Regulations are often seen as the arch-enemy of crypto, with some governments taking an anti-crypto stand or seizing complete control over the market, spoiling what was supposed to be a decentralized alternative to banking. However, rules often set us free, and luckily, there are a few forward-thinking countries where laws don’t hinder but promote a healthy crypto environment.
If you live in a country where crypto is barely legal, you know the struggle of being a blockchain aficionado. While in some countries, you can just go to a bitcoin ATM and walk off with your lunch money, in others, huge transaction fees are the least of your worries. To use your crypto, you need to find workarounds in the lost corners of the internet, spend hours in forums, and even if you manage to do all the formalities right, you still hope that your bank account won’t block the transaction without even explaining why.
In this article, we will go through a list of countries that are thinking ahead in adopting the blockchain and draw some conclusions on the near future of crypto in our daily lives.
Putting crypto 100% in the hands of people, with no regulations whatsoever, as appealing as it sounds, could and has led to shady activities that eventually forced governments to ban them for everyone. As users, we see these laws only as unjust, yet from the perspective of conservative lawmakers, it’s understandable to avoid any risk.
Prohibition is not a satisfying solution, nor a final one, and history has taught us that what is controversial could bring about significant change. Considering also how fast information moves, it’s no surprise that crypto is popular and an unavoidable truth one Google search away, even where it still needs to be officially accepted.
Knowing this trend and coming from a past of innovation and hard-learned lessons, governments know the following.
Good laws provide a fertile ground for crypto to grow and adapt in today’s complex economic and social systems. With the right incentives and rules, it would be much easier for companies/governments to implement crypto in daily operations and, ultimately, us, the everyday user. Laws allowing free play help steer the wheel correctly and make it ‘safer’ for all sides.
There’s no one way to adopt crypto, and since we can’t cover all, we choose a few prominent countries, each different and representing the shift to better laws in their unique way.
Overall there are two categories of countries and the in-betweens; the crypto paradise, meaning a small economy/country with very light regulations and few restrictions on crypto – or a progressive developed country trying to fit crypto in their economy while keeping a close eye on it.
We will start with an almost obvious choice. Switzerland and money go together better than even Switzerland and cheese. With a history full of financial revolutions and virtually no wars, it was expected for them to be one of the first movers in blockchain banking.
The private banking system fits perfectly well with the nature of crypto; knowing this, the country applied relaxed tax laws for crypto investors and minimal tax for users. Switzerland is far ahead in the crypto scene in many other ways, adopting Bitcoin as a legal tender and embracing a legal mining industry.
Switzerland is the only example of being both a crypto paradise and an incredibly developed country, meaning that the entry barrier is much higher than in other countries. In a sense, these crypto policies are risk-free for the Swizz efficient machinery, so if they don’t implement them and test the results, who will?
The “digital Island,” as many call it, Malta, stands in the middle of the Mediterranean sea as one of the most liberal countries for crypto users and home to the biggest crypto enhancer, Binance.
The country has crossed a big bridge, recognizing cryptocurrencies as a ‘unit of account, medium of exchange or a store of value.’
This means that if you, an investor or private individual, consider crypto as your “store of value,” the country won’t impose any capital gains on it. No wonder crypto companies are flowing into Malta, considering it is a developing European country with the proper infrastructures and tested grounds.
The blockchain might not be the first word of the day among the inhabitant, with tourism being the first and foremost income. However, in the last decade, the country’s reputation and status have grown beyond the sunny beaches and rich history, with crypto companies leading the way.
If you think Malta is a small beautiful island with progressive crypto laws, Curacao beats it not only on being smaller but also as a crypto haven for the gambling industry.
A new gaming regulation in place by Q2 2023, called the National Ordinance on Games of Chance, will allow the gambling industry to receive and make payments in crypto. In fact, you need no special allowance to open a bitcoin casino which would be out of the question even before crypto was uttered. If you think that is only limited to the island, you’d be wrong, as the law included iGaming and online casinos you can access from most locations. Be it if you want to start a round of Blackjack, or have a spin at live roulette games, Curacao will make sure plenty of investors have an opportunity to be the one to provide a place where you can end up going to.
What is more impressive is that the move is a U-turn from the government, which is hoping to bring in more foreign investment setting up the condition of hiring at least ten people locally and investing a minimal 3$ Million.
Is it an inviting law? Yes, will it prove worth it? It all depends on how much the government can keep regulations in check.
Portugal is proof you can be a developed country, part of the EU, and still not ease tax on most crypto transactions. This approach from the government is part of a greater, proven, successful move to bring in digital investment called the Digital Transitional Action Plan.
The blend of developed infrastructures, stable laws, rich culture, and nature is attractive to anyone wanting to enjoy the freedom of digital life. Naturally, it’s been a top choice for crypto heads and digital nomads for years. Every tech investor, including crypto ones, can apply for the Golden Visa program and take advantage of a 5 years residency and tax relaxation even if you’re not from the EU.
Professional traders will find a haven as they are exempt from capital gain taxes. They have been lured in by the temptation of staring at graphs all day by the ocean and earning more than doing it at home.
Portugal is by no means tax-free but is a good example of how much the western developed world can stretch its laws.
We only included a few examples and left out some big economies like the US or Germany that are often innovative but prioritize the stability of their greater economy rather than innovation. Once they make a significant move, it will shake the entire crypto world, so they normally don’t take chances.
The first movers listed in the article serve as the testers we all should be grateful to. For Switzerland, even if their crypto policies come to nothing, or for Portugal, if they bring the country massive wealth, all the world gains knowledge and experience.
So, wherever you live in the world, remember that no matter how tight things might be, the principle of least action eventually wins. In simple words, if something is proven cheaper and more efficient, it will find its way to spread everywhere. If everyone can win, everyone will eventually win.
Meanwhile, the ambiguous term “globalism” works its way on a big scale; you can do your own work by experimenting with how crypto works for you. However strict your country is, no one is spotting you from learning and be prepared when the time comes to act.