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Where is Bitcoin Legal, Where is it not?

     The Legal status of Bitcoin

All around the Globe

In the 2009 the world witnessed a sensational movement. Bitcoin, the first ever cryptocurrency launched by Satoshi Nakamoto. This paved a path for various digital currencies to follow. When I say Bitcoin I mean all cryptocurrency. Bitcoin was a mere lead and many alternate coins soon followed. Firstly, cryptocurrency is a highly volatile digital asset and secondly daily development have major impact on the prices. Bitcoin is starting to make its mark on the market not just as an investment but also as a medium of exchange. With quick returns Bitcoin is lucrative to many. But lucrative does not mean Legal. Due to it’s highly decentralized and independent nature authorities are in constant fear. Thus, governments aim at regulating and keeping a close watch. This brings us to the main question circling around cryptocurrency. Where is Bitcoin Legal and where is it not.

 

 

The 3- D’s of Bitcoin- Debates, Discussions and Decision.

The legalities around Bitcoins have been in the gray zone for too long. While Bitcoin is legal in some countries it is not in many others. It is not a simple decision as it has supporters as well as opposers. In all of this we are oblivious as to what steps one can take pertaining to cryptocurrencies. It is not a simple decision. The dark web, infamous for it’s illegal activities and purchases deems cryptocurrency as the best medium. The absence of a central authorization or third party along with anonymity of account holders makes it perfect for sketchy business. Secondly, the drastic impact it has on our environment is another deciding factor.

While some economies are skeptical about it others are rapidly progressing towards it’s legalization. So, it raises curiosity among many as to know where Bitcoin is legally accepted and where it is not. Be it mining crypto, it’s use as legal tender and acceptance as a medium of exchange. Different rules exist in different regions.

We shall look at a few countries and their reactions plus regulations on cryptocurrency.

The Crypto-friendly Nations.

The United States: They have a positive stance on the issue. It is listed as a convertible decentralized cryptocurrency by the US Treasury and accepted as a commodity by CFTC. The IRS classifying it as property, taxes it. The latest judgement by the US supreme court declares Bitcoin a fund and is to be regulated accordingly. MasterCard holders can conducted transactions in crypto along with Tesla becoming a huge investor. Such instances hint towards the widespread acceptance of Bitcoin. Not just by the government but by the American citizens as well.

The European Union: Despite the absence of a clear legislation, EU is accepting Bitcoin almost everywhere. VAT+GST applies on all bitcoin transactions. Under the EU law banks, credit unions and investment firms can own and trade in this asset class. Finland treats crypto as a commodity and not as currency. U.K until recently had a pro- Bitcoin stance and wishes to have a regulated policy over digital currency. Germany is open to Bitcoin and has a taxation method that varies depending on whom the authorities deal with. In Belgium cryptocurrency is exempt from VAT while Cyprus does not regulate it at all.

South Korea: Dealing in Bitcoin is legal for adults following this crypto transactions are constantly increasing. Both banks and exchanges are in charge of checking and authorizing.

Japan: Bitcoins along with other virtual currencies are legal and restricted property. The law states anti-money laundering regulations and guidelines apply to both users and investors.

Canada and Australia: Both these countries have a similar and symbiotic relationship with cryptocurrency. They view it as commodity whose exchange generates business income. Bitcoin is neither money nor a foreign currency. It’s registration with authorities is essential to curb AML issues.

The Non- Supporters

While we have countries like El Salvador and Paraguay that may soon make Bitcoin legal tender. Claiming that they have cheap and renewable sources of energy available to facilitate mining. We have some that seek to strictly regulate it. We also have countries like India that are still indecisive about it’s stance. A bill is presented in the parliament and the formulation of a law is eagerly awaited. The Indian government is willing to investigate deeper into block chain technology to improve the financial service sector.

China: After banning 90% of cryptocurrency mining, made it evident that they are not ardent supporters of digital currency. The banking institutions don’t acknowledge them either. Denying investors, traders and miners their services. The ICO is declared illegal as well.

Iran: Just last month Iran had banned mining of cryptocurrencies keeping in mind the drastic    ill- effects it has on our environment. The computer systems that generate Bitcoins also cause a lot of harm to our ecosystem. Making it a major concern for the government.

Russia, Vietnam, Ecuador, Columbia all have slightly varying laws. But majorly they do not regulate Bitcoin and it’s use is illegal. Neither do their banks accept crypto as a means of payment, nor do they support those investing in it.

 Future of Bitcoin

After looking at a few major countries and their stance on cryptocurrencies we can arrive at the following conclusion. Despite having been around for over a decade most countries are yet to take a firm decision on the subject of it’s legality. While some countries are sprinting towards it’s legalization others are running away from it. But banning an asset class is better than having no existing laws all together. As many confused crypto enthusiast may invest and later have all their assets sealed by the government. Most governments and central banks hold onto the independent and anonymous nature of Bitcoin. How it’s novel features and selling points become the very reason it faces regulation. Most unusual and unconventional inventions have faced plenty of rejection before garnering widespread  acceptance. Cryptocurrency is no exception.

 

 

 

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