Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin, have been a growing trend over the last few years. Although not yet widely accepted or adopted by governments or banks, many countries have taken steps to regulate and legalize cryptocurrencies in some way or another.
In 2017, Japan became the first country to officially recognize cryptocurrencies as a form of payment and included them in their legislation. They also established a licensing system for cryptocurrency exchanges, allowing them to operate in the country. This set an example for other countries to follow, and since then, several others have legalized or proposed regulation for cryptocurrencies.
In Europe, Malta has emerged as a leader in cryptocurrency regulation and is quickly becoming a hub for blockchain businesses. In 2018, they passed the Virtual Financial Assets Act, which introduced clear guidelines regarding the use of cryptocurrencies. Similarly, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Gibraltar have all passed legislation in different forms to promote cryptocurrency investment, trading, and payments.
In the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been the primary regulator of cryptocurrencies. Not only have they fined companies that have violated securities laws, but they have also issued guidance to protect investors. Additionally, states such as Wyoming, New Hampshire, and Ohio have passed laws that allow for the use of cryptocurrencies for payments and transactions.
In Asia, South Korea, China, and Singapore are beginning to embrace cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. After banning cryptocurrency trading in September of 2017, China reversed its position and began to develop its own digital currency in February of 2018. South Korea has also come around, recognizing the potential of cryptocurrencies and launching numerous initiatives to support related businesses. Meanwhile, Singapore’s liberal stance towards cryptocurrencies has attracted many exchanges, creating a new crypto-friendly environment.
In the Middle East, Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are leading the charge. In 2019, Israel’s government announced plans to introduce regulations for cryptocurrency exchanges and ICOs. Additionally, UAE has set up a regulatory framework for cryptocurrency entities, allowing companies to be more open to investment opportunities involving cryptocurrencies.
Finally, Australia, Canada, and the Bahamas are just a few of the other countries that have legalized some form of cryptocurrency use. Australia has stated that it will continue with its “light touch” approach to cryptocurrencies, while Canada has commanded the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) to create a structure around virtual currency investments. In the Bahamas, the government has made significant progress in terms of cryptocurrency regulation, as well as introducing a digital currency, the Sand Dollar, for everyday use.
In conclusion, although cryptocurrency adoption is still in its early stages, many countries have begun to embrace it in some form or another. Countries such as Japan, Malta, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar, the United States, South Korea, China, Singapore, Israel, the UAE, Australia, Canada, and the Bahamas have all made steps towards legalizing and regulating cryptocurrency use. As the trend towards a global cashless society continues, it is likely that these numbers will only grow in the coming years.