Not everyone has access to crypto transactions. Depending on where you live, you may or may not be able to trade with cryptocurrencies. In fact, different countries have different cryptocurrency regulations, some countries allow holding cryptocurrencies but prohibit trading. In some other countries, holding cryptocurrencies or bitcoin is punishable by law.
We'll highlight some of the countries that ban cryptocurrency trading:
In late 2017, there were rumors that Algeria planned to completely ban all cryptocurrencies. In 2018, Algeria's Financial Law was passed, in which Article 117 states: "The purchase, sale, use and holding of so-called virtual currencies are prohibited."
According to the document, disrespecting these acts will be punished by law.
Bangladesh was not very fond of crypto back in 2014, when Bangladesh Bank warned people that they could face up to 12 years in prison if they used Bitcoin. In December 2017, the central bank officially issued a notice that the currency was not in compliance with Bangladesh's Foreign Exchange Control Act of 1947, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009 and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act of 2017.
People continued to trade in crypto, but this later prompted banks and financial institutions in Bangladesh to institute stricter regulations.
On February 19, 2018, Assistant Deputy Commissioner of the Cybercrime Unit, Nazmul Islam, announced that crypto users and traders would face prosecution, while stating that they "have found some bitcoin users and are looking for more bitcoin users, as well as some A page that is being checked for authenticity."
Bolivia has never considered cryptocurrencies legal, and the government is adamantly opposed to its use in the country. Using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can result in you being fined or arrested, as some people have already been arrested for trading or mining Bitcoin.
In 2017, the People’s Bank of China began banning the use of local cryptocurrency exchanges, leading to the closure of these exchanges. Then, Chinese regulators started working on cracking down on domestic cryptocurrency exchanges, not just commercial exchanges.
Although domestic cryptocurrency trading is banned in China, there have been reports of efforts to resolve the crypto trading ban.
Ecuador banned bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in mid-2014 in a bid to reform its financial situation.
However, there are still a number of ways that people can buy and sell bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the country, as Ecuadorian laws do not appear to be strictly enforced compared to other South American countries.
Cryptocurrencies are completely banned in Egypt, which means that trading with them is also illegal.
“Dar al-Ifta, Egypt’s leading Islamic lawmaker, issued a religious decree classifying commercial transactions using Bitcoin as haram (prohibited by Islamic law).”
In early 2018, Bank Indonesia banned the use of all cryptocurrencies. Although a year later, the country listed bitcoin as a commodity, it still banned its use.
India is in a grey area when it comes to cryptocurrencies. The country is still waiting for the Supreme Court to decide on virtual assets.
In April 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) banned banks and regulated financial institutions from “handling or settling virtual currencies.” Subsequently, regulations banned crypto trading on domestic exchanges
In July 2019, a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies was adopted, ruling out the possibility that an official digital currency was in development. Additionally, a draft bill revealed to the media proposes jail time for citizens who “mine, manufacture, hold, sell, trade, issue, transfer, dispose of or use cryptocurrencies on Indian soil.”
Morocco outlawed bitcoin and other cryptocurrency transactions in November 2017, just days after a major Moroccan digital services firm, MTDS, revealed that it would start accepting bitcoin payments.
There are fines for sending and receiving any cryptocurrency in Morocco.
Nepal considers Bitcoin and cryptocurrency transactions to be illegal. There were also several arrests of bitcoin traders in 2017, and some defendants ended up being fined and jailed.
In April 2018, the State Bank of Pakistan revealed that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies/tokens/coins are banned in Pakistan. The National Bank also prohibited organisations and institutions from facilitating any transactions involving virtual currencies.
Although Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are not yet illegal in Russia, you cannot use it to pay for services and products, and the Central Bank of Russia has banned institutions from accepting cryptocurrencies.
Even though the transactions are not yet illegal, in February 2020, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Bank of Russia announced that Russia will ban cryptocurrency payments. Additionally, the Central Bank of Russia is considering banning all cryptocurrency-related activities, including trading. The new law is expected to pass this spring.
On January 6, 2020, the Qatar Financial Center Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) stated that crypto-based services are not allowed to operate within or from the Qatar Financial Center.
Companies offering crypto trading services in financial centers will face legal penalties, according to authorities. Qatar defines crypto as any “anything of value that can be used as a substitute for money that can be traded or transferred digitally, and can be used for trading and investment purposes (excluding fiat currencies and other monetary instruments).”
Since 2005, financial centers have had proprietary legal, regulatory and tax rules. The new ban prohibits the exchange or transfer of virtual assets, or exchanges between cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies.
Qatar’s central bank first attempted to ban bitcoin transactions in 2018 to “ensure the security of the financial and banking system.”
Cryptocurrencies have been around for over a decade, but there is still a long way to go before the regulatory environment is as developed as traditional financial markets. There are many countries that are still unsure how to handle and use cryptocurrencies, but let us hope that in the next few years there will be a more robust digital asset regulatory infrastructure around the world.
Responsible editor: Ct