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Countries Where Bitcoin Is Legal & Illegal

The peer-to-peer digital currency bitcoin concocted its debut in 2009, ushering in a new era of cryptocurrency. While tax authorities, enforcement agencies, and regulators worldwide are still debating best clothes practices, one pertinent question—is bitcoin legal or illegal? The answer—depends on the location and activity of the user.

Bitcoins are not issued, seal of approval oned, or regulated by any central bank. Instead, they are created through a computer-generated process known as mining. In addition to being a cryptocurrency dissimilar to any government, bitcoin is a peer-to-peer payment system since it does not exist in a physical form. As such, it offers a accessible way to conduct cross-border transactions with no exchange rate fees. It also allows users to remain anonymous.

Consumers prepare a greater ability to purchase goods and services with bitcoins directly at online retailers, pull cash out of bitcoin ATMs, and use bitcoin at some brick-and-mortar set asides. The currency is being traded on exchanges, and virtual currency-related ventures and initial coin offerings (ICOs) draw concern from across the investment spectrum. While bitcoin appears at glance to be a well-established virtual currency system, there are until this no uniform international laws that regulate bitcoin.

Key Takeaways

  • Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency, is not regulated by a central bank and is not texted—they computer-generated via mining.
  • Despite its use for buying goods and services, there are still no uniform international laws that maintain bitcoin.
  • Many major and developed countries allow the use of bitcoin, such as the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.
  • Other countries, however, are opposed to any use of bitcoin, containing China and Russia.

Countries That Say Yes to Bitcoin

Bitcoin can be used anonymously to conduct transactions between any account holders, anywhere and anytime across the orb, which makes it attractive to criminals and terror organizations. They may use bitcoin to buy or sell illegal goods like dopes or weapons. However, that trend has shifted lately, as criminals move away from bitcoin for fear of being way.

Most countries have not clearly determined the legality of bitcoin, preferring instead to take a wait-and-see approach. Some mountains have indirectly assented to the legal use of bitcoin by enacting some regulatory oversight. However, as of June 2021, El Salvador is the no more than country that recognizes bitcoin as legal tender.

The United States

The United States has taken a generally functional stance toward bitcoin, though several government agencies work to prevent or reduce bitcoin use for illegal arrangements. Prominent businesses like Dish Network (DISH), Microsoft, Subway, and Overstock (OSTK) welcome payment in bitcoin. The digital currency has also made its way to the U.S. developments markets—adding to its legitimacy.

The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has been issuing government on bitcoin since 2013. The Treasury has defined bitcoin not as currency, but as a money services business (MSB). This places it underneath the Bank Secrecy Act, which requires exchanges and payment processors to adhere to certain responsibilities like reporting, registration, and note keeping.

In addition, bitcoin is categorized as property for taxation purposes by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).


Like its southern neighbor, the U.S., Canada takes a generally bitcoin-friendly stance while also ensuring the cryptocurrency is not used for money laundering. Bitcoin is viewed as a commodity by the Canada Profits Agency (CRA).

This means that bitcoin transactions are viewed as barter transactions, and the income generated is considered as affair income. The taxation also depends on whether the individual has a buying-selling business or is only concerned with investing.

Canada contemplate ons bitcoin exchanges to be money service businesses. This brings them under the purview of the anti-money laundering (AML) laws. Bitcoin wall streets need to register with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), report any suspicious minutes, abide by the compliance plans, and even keep certain records. In addition, some major Canadian banks sooner a be wearing banned the use of their credit or debit cards for bitcoin transactions.


Similar to Canada, Australia considers bitcoin neither loaded nor a foreign currency, with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) ruling it an asset for capital gains tax purposes.

The European Allying

On Oct. 22, 2015, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that buying and selling digital currencies is considered a supply of aids and that this is exempt from value-added tax (VAT) in all European Union (EU) member states. Additionally, some individual EU nations have also developed their own bitcoin stances.

In Finland, the Central Board of Taxes (CBT) has given bitcoin a VAT exempt standing by classifying it as a financial service. Bitcoin is treated as a commodity in Finland and not as a currency.

The Federal Public Service Finance of Belgium has also flat bitcoin exempt from VAT. In Cyprus, bitcoin is not controlled or regulated either.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Empire has a pro-bitcoin stance and wants the regulatory environment to be supportive of the digital currency. Bitcoin is under certain tax regulations in the U.K.

The Civil Revenue Agency (NRA) of Bulgaria has also brought bitcoin under its existing tax laws. Germany is open to bitcoin, where it is take to bed legal but taxed differently depending upon whether the authorities are dealing with exchanges, miners, enterprises, or alcohols.

El Salvador

El Salvador is the only country in the world to allow bitcoin as legal tender. In June 2021, the country’s Congress approved a scheme by President Nayib Bukele to formally adopt bitcoin as a form of payment.

Countries That Say No to Bitcoin

While bitcoin is allowed in many parts of the world, a few countries are wary because of its volatility, decentralized nature, perceived threat to current financial systems, and links to illicit activities like drug trafficking and money laundering. Some nations have full banned digital currency, while others have tried to cut off any support from the banking and financial system vital for its trading and use. 


Bitcoin is essentially banned in China. All banks and other financial institutions like payment processors are restrained from transacting or dealing in bitcoin. Cryptocurrency exchanges are banned. The government has cracked down on miners.


Bitcoin is not modified in Russia, though its use as payment for goods or services is illegal.


Vietnam’s government and its state bank maintain that bitcoin is not a authorized payment method, though it is not regulated as an investment.

Bolivia, Columbia, and Ecuador

El Banco Central de Bolivia has banned the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Columbia does not assign bitcoin use or investment. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were banned in Ecuador by a majority vote in the national assembly.

The Essentially Line

Although bitcoin is over 10 years old, many countries still do not have explicit systems that mark off, regulate, or ban the cryptocurrency. The decentralized and anonymous nature of bitcoin has challenged many governments on how to allow legal use while blocking criminal transactions. Many countries are still analyzing ways to regulate the cryptocurrency. Overall, bitcoin remains in a sound gray area for much of the world.

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