Bitcoin Laws

laws
Where do you start with laws surrounding Bitcoin? In Canada it’s legal, in Australia it’s legal, but some countries like Bangladesh and Bolivia have completely banned the use of crypto-currencies. Basically governments around the world have been caught off guard by the stunning emergence of Bitcoin and other related cryto-currencies and are playing catch-up.
Some countries say Bitcoin is a foreign currency, while others say it is property, while some, like Belgium have barely acknowledged the existence of Bitcoin.

So the simple answer to Is Bitcoin Legal? is “yes” but it also depends what you are doing with it. If you are buying drugs off the Silk Road in a country with strict laws on drugs, of course it’s illegal.

If you’re gambling online in a country that strictly forbids online gambling you also might find yourself in hot water.

Like the main reason governments are struggling to apply laws to bitcoins, because of its anonymity, many people in countries where gambling, or adult websites are banned are using cryptocurrencies as a form of payment.

BitcoinAnytime will update this page as new information comes to light, scroll to the bottom for a country by country guide as to whether Bitcoin is legal.

Is Bitcoin Regulated?

Each country has their own laws surrounding bitcoins and some don’t have any laws at all. This means that regulation varies from country to country.

Government agencies biggest fear with Bitcoin and crypto-currencies is the ability to use it as a money laundering tool. This is brought about because of the decentralised nature of Bitcoin. There is no building that men with guns can storm in and shut down.

A lot of countries, including the USA and Australia, have regulated Bitcoin Exchanges but there are plenty of other ones that are based offshore and are unregulated.

The initial reason Bitcoin was created was to remain anonymous and strict regulations in countries is likely to force people to use offshore Bitcoin Exchanges.

Is Bitcoin Mining Legal?

Bitcoin Mining is like any other job, you work and you make money. But like when you work, in most countries, you are forced to pay tax. So if you are earning bitcoins by mining them you are required to pay your dues to the tax man, depending on your jurisdiction.

It’s not illegal to create your own currency, think of PayPal, Zynga Dollars and PokerStars play money, which you have to purchase, these are legal tenders in their own areas.

The only difference between Bitcoin and regulated currencies in countries around the world is that it doesn’t have the full backing of governments, and the fabric of Bitcoin would completely change if it did have the backing of every government.

After all it was created as a way to cut out the need for a centralised banking system.

If any country in the world bans bitcoin mining, they may also need to ban maths class. Because Bitcoin is essentially just numbers.

Bitcoin Laws in your Country

Argentina

Argentinians are using Bitcoin more and more as a form of payment. It is considered to be a currency, but not necessarily legal because there is no regulation of them at this point.

Australia

Australia is very lenient in its laws surrounding bitcoin but do tax people and companies profiting off bitcoins. There are several regulated bitcoin exchanges in Australia and several bitcoin ATMs in Australia.

Belgium

Belgium does not have any specific laws regarding cryptocurrencies and is on record as saying there are no plans to regulate it at this point. So if you’re from here Bitcoin is a viable payment method.

Brazil

Has embraced cryptocurrencies and has specific laws regarding them. People with bitcoins are required to pay capital gains tax with the tax percentage amount depending on how much value they have in bitcoins.

Canada

Canada taxes bitcoin in the same way it would bartering but are yet to regulate it in any way. Canada has several bitcoin ATMs available.

Chile

Bitcoin is completely unregulated in Chile, but the use of them is growing. Remarkably there is a community in Chile called Galt’s Gulch Chile with an economy based on bitcoins.

China

China says bitcoins are not a currency and should not be used as one. People are free to buy and sell bitcoins but banks have steered clear to date.

Denmark

Denmark has said they will not regulate Bitcoin and have said that it is not a currency.

Estonia

Google says that Estonians search for the term bitcoin the second most out of any country. The use of Bitcoin continues to grow in Estonia.

The European Union

The European Union has not been very strong in its reaction to Bitcoin, they have issued a statement saying that it’s not regulated but are strong in their stance that users must still pay tax in their respective countries.

Iceland

The Iceland government treats Bitcoin like a foreign currency. The Central Bank of Iceland is on record in saying that engaging in foreign exchange trading with bitcoins is prohibited, based on the country’s Foreign Exchange Act. However bitcoins mined in Iceland are fair game and will be taxed like normal income.

India

Indians have been warned that Bitcoin can be a victim of cyber attacks and can be a tool for money laundering. India’s largest Bitcoin, BuySellBitCo.in, trading platform was raided by police and shut down, because of alleged violations of the foreign exchange act.

Indonesia

Has no regulations in Bitcoin at this point, but is currently studying the potential pitfalls.

Ireland

The Irish have not released an official stance on Bitcoin, but are working on a plan to tax it.

Israel

Have not released an official statement on Bitcoin, but are wary of the potential for cybercrime.

Japan

The Japanese have not released an official statement on Bitcoin, but it is apparently very popular. Japan played host to Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox for a long time.

Malta

Malta has been proactive on most things tech-wise, but have remained silent on bitcoins.

Netherlands

Like many governments, the Dutch have issued a warning about the risks posed by virtual currencies. Bitcoin is not covered by existing regulations.

New Zealand

New Zealand has not officially made a statement on Bitcoin but will not have a problem with it as long as it doesn’t become a printable currency.

Russia

The Russian Ruble is the only legal tender in the Russian Federation, but the government has released no official statement on the Bitcoin.

Singapore

It certainly isn’t banned, but it’s a grey area in Singapore. It will be taxed, but only if you use it in a certain way. Very confusing stance on Bitcoin.

Slovenia

The government is working on a way to tax bitcoins.

Spain

Is taxed the same as Spain’s bartering rules. Has made several arrests for fraudulent transactions using bitcoins.

South Korea

Have got bigger things to worry about than Bitcoin. Expect no official stance until they get their own shop in order.

Taiwan

Have not banned Bitcoin but have warned residents that they must be careful with crypto currency.

Turkey

Turkey has made a stance against Bitcoin without banning it. The Turkish population have embraced Bitcoin and are one of the heaviest users of it in the world.

United Kingdom

Bitcoin is not being examined too closely in the UK, but will be taxed in the near future.