Worldcore, an international company that specializes in payment transactions and serves over 300,000 clients in 47 countries, has comprised its own rating of 15 countries where you may encounter problems with cryptocurrency transactions or mining.
2018-2019 may be called the era of cryptocurrency regulation. After we’ve followed ICO success stories in 2016-2017, in the next 1.5-2 years we will observe various countries bringing cryptocurrencies and related processes, such as ICOs and smart contracts, out into the legislative framework.
Worldcore international company has comprised a rating of countries according to the stringency of their cryptocurrency regulations. It starts with the countries where cryptocurrencies are entirely banned, followed by those states where cryptocurrency circulation is not merely significantly restricted, but also criminalized in the framework of the national financial legislation.
Thus, there are currently four countries in the world where residents may end up in prison for several years for any cryptocurrency transactions.
- Algeria, a recent addition to the list.
Besides the countries with criminalized cryptocurrency trade and ownership, there are numerous countries where a national ban has been imposed on specific types of cryptocurrency transactions. The degree of regulation in this sphere varies notably — from a ban on using cryptocurrency as legal tender (common in countries that have not legalized free cryptocurrency circulation) and to a complete ban on exchanges and ICOs in China (which enterprising Chinese enthusiasts forego by launching hard forks of popular currencies as ICOs and trading on foreign exchanges). Here’s a list of these states:
- China (ban on ICO, buying and selling cryptocurrency, advertising)
- India (since April 2018, the Central Bank of India has forbidden buying or selling cryptocurrency; cryptocurrency also isn’t recognized as legal tender)
- Russia (when cryptocurrency market regulation legislative proposal comes into effect, it will limit the legal annual transaction volume to 50,000 rubles for unqualified investors; allow purchase and sale exclusively on registered national platforms, provide for full participant de-anonymization; mining will be considered an entrepreneurial activity with mandatory sale of the mined assets on national exchanges; cryptocurrency/crypto-token will be recognized as a digital asset, but not legal tender). Cryptocurrency advertising is forbidden on certain platforms (i.e. Yandex).
- Vietnam (stringent national anti-money laundering regulations; gradual legalization is planned starting in August 2018)
- Indonesia (a ban on purchase and sale of cryptocurrency)
- Thailand (in February 2018, the Central Bank of Thailand has forbidden five key transactions with cryptocurrencies to financial institutions: investment, trading, establishment of cryptocurrency platforms, using credit and debit cards to purchase currency and consulting people on cryptocurrency investments).
- Kyrgyzstan (cryptocurrency is not recognized as legal tender, liberalization of regulations is currently under consideration)
- Iceland (under the umbrella prohibitive currency regulation)
“In the countries that have restricted cryptocurrency circulation and mining, it primarily involves cryptocurrency as a digital asset coming under the restrictions of investment or money laundering regulations. Perhaps, these states will address the issue of cryptocurrency regulation later, when the more developed countries establish adequate legislation and provide positive examples of regulation and taxation. Another aspect of the ban, i.e. in China or Ecuador, is the clearing out of the competition prior to launching a national cryptocurrency. Many countries today are implementing a partial, rather than a full ban on cryptocurrency. In case of cryptocurrencies, governments understand that it is impossible to ban them entirely. With regard to the globalization of economy and distributed registry technologies, which form the foundation for cryptocurrencies, a complete ban will lead not only to the migration of financial assets and mining farms out of the country, but also to the departure of startups outside the country’s jurisdiction, startups that could have become taxpayers in the presence of supportive regulations,” believes Alexey Nasonov, the founder and CEO of Worldcore.
If we analyze the reasons for specific countries’ bans on cryptocurrencies, several primary motives can be distinguished.
“In poor countries with low living standards and undeveloped legislation, the reasons for the ban often lay with the mass deception of population and fraud, which is only partly related to cryptocurrency. For instance, this was the case in Bolivia in May 2017, where approximately 60 people involved in the creation of a cryptocurrency ‘pyramid’ were arrested. A similar situation emerged in Thailand. The second reason, as a rule, concerns mining and heightened electrical power consumption, including power that is illegally funneled towards the creation of cryptocurrency, i.e., in China,” says Alexey Nasonov from Worldcore.
For example, the current fine in Vietnam for illegal cryptocurrency mining may constitute up to $9000.
“And, finally, the third reason is in the fact that cryptocurrency markets hold great risks for inexperienced traders. And there are up to 90% of such traders on the market – these are people without a specialized economic education and lack basic financial literacy. As a result, they acquire virtual assets with the last of their own or loaned money. Certain regulators prefer to legislatively restrain their citizens from using credit cards for cryptocurrency purchases. Let me remind you that our company has recently conducted a large-scale research study of 10,000 people from 47 countries. The readiness to pay the loan interest on credit card cryptocurrency purchases is extremely high – such respondents constituted approximately a 21% share among those who purchased cryptocurrency wth a bank card,” Nasonov noted.
Worldcore analysts presume that a number of countries, including China and South Korea in the Asian region, will be actively implementing a number of legislative measures on mining regulation and tightening cryptocurrency investment terms.
“Meanwhile,” adds Alexey Nasonov, “the peak of legislative restrictions on cryptocurrency as a type of digital financial asset is behind us. With the growing level of cryptocurrency literacy and the depth of blockchain’s penetration of the modern technological and financial infrastructure, national regulators will switch to banning operations with specific types of blockchain that allow anonymous transactions (i.e. Cryptonight, Equihash, or one of the variations of Wraith protocol or comparable versions), rather than banning cryptocurrencies entirely. Subject to adherence to the KYC procedure, there will not be any difference for either the end user, or the Central Bank where the transaction took place and where it is registered – whether in the Ethereum blockchain, or in the VISA system and servers.”
Such statements in the next two years will significantly affect the cryptocurrency rate volatility throughout the world.