Bitcoin would seem to be classified pursuant to the current provisions of the PPSA simply as an “intangible”.
|United States|| Legal
The U.S. Treasury classified bitcoin as a convertible decentralized virtual currency in 2013. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, CFTC, classified bitcoin as a commodity in September 2015. Per IRS, bitcoin is taxed as a property.
In September 2016, a federal judge ruled that “Bitcoins are funds within the plain meaning of that term”.
Bitcoin is legal in Mexico as of 2017. It is to be regulated as a virtual asset by the FinTech Law.
The Bank of Jamaica (BoJ), the national Central Bank, has publicly declared that it must create opportunities for the exploitation of technologies including cryptocurrencies. Accordingly, in 2017 the BoJ will be embarking on a campaign to build awareness of cryptocurrencies as part of increasing general financial literacy and understanding of cryptocurrencies. Indications are that early BoJ signals point to their general framework on “electronic retail payment service systems” possibly being brought to bear on initial cryptocurrencies considerations..:Jamaica
|Trinidad and Tobago|| Legal
Bitcoins may be considered money, but not legal currency. A bitcoin may be considered either a good or a thing under the Argentina’s Civil Code, and transactions with bitcoins may be governed by the rules for the sale of goods under the Civil Code.:Argentina.
The Central Bank of Bolivia issued a resolution banning bitcoin and any other currency not regulated by a country or economic zone in 2014.
Not regulated, according to a 2014 statement by the Central Bank of Brazil concerning cryptocurrencies, but is discouraged because of operational risks. In November 2017 this unregulated and discouraged status was reiterated by the Central Bank of Brazil.
There is no regulation on the use of bitcoins.:Chile
A 26 March 2014 by Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia states that the use of bitcoin is not regulated.
The Ecuadorian government has issued a ban on bitcoin and other digital currencies.
The National Assembly of Ecuador banned bitcoins including other decentralized digital/crypto currencies, due to the establishment of a new state-run electronic money system. Ecuador’s new project would be controlled by the government and tied directly to the local currency—the dollar. Users will be able to pay for select services and send money between individuals. This was slated to begin in mid-February 2015. “Electronic money is designed to operate and support the monetary scheme of dollarization,” economist Diego Martinez, a delegate of the President of the Republic to the Board of Regulation and Monetary and Financial Policy.
In a July 2014, statement of the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic made clear that “the use of ‘virtual currency’, bitcoins, in particular, as a means of payment in the Kyrgyz Republic will be a violation of the law of our state.”
As of 2017, the Israel Tax Authorities issued a statement saying that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies would not fall under the legal definition of currency, and neither of that of a financial security, but of a taxable asset. Each time a bitcoin is sold, the seller would have to pay a capital gains tax of 25%. Miners, traders of bitcoins would be treated as businesses and would have to pay corporate income tax as well as charge a 17% VAT.
|Saudi Arabia|| Legal
Bitcoin is not banned by any governmental party in Saudi Arabia. Only Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (sama) have warned from using it as it is high risk and recognized in Saudi Arabia and its dealers will not be guaranteed any protection or rights.[need quotation to verify]
The government of Jordan has issued a warning discouraging the use of bitcoin and other similar systems.
The Central Bank of Jordan prohibits banks, currency exchanges, financial companies, and payment service companies from dealing in bitcoins or other digital currencies. While it warned the public of risks of bitcoins, and that they are not legal tender, bitcoins are still accepted by small businesses and merchants.
The government of Lebanon has issued a warning discouraging the use of bitcoin and other similar systems.
Bitcoin is not regulated as it is not considered to be electronic money according to the law.:Turkey
Bitcoin is neither recognized nor regulated in Iran. Government officials, however, discourage investing in cryptocurrencies until after the regulations are made.
In September 2014, Bangladesh Bank said that “anybody caught using the virtual currency could be jailed under the country’s strict anti-money laundering laws”.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley, in his budget speech on 1 February 2018, stated that the government will do everything to discontinue the use of bitcoin and other virtual currencies in India for criminal uses. He reiterated that India does not recognise them as legal tender and will instead encourage blockchain technology in payment systems.
“The government does not recognise cryptocurrency as legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate the use of these cryptoassets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payments system,” Jaitley said.
On 13 August 2017 Nepal Rastra Bank declared bitcoin as illegal.
As of 25 May 2017, the State Bank Of Pakistan does not recognise digital currencies. FBR (Federal Board of Revenue) is investigating the traders of digital currencies for tax evasion and money laundering and the trade of bitcoin is not regulated by laws.
|China (PRC)|| Legal
While private parties can hold and trade bitcoins in China, regulation prohibits financial firms like banks from doing the same.:China
On 5 December 2013, People’s Bank of China (PBOC) made its first step in regulating bitcoin by prohibiting financial institutions from handling bitcoin transactions. In a statement on the central bank’s website the PBOC said financial institutions and payment companies cannot give pricing in, buy and sell bitcoin or insure bitcoin-linked products.
On 16 December 2013 it was speculated that the PBOC had issued a new ban on third-party payment processors from doing business with bitcoin exchanges, however a statement from BTC China suggests this isn’t accurate, and rather payment processors had voluntarily withdrawn their services.
On 1 April 2014 PBOC ordered commercial banks and payment companies to close bitcoin trading accounts in two weeks. Trading bitcoins by individuals is legal in China.
On 9 February 2017, multiple bitcoin exchanges in China delayed or paused bitcoin withdraw service, with or without announcement. Some of the announcements, if not all, claim that regulation activities have been or are to be taken. News resources also show that, although such activities were carried out by PBOC, they were not done via legal approaches, but by “appointment” instead. None of the exchanges presented or have claimed to receive any lawful paperwork. The crackdown on bitcoin and other virtual currency traders was accompanied by Chinese media touting the dangers of virtual currency as a tool for criminal activities.
In early 2018 the People’s Bank of China announced the State Administration of Foreign Exchange led by Pan Gongsheng would crack down on bitcoin mining.
|Hong Kong|| Legal
On 8 January 2014, the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury addressed bitcoin in the Legislative Council stating that “Hong Kong at present has no legislation directly regulating bitcoins and other virtual currencies of [a] similar kind. However, our existing laws (such as the Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance) provide sanctions against unlawful acts involving bitcoins, such as fraud or money laundering.”:Hong Kong
On 16 November 2013, Norman Chan, the chief executive of Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) said that bitcoins is only a virtual commodity. He also decided that bitcoins will not be regulated by HKMA. However, the authority will be closely watching the usage of bitcoins locally and its development overseas.
Japan officially recognizes bitcoin and digital currencies as a “means of payment that is not a legal currency” (see Article 2-5 of Japans’s Payment Services Act (PSA) 25 May 2016).
On 7 March 2014, the Japanese government, in response to a series of questions asked in the National Diet, made a cabinet decision on the legal treatment of bitcoins in the form of answers to the questions. The decision did not see bitcoin as currency nor bond under the current Banking Act and Financial Instruments and Exchange Law, prohibiting banks and securities companies from dealing in bitcoins. The decision also acknowledges that there are no laws to unconditionally prohibit individuals or legal entities from receiving bitcoins in exchange for goods or services. Taxes may be applicable to bitcoins.
According to Nikkei Asian Review, in February 2016, “Japanese financial regulators have proposed handling virtual currencies as methods of payment equivalent to conventional currencies”.
The city of Hirosaki is officially accepting bitcoin donations with the goal of attracting international tourists and financing local projects. In 2017, the country’s government officially recognized bitcoin as a method of payment.
|South Korea|| Legal
While not illegal in the country, Korean authorities will prosecute illegal activity involving bitcoin and have indicted at least one individual for purchasing drugs with bitcoin.
There are no laws in South Korea regulating the use of bitcoin at present.:South Korea On 12 December 2013, the president of the Bank of Korea recommended at a press conference that bitcoin be regulated in the future. Regulators in South Korea have reportedly banned the trade of futures contracts and other derivatives tied to bitcoin.
According to a 6 December 2017 report from the Korea Herald, directives from the country’s Financial Services Commission led securities firms such as eBest Investment & Securities and Shinhan Financial Investment to cancel seminars marketed towards bitcoin futures investors.
Bitcoin ATMs are banned here:Taiwan but bitcoins can be purchased at over 6000 convenience store kiosks.
Regulators have warned the public that bitcoin does not have legal protection, “as the currency is not issued by any monetary authority and is therefore not entitled to legal claims or guarantee of conversion”.
While bitcoin is not illegal in Taiwan, financial institutions have been warned by regulators that necessary regulatory actions may be taken if they use it.:Taiwan
On 6 December 2013, Perng Fai-nan said that bitcoin is only used in certain communities. Besides, he also opined that the value of bitcoin is a bubble and is highly volatile. Therefore, he advised the public against the speculation of bitcoins to prevent making a loss during the process. The central bank is closely watching the development of bitcoin and plan to impose regulations in the future.
On 31 December 2013, Financial Supervisory Commission (Republic of China) (FSC) and CBC issued a joint statement which warns against the use of bitcoins. It is stated that bitcoins remains highly volatile, highly speculative, and is not entitled to legal claims or guarantee of conversion.
On 5 January 2014, FSC chairman Tseng Ming-chung stated that FSC will not allow the installation of bitcoin ATM in Taiwan because bitcoin is not a currency and it should not be accepted by individuals and banks as payment.
However, despite this, three of the four major convenience store chains in Taiwan make available purchases of bitcoin through their kiosk systems, and the largest chain now allows bitcoin to be used for purchases of goods.
There are no regulations related to the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in Cambodia. However the Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia and National Bank of Cambodia has discouraged the use of cryptocurrencies. The National Bank has stated that cryptocurrencies are illegal in Cambodia and has instructed commercial banks in the country not to accept bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in financial transactions.[clarification needed]
|Indonesia|| Legal / Illegal as payment tools
On 7 December 2017, Bank Indonesia, the country’s central bank, issued a regulation banning the use of cryptocurrencies including bitcoin as payment tools starting 1 January 2018. However other activities such as bitcoin trading and mining remain not covered by the regulation.
On 4 November 2013, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) met with local bitcoin proponents to learn more about the currency but did not comment at the time. BNM issued a statement on 6 January 2014 that Bitcoin is not recognised as a legal tender in Malaysia. The central bank will not regulate Bitcoin operations at the moment and users should aware of the risks associated with Bitcoin usage.:Malaysia
On 4 October 2017, BNM announced that The decision on whether cryptocurrencies should be banned in Malaysia will be taken by them before the end of the year.
On 6 March 2014, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) issued a statement on risks associated with bitcoin trading and usage. Recently virtual currencies were legalized and cryptocurrency exchanges are now regulated by Central Bank of the Philippines (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) under Circular 944
In December 2013, the Monetary Authority of Singapore reportedly stated that “[w]hether or not businesses accept bitcoins in exchange for their goods and services is a commercial decision in which MAS does not intervene.”:Singapore
On 22 September 2013, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) warned users of the risks associated with using bitcoin stating “If bitcoin ceases to operate, there may not be an identifiable party responsible for refunding their monies or for them to seek recourse” and in December 2013 stated “Whether or not businesses accept Bitcoins in exchange for their goods and services is a commercial decision in which MAS does not intervene” In January 2014, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore issued a series of tax guidelines according to which Bitcoin transactions may be treated as a barter exchange if it is used as a payment method for real goods and services. Businesses that deal with Bitcoin currency exchanges will be taxed based on their Bitcoin sales.
The initial position of the Bank of Thailand, mid 2013, was to discourage the use of bitcoin, however as of 2017, the Bank of Thailand is open to bitcoin provided proper controls are in place.
Thai based bitcoin exchanges can only exchange Digital Currencies for Thai Baht and are required to operate with a Thailand Business Development Department e-commerce license. They are also required to have KYC and CDD policies and procedures in place, in accordance with the Ministerial Regulation Prescribing Rules and Procedures for Customer Due Diligence, Reference Page 8 Volume 129 Part 44 A Government Gazette 23 May 2555 (2012).
Suspicious activity must be reported to the Anti-Money Laundering Office (Thailand) (AMLO), of Thailand.
The SEC Thailand encourages access to funding for businesses, including high potential tech startups, and realizes the potential of ICO in answering startups’ funding needs. In cases where an ICO constitutes offering of securities, the issuer will need to comply with applicable regulatory requirements
The SEC Thailand issued a Public Consultation Document Aor Tor Ngor 34/2560 27 October 2017 Topic: Regulatory approach on Initial Coin Offering (ICO)
Trading in Bitcoin in Vietnam is still unrestricted and unregulated by law, and two largest bitcoin markets in Vietnam – VBTC and Bitcoin Vietnam are working without being restricted. In August 2017, Vietnam’s prime minister has approved a plan that could see the country formally recognize bitcoin as a form of payment by the end of 2018.
The State Bank of Vietnam has declared that the issuance, supply and use of bitcoin and other similar virtual currency is illegal as a mean of payment and subject to punishment ranging from 150 million to 200 million VND, but the government doesn’t ban bitcoin trading as a virtual goods or assets.
On 6 December 2013, the Croatian National Bank reportedly conducted a discussion on the circulation of digital currencies and concluded that bitcoin is not illegal in Croatia.:Croatia
|Czech Republic|| Legal
Bitcoin trading does not require authorization by the Czech National Bank and the Czech National Bank cannot grant such an authorization (2015). Bitcoin is classified as intangible good (not as electronic money) for purpose of tax and other laws.
On 19 August 2013, the German Finance Ministry announced that bitcoin is now essentially a “unit of account” and can be used for the purpose of tax and trading in the country, meaning that purchases made with it must pay VAT as with Euro transactions. It is not classified as a foreign currency or e–money but stands as “private money” which can be used in “multilateral clearing circles”, according to the ministry.
The use of bitcoin in Poland is not regulated by a legal act at present.:Poland
Szymon Woźniak of the Ministry of Finance made an official announcement on the legality of bitcoin on 18 December 2013 at a conference at the Warsaw School of Economics stating that the Ministry of Finance does not consider bitcoin illegal and does not want to hinder its development. He clarified that while not illegal, bitcoin cannot be considered legal tender, and, in the light of the directives of the European Union, it is neither electronic money. As of 27 January 2015, several banks have closed accounts of clients trading bitcoin, and indicated “presumption of criminal offense” as the cause, with “criminal offense” presumably being “cryptocurrency trade”. As of 7 July 2017, the National Bank of Poland (NBP) and Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) issued a comment on virtual “currencies”. They underlined that virtual currencies (including bitcoin): (1) are not issued or guaranteed by the central bank, (2) are not money, i.e. they are neither legal tender nor currency, (3) can not be used to pay tax liabilities, (4) do not meet the criterion of universal acceptability in shopping and service points, (5) are not electronic money, (6) are not payment services (in legal terms), (7) are not financial instruments (in legal terms). They added that trading virtual currencies in Poland does not violate national or EU law, however, having virtual “currencies”, involves many risks: (1) risk related to the possibility of loss of funds due to theft, (2) risk related to lack of guarantee, (3) risk of lack of universal acceptability, (4) risk related to the possibility of fraud, (5) risk of high price change. Because of these risks, the NBP and KNF warn against buying virtual currencies and investing in them. The NBP and KNF recognize that the purchase, possession and sale of virtual currencies by entities supervised by the KNF (e.g. banks) would be burdened with high risk and would not ensure a stable and prudent management of the financial institution. Financial institutions should be cautious about engaging and cooperating with virtual currency “trading” entities.
As of March 2015, an official statement of the Romanian National Bank mentioned that “using digital currencies as payment has certain risks for the financial system”.
In October 2017, the National Fiscal Administration Agency (ANAF) declared that there is a lack of a legislative framework around bitcoin, and therefore, it is unable to create a tax regulation framework for it as well (implying no taxation).
The National Bank of Slovakia (NBS), stated that bitcoin does not have the legal attributes of a currency, and therefore does not fall under national control.[note 1] European legislation, including the Slovak law, does not define the activities associated with virtual currency. Such activities are not regulated and supervised by the National Bank of Slovakia or the European Central Bank. At the same time NBS points out that any legal person or natural person in the Slovak Republic shall not issue any notes or any other coins. Unlawful manufacturing of banknotes and coins and putting them into circulation is punishable by law. In this context, NBS points out that virtual currencies have not a physical counterpart in the form of legal tender and participation in such a scheme (virtual currency) is at your own risk. Exchanges or purchases of virtual currencies represent the business risk of investors and investors’ money are not protected. For any compensation of losses caused by such exchanges or purchases there is no legal entitlement.
On 23 December 2013 the Slovenian Ministry of Finance made an announcement stating that bitcoin is neither a currency nor an asset. There is no capital gains tax chargeable on bitcoin, however bitcoin mining is taxed and businesses selling goods/services in bitcoin are also taxed.
Bitcoin businesses in Switzerland are subject to anti-money laundering regulations and in some instances may need to obtain a banking license.
On 5 December 2013, a proposal was put forth by 45 members of the Swiss Parliament for digital sustainability (Pardigli), that calls on the Swiss government to evaluate the opportunities for utilization of bitcoin by the country’s financial sector. It also seeks clarification on bitcoin’s legal standing with respect to VAT, securities and anti-money laundering laws.
In response to the parliament postulates, the Swiss Federal Council issued a report on virtual currencies in June 2014. The report states that since virtual currencies are not in a legal vacuum, the Federal Council has concluded that there is no need for legislative measures to be taken at the moment.
In 2016, Zug added bitcoin as a means of paying city fees, in a test and an attempt to advance Zug as a region that is advancing future technologies. Swiss Federal Railways, government-owned railway company of Switzerland, sells bitcoins at its ticket machines.
The use of bitcoins is not regulated in Ukraine.
Denmark’s Financial Supervisory Authority issued a statement declaring that bitcoin is not a currency and stating that it will not regulate its use.:Denmark
On 17 December 2013, Denmark’s Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) has issued a statement that echoes EBA’s warning. As of 2017, FSA says that doing business with bitcoin does not fall under its regulatory authority and therefore FSA does not prevent anyone from opening such businesses. FSA’s chief legal adviser says that Denmark might consider amending existing financial legislation to cover virtual currencies.
In Estonia, the use of bitcoins is not regulated or otherwise controlled by the government.:Estonia
The Estonian Ministry of Finance have concluded that there is no legal obstacles to use bitcoin-like crypto currencies as payment method. Traders must therefore identify the buyer when establishing business relationship or if the buyer acquires more than 1,000 euros of the currency in a month.
The Finnish Tax Administration has issued instructions for the taxation of virtual currencies, including the bitcoin.:Finland Rather than a currency or a security, a bitcoin transaction is considered a private contract equivalent to a contract for difference for tax purposes. Purchases of goods with bitcoin or conversion of bitcoin into legal currency “realizes” the value and any increase in price will be taxable; however, losses are not tax-deductible. Mined bitcoin is considered earned income.
Ruling 034/2014 by the Finnish Central Board of Taxes (CBT) stated that commission fees charged on bitcoin purchases by an exchange market were, under the EU VAT Directive, banking services and therefore VAT exempt. This is because the court classified bitcoins as payment instruments – whereas most countries treat their use as an unregulated method for the exchange of goods, or even as a crime.
According to a 2014 opinion, from the Central Bank of Iceland “there is no authorization to purchase foreign currency from financial institutions in Iceland or to transfer foreign currency across borders on the basis of transactions with virtual currency. For this reason alone, transactions with virtual currency are subject to restrictions in Iceland.” This does not stop businesses in Iceland from mining bitcoins. The Icelandic Central Bank confirmed that “it is prohibited to engage in foreign exchange trading with the electronic currency bitcoin, according to the Icelandic Foreign Exchange Act”.
On 12 March 2017, the Central Bank amended its rules. With the new rules, wide and general exemptions have been granted from the restrictions of the Foreign Exchange Act No. 87/1992
Bank of Lithuania released a warning on 31 January 2014, that bitcoin is not recognized as legal tender in Lithuania and that bitcoin users should be aware of high risks that come with the usage of it.
The Norwegian Tax Administration stated in December 2013 that they don’t define bitcoin as money but regard it as an asset. Profits are subjected to wealth tax. In business, use of bitcoin falls under the sales tax regulation.
The Norwegian government stated in February 2017 that they would not levy VAT on the purchase or sale of bitcoin.
As of November 2016 declared, bitcoins are “not illegal” according to the Federal Tax Service of Russia. In September 2017 Russia central bank head Elvira Nabiullina has said it is categorically against regulating cryptocurrencies as money, as a means by which payment can be made for goods and services, and against equating them with foreign currency. Deputy Finance Minister of the Russian Federation Alexei Moiseev at the same time said it’s “probably illegal” to accept cryptocurrencies payments. However bitcoin market sites are blocked and in court decisions stated that bitcoin is a currency surrogate which is outlawed on the territory of Russian Federation.
The Swedish Tax Agency has given a preliminary ruling on Value Added Tax (VAT) on bitcoins, stating that trade in bitcoins is not subject to Swedish VAT, but is instead subject to the Finansinspektionen (Financial Supervisory Authority) regulations and treated as a currency. The decision has been appealed by the Swedish Tax Authority.:Sweden
The Swedish jurisdiction is in general quite favorable for bitcoin businesses and users as compared to other countries within the EU and the rest of the world. The governmental regulatory and supervisory body Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen) have legitimized the fast growing industry by publicly proclaiming bitcoin and other digital currencies as a means of payment. For certain businesses interacting with fiat (mainly exchanges) the current regulation dictates that an application for approval/license must be filed and all the AML/CTF and KYC regulations applicable to more traditional financial service providers must be followed.
|Bosnia and Herzegovina|| Legal
No regulation on the use of bitcoins.
There is not a single word in Bulgarian laws about bitcoin. People owe 10% tax if they made profit trading.
No specific legislation on bitcoins exists in Greece.:Greece
Italy does not regulate bitcoin use by private individuals.:Italy
As of 2017, Malta does not have any regulations specifically pertaining to bitcoins.:Malta
In 2017, the country’s prime minister Joseph Muscat announced the approval of a national strategy to promote bitcoin and blockchain technology. Muscat specifically addressed the bitcoin blockchain’s ability to handle, store and process sensitive data in an immutable and decentralized ecosystem.
Bitcoin has no specific legal framework in Portugal.:Portugal
Transactions in bitcoins are subject to the same laws as barter transactions.:Spain
The Minister of Finance indicated that government intervention with regard to the bitcoin system does not appear necessary at the present time.:Belgium
The French Ministry of Finance issued regulations on 11 July 2014 pertaining to the operation of virtual currency professionals, exchanges, and taxation.
The Central Bank of Ireland was quoted in the Assembly of Ireland as stating that it does not regulate bitcoins.:Ireland
The Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier has issued a communication in February 2014 acknowledging the status of currency to the bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The first BitLicence was issued in October 2015, and the government is actively supporting this development.
As of 2017, virtual currencies such as bitcoin do not fall within the scope of the Act on Financial Supervision of the Netherlands.:Netherlands
|United Kingdom|| Legal
As of 2017, the government of the United Kingdom has stated that bitcoin is unregulated and that it is treated as a ‘foreign currency’ for most purposes, including VAT/GST.:United Kingdom
Bitcoin is treated as ‘private money’. When bitcoin is exchanged for sterling or for foreign currencies, such as euro or dollar, no VAT will be due on the value of the bitcoins themselves. However, in all instances, VAT will be due in the normal way from suppliers of any goods or services sold in exchange for bitcoin or other similar cryptocurrency. Profits and losses on cryptocurrencies are subject to capital gains tax.
In December 2013, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) indicated in an interview about bitcoin legality stating, “There would be nothing to stop people in this country deciding to transact in some other currency in a shop if they wanted to. There’s no law against that, so we do have competing currencies.” Australia has officially confirmed it will treat bitcoin “just like money” on 1 July 2017 and it will no longer be subject to double taxation.
|New Zealand|| Legal
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand states: “Non-banks do not need our approval for schemes that involve the storage and/or transfer of value (such as ‘bitcoin’) – so long as they do not involve the issuance of physical circulating currency (notes and coins).”:New Zealand