Bitcoin yes or no? Here is who took up the Challenge and who imposed the ban

In the West, including Italy, the use of coins based on the blockchain is allowed to operators registered in a special register. Absolute ban in nine countries, including China. India on pole for state cryptocurrency

21 Mar 2022

Patrizia Licata


On bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, dozens of countries in the world have decided to give space to fintech innovation in a regulated way - including Italy. And Ukraine, which in recent days has even approved a regulatory framework for the virtual currency industry. The move is linked to the many cryptocurrency donations received after the invasion of Russia.

In other countries, on the other hand, there is an absolute ban, such as in China. The first to make bitcoin a fiat currency? El Salvador, Central America.

The whole picture of bitcoin and cryptocurrency regulation around the world emerges in a Statista map based on data from the US Congressional Law Library.

Bitcoin, legal tender in El Salvador

Since last September, bitcoin has officially been legal tender in El Salvador. The country is the first in the world to adopt cryptocurrency, in line with an experiment that, according to supporters, will reduce commission costs by billions of dollars sent from abroad, but which critics say could fuel money laundering.

The novelty implies that companies accept payments in bitcoin as well as in US dollars, which since 2001 has been the official currency of El Salvador and which remains ongoing. President Nayib Bukele, who pushed for the adoption of the cryptocurrency, says the move will help Salvadorans save about $ 400 million that is spent annually on remittance fees.

The government also hopes to increase financial inclusion in a country where about 70% of citizens do not have access to traditional financial services. However, not all citizens agree: many fear bitcoin's volatility, financial risks and even potential uses for money laundering.

Total "ban" in China and eight other countries

It is precisely these systemic risks that led China to take the opposite decision again last September: a total ban on bitcoin and all cryptocurrencies.

China was the first major world economy to issue the digital yuan, a national currency based on the blockchain and issued by the central bank, at the beginning of 2021. In the meantime, it tightened controls on virtual currencies until it launched the "ban".

According to the Law Library of Congress, nine countries around the world have taken the same drastic measure (including Algeria, Morocco, Egypt). Many others apply a de facto ban (such as Saudi Arabia, Libya, Turkey, Indonesia) thanks to the scope of laws that implicitly include digital currencies. Most of the "ban" countries are in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

India testing ground for national cryptocurrencies

Like China, other countries around the world are considering launching a national cryptocurrency, controlled by the central bank. Among these are also the EU, the United Kingdom, Russia, Australia, India and Thailand. These last two countries are already on the way to concrete plans to activate the digital national currency.

In Europe, the digital euro project will be ready in 2023, according to what was recently announced by the president of the ECB, Christine Lagarde. "The European Central Bank is doing its part to prepare Europe for the new scenario traced by digital, in particular through the digital euro project - said Lagarde - We are currently studying the key issues raised by its design and distribution". The study will end in 2023 ".

In Italy, obligation to register in an ad hoc register

In our country, the Ministry of Economy signed the decree that regulates the activities of cryptocurrency operators last month. In particular, the provision governs the mandatory registration of players in cryptocurrencies in the appropriate register that must be managed by the Body of Agents and Mediators (Oam). The mere activity of issuing virtual currencies on their own remains outside the scope of the decree if not accompanied by exercise on a professional basis.

Registration in the register will therefore be an essential prerequisite for legally exercising the business. This is the case in several other countries around the world, including EU members, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Mexico, Chile, Japan, South Korea and others.

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