Bitcoin has stirred controversy since its inception in 2009, as has the subsequent cryptocurrency that followed.
While it has been widely criticized for its volatility, its use in nefarious transactions and the exorbitant use of electricity to mine it, some view Bitcoin, particularly in the developing world, as a safe haven during economic storms.
But as more and more people are turning to Cryptocurrencies As an investment or a lifeline, these problems have manifested themselves in a set of restrictions on their use.
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 regulatory implications.
While some countries have placed restrictions on the way Bitcoin is used, banks prohibit their customers from conducting cryptocurrency transactions. Other countries have banned the use of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies outright with severe penalties for anyone transacting with them.
Algeria currently bans the use of cryptocurrencies after the passage of a financial law in 2018 that made it illegal to buy, sell, use or possess virtual currencies.
There has been a complete ban on the use of Bitcoin in Bolivia since 2014. The Bolivian Central Bank issued a decision banning Bitcoin and any other currency that is not regulated by a country or economic region.
China cracked down on cryptocurrencies with increasing intensity throughout 2021. Chinese officials issued repeated warnings to its people to stay out of the digital asset market and heavily stressed mining in the country as well as currency exchange in China and abroad.
Efforts to undermine Bitcoin – a decentralized currency outside the control of governments and institutions – are largely seen as an attempt by Chinese authorities to float its cryptocurrency.
In Colombia, financial institutions are not allowed to facilitate bitcoin transactions. Superintendencia Financiera warned financial institutions in 2014 that they may not “protect, invest, broker or manage virtual money operations”.
Egypt’s Dar Al Iftaa issued a fatwa in 2018, classifying Bitcoin transactions as “haram,” which is prohibited under Islamic law. This comes despite the fact that the laws of Egyptian banks are not binding, as they were tightened in September 2020 to prevent the trading or promotion of digital currencies without a license from the Central Bank.
Bank Indonesia, the country’s central bank, has issued new regulations banning the use of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, as a means of payment as of January 1, 2018.
Bitcoin has a complex relationship with the Iranian regime. In order to avoid the worst impact of crippling economic sanctions, Iran has instead resorted to the lucrative practice of bitcoin mining in order to finance imports.
While the central bank bans the circulation of cryptocurrencies mined abroad, it has encouraged bitcoin mining in the country with incentives.
Iran currently accounts for an estimated 4.5 percent share of bitcoin mining operations that take place around the world, representing revenues of more than $1 billion, according to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic.
In order for the cryptocurrency industry to thrive, Iran offered licensed miners cheap energy in exchange for selling all the cryptocurrencies produced to the central bank, according to Euronews and seen by Al Arabiya.net.
However, unlicensed mining drains more than 2 gigawatts of power from the national grid every day, causing electricity shortages.
To this end, Iranian authorities have issued a four-month ban on Bitcoin mining until September 22.
Despite the continuous efforts of the authorities to prevent its use, the popularity of cryptocurrencies is increasing in Iraq. The Central Bank of Iraq issued a statement in 2017 prohibiting its use, which is still in effect to this day.
In early 2021, the KRG Ministry of Interior issued similar guidelines to stop brokerage firms and exchanges dealing with cryptocurrencies.
Nepal Rastra Bank has declared Bitcoin illegal as of August 2017.
Macedonia is the only European country so far that has imposed an official ban on cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and others.
While cryptocurrency is not banned in Russia, there is an ongoing struggle against its use.
Russia issued its first cryptocurrency regulation in July 2020, which for the first time classified cryptocurrency as taxable property.
The law, which went into effect in January of this year, also prohibits Russian civil servants from owning any crypto assets.
In July, the attorney general announced proposed new legislation that would allow police to seize cryptocurrencies believed to have been illegally obtained under the pretext of being used for bribery.
Erdogan – AFP
Many in Turkey have switched to cryptocurrency as the value of the Turkish lira depreciates. With some of the highest levels of use anywhere in the world, the arrival of regulations has been rapid this year with inflation hitting a peak 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 Erdogan went even further and decreed that cryptocurrency trading firms be included in the list of firms subject to anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations.
The State Bank of Vietnam has declared that the issuance, supply and use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is illegal as a means of payment and is subject to penalty and fines ranging from 150 million VND ($6,300) to 200 million VND ($8,700).
However, the government does not prohibit the trading or holding of Bitcoin as an asset.
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