Why is Bitcoin not legal in India

Countries where Bitcoin is banned or legal

When preparing to buy Bitcoin, the first thing to do is to find out whether or not it is legal in your country.

If you want to buy, sell, or spend Bitcoin, you should check that it is legal in your country.

In fact, there are many countries with different cryptocurrency regulations. Some of them even name Bitcoin so it can be used as money, pay taxes, buy goods, or trade like a commodity.

In other countries, mere possession of Bitcoin can land you in jail. Others haven't even bothered to regulate it, leaving Bitcoin and other cryptos in legal limbo.

Bitcoin's legality around the world can be seen in this map:

Countries where Bitcoin is banned

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are generally welcomed in most of the world. However, some countries have actually banned them or their use. Whether bans due to the decentralization of bitcoins, the threat to the current financial system or simply because no corresponding regulations have yet been passed, there are at least nine countries that had decided to do so by March 2019. These are:

  • Afghanistan
  • Pakistan
  • Algeria
  • Bolivia
  • Bangladesh
  • The Republic of Macedonia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Vanuatu
  • Vietnam

In addition to the countries where BTC is banned, there are also countries where Bitcoin is somewhat restricted and cannot be traded or used for payments. In such states, banks and other financial service providers are prohibited from trading with cryptocurrency exchanges and corporations, and in extreme cases, countries have even banned cryptocurrency exchanges (China).

  • China
  • India
  • Ecuador
  • Indonesia
  • Morocco
  • Zambia
  • Nepal
  • Egypt
  • American Samoa
  • Qatar

Note that despite the bans and restrictions, these laws did not get rid of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency businesses and their uses. Due to the nature of decentralized cryptocurrencies, it is simply impossible to ban them. Many individuals in these countries still use websites like Local Bitcoins, Paxful or Bisqto trade them with others as shown by the trading volumes on these platforms.

This is just to prove that no government has the power to really ban Bitcoin unless it bans the use of the internet for the entire nation.

Countries where Bitcoin is legal

On the positive side, there are at least 111 states where Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are legally recognized and legal.

For example, large countries like the United States and Canada have a generally crypto-friendly stance towards cryptocurrencies while trying to enforce anti-money laundering laws and prevent fraud. In the meantime, member states in the European Union are not allowed to introduce their own cryptocurrency, but cryptocurrency exchanges are encouraged to be legalized and to comply with regulations.

As of March 2019, the most Bitcoin-friendly countries where BTC is legal are:

  • Japan
  • Gibraltar
  • Malta
  • Ukraine
  • Switzerland
  • The Netherlands
  • Lithuania
  • Estonia
  • The UK
  • Germany
  • Bermudas
  • Slovenia
  • Singapore
  • Georgia
  • Belarus
  • Hong Kong

Countries where Bitcoin is neither legal nor illegal

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Some countries have not yet decided what to do with Bitcoin. In such cases, BTC is legal to use in the sense that you can own it, but there are no clear rules or legal protections regarding its status. These countries are either already creating a legal framework for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies or have chosen a wait and see approach. These "undecided" countries include:

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Argentina
  • Barbados
  • Colombia
  • French Guiana
  • Gabon
  • Jamaica
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kosovo
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Malaysia
  • The Maldives
  • Mauritius
  • Nigeria
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Tunisia
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Tanzania
  • Uruguay

The fear of widespread cryptocurrency slumps has long had an impact on Bitcoin.
Because of this, many people are wary of the trusted system and rely on traditional systems instead.

Regardless, more and more governments are opting for digital innovation and playing a role in the industry. At the same time, there is a risk that legal systems that oppose the emerging industry will be left behind. Ironically, these countries are already among the poorest nations in the world, and the widespread Bitcoin and cryptocurrency breakthroughs don't seem to be producing favorable results for improving the situation. On the contrary, starting cryptocurrency businesses with favorable regulations is an excellent opportunity to improve innovation, capital, tax revenue and the standard of living for the entire population.

Also read: How do I buy Bitcoin?