Crypto is a fairly new and evolving technology, and many countries are still in the process of determining their legal approach to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Thus far, a few countries have explicitly declared Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to be legal, a few have declared them illegal, and several more have declared them legal to own but forbidden banks (and sometimes businesses) from processing crypto-related transactions. The largest group, however, is countries that have yet to incorporate crypto into their financial systems or laws. Instead, these countries often simply issue a statement that reminds consumers that crypto is a risky, volatile, and unprotected investment and mentions any existing laws (such as tax codes or anti-money laundering regulations) that apply to crypto transactions. As countries settle upon their official stances on crypto, the laws regulating it are expected to become more detailed and refined.

Countries Where Bitcoin and Crypto are Legal (or at Least Not Illegal):

Albania Costa Rica Israel Portugal
Angola Croatia Italy Romania
Anguilla Cuba Jamaica Saint Kitts and Nevis
Antigua and Barbuda Cyprus Japan Saint Lucia
Australia Czech Republic Jersey Samoa
Austria Denmark Kenya Serbia
Azerbaijan Dominica Kyrgyzstan Singapore
Bahamas El Salvador Latvia Slovakia
Barbados Estonia Liechtenstein Slovenia
Belarus Finland Lithuania South Africa
Belgium France Luxembourg South Korea
Belize Georgia Macau Spain
Bermuda Germany Malaysia Sri Lanka
Bhutan Gibraltar Malta Sweden
Bosnia and Herzegovina Greece Marshall Islands Switzerland
Brazil Guatemala Mauritius Tajikistan
British Virgin Islands Guernsey Mexico Tanzania
Brunei Haiti Moldova Trinidad and Tobago
Bulgaria Honduras Montenegro Ukraine
Cambodia Hong Kong Netherlands United Arab Emirates
Canada Hungary New Zealand United Kingdom
Cape Verde Iceland Nicaragua United States
Cayman Islands India Norway Uzbekistan
Central African Republic Ireland Philippines Venezuela
Chile Isle of Man Poland

Concerns about cryptocurrency's role in crime, terrorism, and money laundering

While most countries are eager to incorporate the extra revenue that taxes on cryptocurrency-related transactions would introduce, many also have significant concerns about both the security of cryptocurrency and its potential for enabling unlawful activities.

Because cryptocurrency is secure, decentralized, and quite private, governments often have concerns about crypto's ability to enable illegal transactions. These can range from the purchase of illegal goods or services by individuals to larger-scale offenses such as money laundering or the funding of terrorist groups. As such, one of the most commonly seen regulations on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency is the incorporation of anti-money-laundering and counter-financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) laws, which almost invariably applied even in countries that have otherwise not regulated crypto in any other meaningful way.

Where is it legal to trade cryptocurrency?

There are several major countries where people are allowed to trade cryptocurrency. For example, the financial crimes enforcement network, which is based in the United States, has been issuing guidance related to Bitcoin since 2013. Now that regulations exist in the United States regarding cryptocurrency, it is possible for US residents to legally trade in it.

The European Union has also recognized Bitcoin, as well as other forms of cryptocurrency, as crypto assets. It is legal to use Bitcoin throughout the European Union, but the European Banking Authority has stated that the cryptocurrency regulatory network is outside of its own control. Therefore, it continues to issue stern warnings to people who use cryptocurrency regularly.

Where is cryptocurrency considered legal tender?

Answering the question of which countries consider cryptocurrency to be legal tender requires a clear definition of the term legal tender, which does not simply mean a currency is legal to use. When a government declares a currency to be legal tender, that currency is designated as official, which means the government accepts it and also requires all creditors to accept it as payment for debt. For example, in the United States, the only legal tender is Federal Reserve notes (i.e.: paper money) and coins—which is to say, cash. Even checks and credit cards, while widely accepted, are not considered legal tender. Rather, they are substitutes that can stand in for legal tender in many circumstances.

On 9 June 2021, El Salvador became the first country in the world to declare a cryptocurrency—Bitcoin, to be specific—to be legal tender. Since that time, El Salvador has had two forms of official legal tender: Bitcoin and United States dollars. Less than a year later, on 22 April 2022, the Central African Republic followed suit, establishing Bitcoin as a government-sanctioned legal tender alongside the Central African CFA franc.

Countries Where Bitcoin is Legal Tender:

Country Year made legal tender
El Salvador 9 June 2022
Central African Republic 22 April 2022

Where have Bitcoin and cryptocurrency been banned?

National bans on crypto fall into two categories. The most straightforward type is an absolute ban, which prohibits all crypto transactions of any kind. Most absolute bans stem from either a strict interpretation of Muslim scripture or a concern about crypto's usefulness in money laundering or the funding of terrorists. The second type of ban is an implicit ban, which does not explicitly ban crypto, but restricts it in ways that render it difficult to actually use. For example, implicit bans often prohibit banks from processing crypto transactions and forbid businesses from accepting crypto as payment.

Countries Where Bitcoin is Banned Either Partially or Completely:

Country Ban type Country Ban type Country Ban type
Afghanistan Absolute Ghana Absolute Niger Implicit
Algeria Absolute Guyana Implicit Nigeria Implicit
Argentina Implicit Indonesia Implicit North Macedonia Absolute
Bahrain Implicit Iran Implicit Oman Implicit
Bangladesh Absolute Iraq Absolute Pakistan Implicit
Benin Implicit Ivory Coast Implicit Palau Implicit
Bolivia Absolute Jordan Implicit Qatar Absolute
Burkina Faso Implicit Kazakhstan Implicit Republic of the Congo Implicit
Burundi Implicit Kosovo Implicit Russia Implicit
Cameroon Implicit Kuwait Implicit Saudi Arabia Implicit
Chad Implicit Lebanon Implicit Senegal Implicit
China Absolute Lesotho Implicit Taiwan Implicit
Colombia Implicit Libya Implicit Thailand Implicit
Dominican Republic Absolute Maldives Implicit Togo Implicit
DR Congo Implicit Mali Implicit Tunisia Absolute
Ecuador Implicit Morocco Absolute Turkey Implicit
Egypt Absolute Namibia Implicit Turkmenistan Implicit
Gabon Implicit Nepal Absolute Vietnam Implicit

Countries That Use Cryptocurrency 2023

Note: Most countries allow the use of crypto, but local tax laws (sometimes excluding value-added taxes) and/or anti-money-laundering and counter-financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) laws often still apply.

Countries That Use Cryptocurrency 2023

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