The time when crypto was a trend that just a few people truly understand is now gone. It’s now a philosophy, a future direction, the most reliable way to fight the centralized power.
However, the adoption of crypto doesn’t go everywhere at the same speed. Some countries have realized its potential much earlier and dived in the bottomless crypto ocean, while other nations either lag behind or even try to limit the expanse of crypto-adoption. On the map above, in red are coloured the regions where crypto payments, trading or investing is banned. And in green and the crypto friends.
What makes a country ‘crypto-friendly’?
Even though there are many things to keep in mind, the most significant feature of the crypto-friendly countries is their aim to lower the taxes and build beneficial legal regulations for the businesses which are using Blockchain — the underlying technology of Bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies.
Consequently, the favourable for emerging technology environments attract more players on the field. You go where you are treated better, right?
Eager to know which are the 8 most crypto-friendly countries in the world so far? Read on.
1. Malta — the Blockchain island
The first place goes to…surprise, surprise — Malta! The small archipelago that is already known as the first “blockchain island” in the world. The current Maltese government has already taken legal actions to show it. Even though the banks are not quite following suit, the island is still very attractive to many Blockchain startups.
Furthermore, it provides a framework for companies underlying on the blockchain.
In addition, this is the first country in the world where a decentralized bank and stock exchange already entered. As we all know banks, generally, are averse to risks and Maltese banks seem to be a tiny bit more crypto friendly. However, in recent times it is coming clear that, in their nature, the banks will remain conservative and won’t support the crypto companies the way they support other companies in their day-to-day financial matters. Only time will tell if Malta will keep its prestigious title
One of the most significant annual crypto events, Malta AI & Blockchain summit, is happening right in the heart of Malta. The event is expected to be huge and to gather the most influential crypto speakers, international blockchain-based companies, enthusiasts, and potential investors.
Interesting fact: The largest market for crypto exchange in the world, the former Chinese Binance, relocated to Malta in 2018.
2. Liechtenstein — the Blooming crypto hub
The miniature state of Liechtenstein, with just one single hospital operating on its territory and about 40 000 inhabitants, also made a solid statement on the blockchain scene.
Following Malta, Liechtenstein will become the second country to date to have the legal status of cryptocurrency officially classified. Also, similar to Malta, Liechtenstein recognizes the huge potential of blockchain technology and aims to provide the necessary legal frames.
The Crown Prince of Liechtenstein, Hans-Adam II, is clearly charming the crypto businesses by establishing friendly regulations and lowering the taxes.
Moreover, while the tiny state is placed in the heart of Europe, it is not part of the European Union which makes it easier for startups and blockchain-based companies to skip most of the unfavourable European regulations.
In addition, æternity — the first blockchain unicorn 🦄 in Europe is also based in Liechtenstein, and more precisely, in the very same building as the House of Blockchain — an ultra-cool co-working space in the heart of Vaduz.
Interesting fact: Another remarkable resident of the building where æternity and House of Blockchain are, is Nägele Rechtsanwälte — a leading legal firm, which has contributed significantly to the draft version of The Blockchain Act.
3. Japan — the Pioneering technological wonder
When it comes to innovative technologies, Japan is always years ahead of most countries. In fact, the alias of Satoshi Nakamoto, the person or a group of people who developed bitcoin, is Japanese not by accident.
Moreover, as the Asian country is one of the biggest traders of Bitcoin in the world, loads of the Japanese retail stores already accept the digital currency.
In April 2017, all Blockchain media around the world headlined the news that the country recognizes Bitcoin and other digital currencies as legal tender under the Payment Services Act. This eliminated the consumption tax on the sales of the cryptocurrency and eased businesses to accept such payments.
This, of course, resulted in a significant jump in the price of Bitcoin and the rest of the cryptocurrencies.
In December last year, Japanese lawmakers proposed a tax change — from 55% to a flat rate of 20% on capital gains.
Interesting fact: Despite the bear market, and despite the heavy Financial Services Authority (FSA) procedures (i.e. answering some 400 questions) more than 200 Japanese companies registered for obtaining licenses as cryptocurrency exchange operators.
4. Switzerland — the Crypto Valley
What comes to your mind when hearing ‘’Switzerland’’? Chocolate, smelly cheeses, and eye-catching landscapes? For sure, but that’s not all!
Today, the Swiss canton of Zug is not just a beautiful and remote place to spend your next family vacation, it is also the home of many innovative blockchain-based businesses. The city of Zug is the capital of the Crypto Valley, as it is now known, but its borders go beyond the canton, across Switzerland, reaching Liechtenstein.
The region now is a thriving ecosystem of blockchain entrepreneurs, companies, incubators, conferences, legal services firms, and co-working spaces. Some of the brightest names in the space are based in Switzerland — ShapeShift.io, Bancor, ConsenSys, just to name a few.
The Crypto Valley, known as a tax-free shelter for investors, is proudly spreading the Swiss fame on the world crypto scene.
Interesting fact: In 2016, Zug became the first city in the world to start accepting payments of local taxes in bitcoin (BTC).
5. Gibraltar — the Crypto Rock
Aiming to become the largest Mediterranean blockchain spot, Gibraltar is giving a warm welcome to this business by building clear crypto-friendly laws.
This process recently began with a simplified issuing of licenses for ICOs and FinTech companies. Further, the Distributed Ledger Technology Regulatory Framework (DLT framework) of the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission was published on the 1st of January 2018.
Besides, Lendo, the innovative platform, underlying on the blockchain, that allows regulated UK banks to provide loans secured against crypto assets, recently moved to Gibraltar. For sure, there will be more to follow its example.
Interesting fact: Gibraltar's Digital Asset Exchange, or GBX-DAX, the subsidiary of the Gibraltar Stock Exchange, recently announced that is now providing insurance coverage for crypto assets listed on its platform!
6. Estonia — the Baltic crypto power
In a previous article, we have already acknowledged openly our fascination with the leading-edge technology adoption of the Estonian government.
Estonian Government is Building a Futuristic Digital Society Thanks to Blockchain
When it comes to building a futuristic digital society, Digital Ledger Technologies (DLT)/Blockchain, the small Baltic nation is always on the first row.
In fact, the Estonian government planned on issuing the country’s own cryptocurrency Estcoin for easier, faster and safer payment processing within the e-residency community, i.e. their digital ID cards. Unfortunately, the idea of Estcoin was in opposition to the idea of EUR and the European Central Bank’s president said: “no (European Union) member state can introduce its own currency”.
Nonetheless, Estonian banking management is more on the crypto side right now. The LHV Bank, for instance, is one of the pioneering banking institutions in the world to adopt blockchain. It has even launched its Cuber Wallet app, a digital wallet that allows users to send digital copies of real euros.
Interesting Fact: the first Ethereum-based tokenized stocks, regulated under European Union law, will be launched by Nasdaq and an Estonian digital trading platform.
7. Barbados — the Caribbean Crypto-paradise
Even though the amount of startups based in the Caribbean state has been growing quite slowly, Barbados surely deserves to be in the Top 8 of the most crypto-friendly countries in the world thanks to the government’s strong willingness to support the crypto companies politically and financially.
For the last few years, the Central Bank of Barbados is thinking about the idea of adopting the cryptocurrencies.
Furthermore, a digital Barbadian dollar, a digital asset fastened to the value of its real-world counterpart, has been recently created by the Barbados-based start-up Bitt. In alliance with other central banks in the Caribbean region, Bitt is planning to hit the Aruban florins and Bahamian dollars.
Given that the 3 currencies are tightened to the US dollar, shifting from one to the other will be a matter of simple equalization. This, from another hand, will definitely encourage trading between the 3 Caribbean states.
Interesting Fact: Barbados launched its first regulatory sandbox, and this is very exciting, but after seeing the sand beach we could not focus on the sandbox anymore.
8. Slovenia — small country with solid crypto plan
Even it’s a small (and often underestimated) country, Slovenia is already making huge steps in adopting the new technologies and applying them in everyday life.
To start, the country is the birthplace of many blockchain-based start-ups, thanks to its beneficial regulations.
Moreover, the first crypto-friendly mall in the world, called the BTC City Center, opened in Ljubljana. Every store and venture take digital currency and work via blockchain technology. There is also The European Blockchain HUB, whose goal is to further grow and support the Blockchain ecosystem.
Interesting Fact: in Kranj, the fourth-largest city in Slovenia, you can drive around an enormous Bitcoin coin in a roundabout.
Gladly, there are more and more countries working on creating a positive environment for Crypto businesses. Even, there might be some more nations that should come into our list so we’ll make sure to share a second part of the Most Crypto-friendly countries in the world.
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