Crypto regulation around the world — May 2018

In this report, we’re focusing on crypto-regulation imposed by international governmental agencies as it stands in May 2018, at press time.

The Countries and Their Regulations


All eyes have been on the United States this year when it comes to cryptocurrency regulation. Any changes within this country’s regulatory framework could have an immense knock-on effect on the global market. Up until now, any new regulation has varied from state to state — for example, a small number of states have been adding legislature to legalize crypto for tax purposes. Such disparity makes national US regulation and overall compliance difficult to maintain with complete clarity.

2 China

The crypto-world was shocked back in September 2017 when China implemented a blanket ban on all cryptocurrency trading and domestic exchanges. The industry feared the continued Chinese governmental boycott of virtual currencies would have a detrimental effect globally, but the market bounced back regardless.

3 Japan

Japan has been through the wringer in terms of cryptocurrency exchange scams, but it still remains second globally in terms of crypto-trade volume. Regulatory bodies have been in action since the Mt. Gox fiasco in 2014 but the area still needs some serious work — as proved by the Coincheck heist.

4 South Korea

South Korea has been in the news in the last few months as cryptocurrency regulation turned from favorable legalization in the summer to much more stringent regulation by Christmas. Since January, the South Korean government has been reassessing its position and the crypto-world has been waiting with bated breath for updates.

5 Russia

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin set the date for bringing cryptocurrency regulations into effect as early as July 1st. The State Duma (the country’s main legislative body) released a report as a result of Putin’s statement: “On Digital Financial Assets”. Adding to regulations set in place in January by the financial ministry indicating the importance of KYC, the report outlined a move towards AML and CFT laws in line with US regulations.

6 EU (+Italy/ Germany/ France)

Earlier in the year the EU had stated that it intended to introduce measures to regulate the crypto market, but there hadn’t been a date set yet. It seems that bitcoin is now to be legitimized as EU jurisdiction requires that cryptocurrency exchanges go through the same KYC processes as traditional banks.

7 UK

At the beginning of March, there were warnings of a regulatory crackdown, and the announcement of a UK Cryptocurrency Task Force showed that the Bank of England is definitely taking cryptocurrency seriously. The Minister for Finance in the UK has expressed that he wants to fight anarchy and ensure methods are in place to combat illicit activities in decentralized technology.

8 India

Crypto-trading volume in India plummeted initially as the government began an ever-increasing crack-down on exchanges. In fact, two exchanges stopped operating in advance of these strong measures. The main action from these officials seems to be in finding a way to tax ‘bigger’ crypto-traders effectively, with warnings having been given to some before Christmas that their assets would be looked at.

9 Indonesia

Social media seemed to let the cat out of the bag in Indonesia in December 2017, as local authorities became indirectly aware of the ‘crypto haven’ — mainly for expats and tourists — that their country (Bali specifically) had recently become. Central bank officials and police began to investigate the trend and Bank Indonesia has said that they will be looking more seriously into crypto regulation that will include AML and CFT laws.

10 Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is following suit with global trends as Capital Markets Authority Mohammed El Kuwaiz stated that the kingdom is exploring crypto regulation, but the rules may not be as rigid as other countries. In fact, the country is actively looking at ways to implement blockchain technologies in Islamic finances. The recently promoted Crown Prince is reportedly in favor or cryptocurrency and its potential benefits.

11 Australia

For some time, cryptocurrency in Australia was fairly unregulated, but as crypto-trading becomes more and more popular, recent measures from the AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction and Analysis Centre) to update their AML laws shows ‘the land down under’ to be committed to taking digital currencies more seriously, perhaps seeing the need for rules as more of an inevitability than anything else.

12 Turkey

Where previously, Turkish officials and religious authorities had taken a harsh stance against Bitcoin, in February 2018 Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek confirmed that the country would be releasing a national currency. But while cryptocurrency remains legal in Turkey, former Industry Minister Ahmet Kenan Tanrikulu has also called for a clearer legal framework going forward.

13 South Africa

While cryptocurrency in South Africa remains largely unregulated, taxation laws do apply. For the moment, the SARB (South African Reserve Bank) whitepaper from 2014 still stands, but the country is actively considering further regulation of crypto. The SARB recently initiated the setup of a self-regulatory organization, and South Africa may even be open to the use of distributed ledger technologies in their banking system in the near future.

14 Thailand

With a brand new regulatory framework that just came into effect (a first draft was circulated as early as March), Thailand is proving that it is not pulling any punches when it comes to cryptocurrency and exchange governance.

15 Venezuela

Venezuela’s relationship with cryptocurrency has been tumultuous at best — with some seeing crypto as a tool for emancipation from the country’s decade-long economic depression — while others are at odds with Petro cryptocurrency, believing it to be unconstitutional. And Trump’s ban order on any US purchase of Petro only added to the fire.


As of May 2018, it would be nigh on impossible to predict the exact direction that regulation will go, nationally or globally. There is one common agenda in the coming months for both the crypto-industry and governmental bodies though, and that is to gain clarity around how to handle bad actors in the space.



Digital Asset Advisors. Traders. Stewards of Value. Nerds. It's A Brave New World.

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Digital Asset Advisors. Traders. Stewards of Value. Nerds. It's A Brave New World.