Bitcoin has been controversial since its beginning in 2009, as have the subsequent cryptocurrencies that followed in its wake.
That’s the reason some countries decided to place limitations on the way Bitcoin can be used, with banks banning its customers from making cryptocurrency transactions. Other countries have banned the use of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies outright with heavy penalties in place for anyone making crypto transactions.
The countries that have a particularly fraught relationship with Bitcoin and other altcoins are:
- Algeria – Algeria currently prohibits the use of cryptocurrency following the passing of a financial law in 2018 that made it illegal to buy, sell, use or hold virtual currencies.
- Bolivia – There is a complete ban in place on the usage of Bitcoin in Bolivia since 2014. The Bolivian Central Bank issued a resolution banning it and any other currency not regulated by a country or economic zone.
- China – Chinese officials have repeatedly issued warnings to its people to stay clear of the digital asset market and have clamped down hard on mining in the country as well as currency exchanges in China and overseas.
- Colombia – In Colombia, financial institutions are not allowed to facilitate Bitcoin transactions. The Superintendencia Financiera warned financial institutions in 2014 that they may not “protect, invest, broker, or manage virtual money operations”.
- Egypt – Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta, the country’s primary Islamic advisory body, issued a religious decree in 2018, classifying Bitcoin transactions as “haram,” something prohibited under Islamic law. While not binding, Egypt’s banking laws were tightened in September 2020 to prevent trading or promoting cryptos without a Central Bank licence.
- Indonesia – Bank Indonesia, the country’s central bank, issued new regulations banning the use of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, as a means of payment from 1 January 2018.
- Iran – Bitcoin has a complex relationship with the Iranian regime. In order to evade the worst impact of crippling economic sanctions, Iran has instead turned to the lucrative practice of Bitcoin mining in order to finance imports.
- India – India is becoming increasingly hostile towards cryptocurrencies. On November 23, the government announced its intention to introduce a new bill to the Indian parliament which would establish a new central bank-backed digital currency as well as ban almost all cryptocurrencies.
- Iraq – Despite sustained efforts by authorities to block their use, cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly popular in Iraq. The Iraqi Central Bank has been particularly hostile, issuing a statement in 2017 prohibiting their use which is still in force to the present day. In early 2021, the Ministry of Interior of the Kurdistan regional government issued similar guidance to stop money brokerages and exchanges handling cryptos.
- Kosovo – While the holding or trading of cryptocurrency assets isn’t yet prohibited in Kosovo, the government announced a ban on crypto mining in early January, blaming a growing energy crisis. In a further bid to curb energy wastage, Economy Minister Atrane Rizvanolli announced a long-term ban on crypto mining in the country.
- Nepal – The Nepal Rastra Bank declared Bitcoin illegal as of August 2017.
- North Macedonia – North Macedonia is the only European country so far to have an official ban on cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others, in place.
- Russia – While cryptocurrency isn’t outlawed in Russia, there is an ongoing conflict being waged against its use.
- Turkey – On 16 April 2021, the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey issued a regulation banning the use of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, directly or indirectly, to pay for goods and services. The following day, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan went further and issued a decree that crypto exchanges to a list of firms subject to anti-money laundering and terrorism financing rules.
- Vietnam -The State Bank of Vietnam has declared that the issuance, supply, and use of Bitcoin and other cryptos are illegal as a means of payment and are subject to punishment of fines ranging from 150 million VND (€5,600) to 200 million VND (€7,445).
The government still doesn’t ban Bitcoin trading or holding them as assets.