Here are the Countries That Banned Cryptocurrency

The recent bull run that Bitcoin experienced has resulted in many people wanting to invest in cryptocurrencies once again, with some trying to get in on the action for the very first time. In spite of the fact that this is the case, it bears mentioning that cryptocurrencies aren’t legal in every single country around the world. Quite on the contrary, some countries have placed restrictions on them, with 19 banning them outright.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that China is the most notable country that has enacted restrictions on cryptocurrencies. What’s surprising is that China was the single biggest cryptocurrency hub in the world during the 2010s, with an estimated 75% of all crypto mining occurring within the East Asian nation as of 2018.

Here are the Countries That Banned Cryptocurrency

A year after this peak was hit, China banned all forms of cryptocurrency trading. The government had previously banned Initial Coin Offerings, or ICOs for short, in 2017, and these moves ended up leading to the price of Bitcoin and other crypto tokens declining somewhat. In 2021, the Chinese government took things one step further by cracking down on all crypto mining operations. When all of these restrictions were done in 2021, China’s share of crypto mining plummeted to 21% with all things having been considered and taken into account.

Another country that banned cryptocurrency is Nepal, where the national central bank declared crypto transactions to be illegal in 2017. That same year, Bangladesh issued a ban of its own and stated that the use of cryptocurrencies could result in imprisonment. The reasoning was that cryptocurrency could be used to finance terrorism and launder illegal money, and while the government implemented a National Blockchain Strategy in 2020, crypto trading or even the use of virtual currency in general is prohibited.

Over in Africa, the Egyptian government has been a vocal critic of cryptocurrencies for quite some time now, with much of the pushback coming from religious circles. This began in 2018 when religious groups claimed that virtual currencies weren’t permissible under Islam, and despite some signs in 2020 that the Central Bank is looking into regulating crypto trading, the institution reiterated previous statements against crypto in 2023. Algeria, Libya, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and many other countries close to Egypt as well as across the African continent have enacted their own bans.
In South America, Bolivia enacted one of the first bans on crypto in 2014. This position was reconfirmed in 2022, indicating that crypto simply won’t be able to become legal tender anytime soon. What’s clear is that crypto has more than its fair share of detractors across three continents, and there are a multitude of reasons why it’s facing so much pushback. It remains to be seen whether or not this new form of currency will be legalized or at the very least decriminalized in these countries.

In some countries, such as Pakistan and Zimbabwe, the overall legal status of cryptocurrencies is unclear.

List Number Country Cryptocurrency Bans By Year Of Implementation
1. Afghanistan Taliban banned crypto trading, August 2022.
2. Algeria Financial Law prohibits all crypto activities since 2018.
3. Bangladesh Bank doesn't recognize virtual currencies; crypto is illegal.
4. Bolivia Central Bank banned crypto involvement, 2014 & 2022.
5. China Extended restrictions in 2021: mining, transactions, foreign exchanges prohibited.
6. Egypt Central bank warns against crypto due to high risks and financial crimes.
7. Ghana Government upholds 2018 ban on crypto in financial transactions.
8. Iraq Central Bank prohibited crypto, 2017; Supreme Fatwa Board ruled against OneCoin, 2018.
9. Kuwait Capital Markets Authority banned virtual assets, including crypto, July 2023.
10. Lesotho Central bank prohibits crypto investments as unregulated and unlicensed.
11. Libya Central Bank deemed virtual currencies illegal, pending regulation, 2018.
12. Morocco Ministry banned all crypto transactions, 2017; draft regulation bill announced, Jan 2023.
13. Myanmar Central Bank banned crypto trading, 2020; shadow gov't set up crypto bank, July 2023.
14. Nepal Central Bank banned crypto use, exchange, mining, 2017; ISPs instructed to block crypto sites, Jan 2023.
15. North Macedonia Government completely banned crypto use since 2016.
16. Republic of Congo Government outright banned crypto according to IMF.
17. Saudi Arabia Financial institutions banned from crypto transactions, 2017; hired virtual assets lead, 2022.
18. Sierra Leone Bank banned two crypto companies, 2019; no licenses for crypto deposits, trading.
19. Tunisia Strict ban on crypto; calls for decriminalization since 2021 arrest.

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