There’s hardly any new opinion when it comes to bitcoin’s chances of going mainstream. Many notable persons have aired their opinion on the adoption of cryptocurrencies. The good thing is, positive or not, such publicity is the rock-solid foundation for mass crypto adoption. In terms of government regulations and restrictions, perspectives are different. As a matter of fact, countries which are ‘crypto-friendly’ with clear policies on this subject still hardly exist.
Bitcoin remains within the legal gray area in many countries while in others, government have unreservedly placed bans on cryptocurrency related activities. Some governments refrain from imposing outright bans, but cut off support from conventional banking and finance system. The government may argue that their decisions are based on the ‘perceived threat’ to the monetary system and strong affiliations of crypto to illicit activities but our fast-evolving world leaves room for a digital-asset takeover.
In this article, I’ll focus on those countries that have assumed a positive stance on bitcoin judging by their regulations. Here are five countries which have a liberal view on cryptocurrencies.
1) United States
The United States has one of the most structured and clear regulations guiding the use of cryptocurrencies. Since 2013, FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network), a branch of the US Department of Treasury have shouldered the responsibility of guiding individuals and businesses. Also, they are ensuring that their bitcoin transactions thread the path of legality and satisfies AML (anti-money laundering) requirements. This clarifies the country’s position on the use of bitcoin.
USA a crypto-friendly country on the use of Bitcoin
Under US laws, cryptocurrencies are regulated as currency and security as decided in 2016 by the Supreme Court of the United States. Bitcoin is also a taxed property in the United States.
Top tech giants and online retailers in the US that sell goods or services for bitcoin include Microsoft, Overstock, Expedia, Shopify amongst others.
In Finland, mined bitcoin is considered a taxable property. This decision was reached when the country’s tax administrators ordered the taxation of all digital currencies.
There is a striking difference in the Finnish government’s approach to cryptocurrencies. It is neither viewed as a currency nor a security as in most countries. Rather, bitcoin transactions are regarded as “private contract equivalent to a contract for difference (CFD) for tax purposes”. Bitcoin accepting merchants and stores in Finland include Denarium, Mansteri store, Tietokonekauppa.fi amongst others.
Back in 2017, tensions were high amongst bitcoin enthusiasts in Nigeria when CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) passed a alarming message to all Nigerian banks. As a result, the ban of bitcoin and other digital currency transactions was being relayed. Thankfully, the much-expected nerve-calming press release did not take too long. The Central Bank later clarified that it has no control over cryptocurrencies just like the internet. This implied that there is only so much they can do to regulate the use of bitcoin.
The body alongside NDIC (Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation) set up a panel to explore the possibilities of adopting cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, they wanted to research the opportunities ushered in blockchain technology in fintech. This further lends credence to the fact that transacting with bitcoin is legal in Nigeria. To summarize, Nigeria will be the frist crypto-friendly country on the African continent which could be a leader in Blockchain technology.
The Japanese Payment Services Act explicitly defines cryptocurrency as a property value, not a legal tender. Aside the fact that banks and financial institutions are prohibited from facilitating cryptocurrency transactions, there are no limitations or question marks surrounding bitcoin’s legitimacy in Japan.
The Payment Services Act regulates cryptocurrency exchanges and ensures that investors and customers are duly protected. It also ensures AML compliance by licensed exchanges.
Japan is one of the most crypto friendly countries in the world in terms of utility and acceptance as a medium of exchange. According to this report, over 20,000 merchants accept Bitcoin payments in Japan.
Canadian laws bordering the use of cryptocurrency are similar to those of other countries on this list. The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) is the body responsible for ensuring that licensed parties comply strictly with AML regulations.
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) considers bitcoin a commodity; therefore, bitcoin transactions are regarded as barter trades. The taxation of bitcoin in Canada depends on whether the individual is a trader (buying-selling) or an investor. Hosterbox and KFC Canada are major Canadian firms that accept bitcoin payments. Early this year, a municipality in Canada also announced its plan to accept bitcoin for property tax payment.
The list of crypto-friendly countries is rapidly on the rise. We cannot but hope that more governments and business owners join the bandwagon. Blockchain technology with Bitcoin included could be a very helpful tool too bring democracy to the next level.
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