- November 8, 2021
- |Bitcoin, Regulations, University
Crypto adoption achieved new milestones in 2022. According to a report by Crypto.com, the number of crypto owners reached 425 million during the year. However, not all countries around the world are in support of digital currencies. While places like the UK are keen to embrace the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency revolution, others have outlawed crypto investing and transactions.
Do you wish to travel using Bitcoin to pay the way? Maybe you want to send money to someone overseas. Or perhaps you’re considering moving to a new country?
Knowing which countries accept Bitcoin and which have tried to ban it is essential.
Continue reading to find out the level of adoption in different areas of the world.
First up, let’s take a look at which countries in the world are the most crypto-friendly. Whether you want to spend bitcoin on the road or send someone some crypto, these countries are at the top of the list for facilitating Bitcoin transactions and adoption.
The European Union
After showing some signs of skepticism, the European Union has done a 180 on its stance towards Bitcoin and crypto.
Some individual countries in the EU have fleshed out their Bitcoin stances. However, as a whole, Europe is supportive of cryptocurrencies. For one thing, it has ruled that Bitcoin is exempt from VAT. The UK is particularly pro-Bitcoin. The FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) has clarified that it wants the UK regulatory environment to support Bitcoin. The UK is also the country with the third most Bitcoin ATMs, behind the US and Canada.
As far as adoption goes, Switzerland and Greece tie as the countries with the highest adoption rate in the EU, both of them sitting at 11%.
Spain and Austria are also Bitcoin hotspots, boasting a large number of Bitcoin ATMs and transactions. Germany has favorable tax laws around Bitcoin. These stipulate that any crypto held for over a year by an individual is not subject to capital gains tax.
Finally, Malta and Cyprus are also decidedly pro-crypto. Both offer lenient tax requirements for digital assets.
The United States Of America
As you’re probably aware, the US is a Bitcoin-friendly country. You can quickly transact, invest, and buy and sell Bitcoin and other cryptos in the US. The SEC has run Bitcoin through various tests, and it has come out meeting all of the standards for legal tender. Therefore, the SEC’s stance is not to ban Bitcoin but simply to put protection for investors.
The government policies in the US favor Bitcoin, but it is also easily accessible. The US has the most significant number of Bitcoin ATMs in the world. You can also pay for goods and services using Bitcoin at many established retailers and chains.
It’s not just mom-and-pop stores that are supporting crypto payments. Corporate giants like Microsoft, Tesla, Home Depot, Overstock, Starbucks, Amazon, Burger King, and KFC also accept digital currencies.
Adoption and investment amounts among US residents are rising. Statistics show that a whopping 22% of the population (That’s roughly 46 million Americans) now holds a share of Bitcoin. Besides this, the US is now leading the world in Bitcoin mining. Previously, the lion’s share of mining took place in China. However, a large mining share has migrated to the US thanks to China’s recent ban on crypto mining, transactions, and investment.
Like the US, Canada is also a Bitcoin-friendly country. Canada does keep a close eye to ensure that Bitcoin is not used for money laundering. Therefore, some of its banks have banned people from using their cards for bitcoin transactions. Besides that, Canada maintains a pro-crypto stance and has a reasonably large Bitcoin kiosk count.
Caribbean Island Nations
The Caribbean island nations are another set of countries embracing cryptocurrencies. West Indian banking institutions have lately faced “de-risking” moves by international banks. De-risking happens when these global banking companies withdraw their intermediary banking services from local banks. De-risking can create many problems for residents needing to make international transactions.
Instead of being able to transact internationally, this economically traps residents into transacting in their country.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have opened up a window of opportunity for small island nations to get around this headache. Bitcoin is free from geographical restrictions. So, as long as you have access to the internet and cryptos are legal, you can transact globally. Because of this, many countries in the West Indies have been encouraging the use of Bitcoin and other cryptos. In March 2021, the Eastern Caribbean islands launched a multi-island spanning digital currency called DCash and became the first-ever digital currency union.
Some Caribbean nations, such as Bermuda, have favorable tax laws around Bitcoin and crypto. The Bermuda stock exchange approved the first Bitcoin ETF.
El Salvador, Panama, and Brazil
El Salvador is one of the most famously Bitcoin-friendly countries in the world at the moment because it is one of the only jurisdictions allowing Bitcoin as a legal tender. El Salvador’s government has also introduced several other Bitcoin projects in the past few years, including a massive vet hospital named Chivo Pets, where treatments are paid in BTC.
In addition, the innovative Central American country opened a cryptocurrency education center that provides citizens with accessible learning opportunities free of charge. The authorities have also started accumulating bitcoin on a macroeconomic level, holding approximately $54 million of it (as of now). The amount, though, could be higher since Bukele announced in November 2022 that the government would purchase one BTC per day. In June of 2021, congress approved a proposal from the president. He advocated that the country formally adopt Bitcoin as a payment and currency.
Politicians in Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay expressed their support of El Salvador’s decision on social media. These hints imply that these countries might be next in line for making Bitcoin legal tender.
Another country that’s adopting Bitcoin and digital currencies at a rapid rate is the Philippines. According to the report we linked above, the Philippines has the third-highest rate of cryptocurrency adoption in the world this year.
One of the factors that are driving this growth is the demand for remittance and peer-to-peer phone payments. The Philippines Central Bank has recently approved several crypto exchanges to operate as transfer and remittance companies, opening a considerable scope for adoption.
Australia and New Zealand
Although Australia and New Zealand have lagged somewhat in embracing cryptocurrencies, both governments are quickly compensating for lost time by structuring comprehensive policies toward digital assets. Financial institutions have also been slow to engage with cryptocurrencies, but this hasn’t stopped private adoption.
Another report states that Australia has the third-highest adoption rate globally, placing it neck and neck with the Philippines. New Zealand is just a little behind. However, unlike in Southeast Asia, the drive is not as many peer-to-peer payments as investing. According to survey results, almost 40% of New Zealanders plan to or already have invested in cryptocurrency.
Singapore is famous for its forward-thinking, strong economy and fintech advancements. The island nation has long made it easy for people to do business there. They are applying this same approach to cryptocurrencies. Currently, cryptocurrency gains are not subject to capital gains tax like in most other countries.
Japan is another pro-Bitcoin country and historically has one of the most supportive regulatory climates around crypto. Recently, Japanese authorities have tightened regulations a little, but not in ways that would stifle the use and growth of cryptocurrency, especially by private individuals. However, adoption rates still trail behind neighboring countries such as China. One of the reasons for this is that Japan’s population is rapidly aging, and older demographics are less likely to deal with digital assets. Another factor is the yen’s stability. People living in countries with high inflation increasingly turn to crypto and Bitcoin as a store of value. In places like Japan, this is less of a draw.
Several countries fall into the middle between the Bitcoin-friendly countries and those that have outlawed it.
These include countries with no firm policy for dealing with cryptocurrencies. For example, they might not have a BTC ATM on every corner or institutional involvement in crypto trading, however, the use of Bitcoin is legal in these countries, and many have robust and grassroots-led adoption.
Most African Countries
Although there still isn’t much infrastructure for it, Bitcoin use has been rising in African countries. So, for instance, if you’re in Chad, the closest Bitcoin ATM might be in Nigeria. However, this hasn’t stopped widescale adoption. From July 2020 to June 2021, cryptocurrency adoption skyrocketed in Africa by 1200%, which is currently the fastest adoption rate in the world. In April of 2022, The Central African Republic became the second country in the world to adopt bitcoin as an official currency after El Salvador took the same step last year.
One of the reasons for this is the need for cross-regional money transfers. In addition, chronic poverty levels force citizens to seek work in foreign countries, from which they send money back home to support their families. International transactions can also be vital for those generating an income within their home country. For instance, Africa is home to various micro-businesses, some relying on small-scale imports from overseas.
Many African regions experience infrastructure problems that impact traditional financial services. With cryptocurrency, users don’t need to rely on banking infrastructure systems; they need a phone and an internet connection.
Some African countries have banned or discouraged the use of Bitcoin. These include Nigeria and Kenya. However, these bans have only fueled the crypto fire in these countries and triggered the rise of peer-to-peer transactions.
India is another Eastern country with high crypto adoption rates. However, the Indian government is taking a reserved approach to digital currencies.
Crypto trading was banned until March 2020, after which crypto ownership in India exploded. Now India boasts the highest number of crypto owners in the world.
Despite this, crypto trading and transactions are still a grey area in India.
Israel and the UAE
After a slow start, the Middle East moves to embrace Bitcoin and other digital currencies. Although cryptocurrency is still illegal in some Middle Eastern regions, specific countries, such as UAE and Bahrain, have formulated comprehensive and supportive policies around digital assets. However, cumbersome regulations and high taxes make crypto adoption difficult in other areas, such as Israel. Therefore, the Middle East is a mixed bag at the moment.
Companies That Discourage
Although Bitcoin is legal in most jurisdictions globally, there are some countries where it’s discouraged or even outlawed to different levels.
Each of these countries has its prohibitions around Bitcoin and crypto. China’s ban is probably the most severe, outlawing all crypto payments, mining, investments, and trading.
In Russia, crypto is unregulated, but using it to pay for goods and services is illegal.
Bitcoin and crypto use is illegal in Bolivia and Ecuador, and Columbia has outlawed crypto use and investment.
In Vietnam, there are many grey areas around crypto legality, and using it for payment is illegal. However, that hasn’t stopped Vietnamese people from embracing digital currencies, resulting in one of the highest adoption rates in the year, ahead of the Philippines.
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As you can see, most countries in the world accept Bitcoin and other cryptos, except for a handful that has outlawed the use of digital assets. Avoid these countries if you’re looking to travel and spend Bitcoin along the way. Of course, to spend crypto abroad or send it overseas, you must buy some first.
A Bitcoin ATM can be the easiest way to go if you’re looking to buy. Instead of worrying about online security and how exchanges work, head to your local Bitcoin ATM for quick, convenient, and most importantly, SECURE cryptocurrency transactions. Here in the States, we are lucky to have 1300+ Bitcoin ATM locations around the country.
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