In search for Cryptopia: 5 best places in the world for cryptocurrency users
The idea of cryptocurrency is enough to scare any government around the globe. Unlike fiat currency, cryptocurrency has no backing, it is decentralized, and the overall technology behind it requires a significant amount of research in order to understand completely. Not to mention many banks see it as a threat to the traditional financial industry.
In Bangladesh, bitcoin users can face up to 12 years of jail time, China has not only banned the use of cryptocurrencies, but even news organizations reporting on cryptocurrencies have now been targeted. However, despite a few countries’ disdain for virtual currencies and crypto markets, many others have begun embracing them.
Cryptocurrencies don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Countries like Malta and Belarus have realized this, and instead of prohibiting the use of cryprocurrency, have identified the importance of it for future economies.
Malta is the place to be when using cryptocurrencies. The country has embraced cryptocurrencies along with the blockchain, the technology behind them. Facing heavy regulations in Hong Kong, Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange, moved its offices to Malta, where the country tries to work with cryptocurrency institutions rather than implement harsh regulations to snuff them out.
Unlike banks abroad, the Maltese banking industry intends to work with cryptocurrencies rather than against them. Malta banks realize that cryptocurrencies are here to stay. The adoption of a Utility Settlement Coin (USC), a cryptocurrency being developed by major banks worldwide, would further enhance Malta’s image as a friendly hub for cryptocurrency users, however, the adoption of a USC in the region remains unclear.
The U.S. has embraced the use of cryptocurrencies but has identified the need for regulation. Is it illegal to buy bitcoin in the U.S.? No, and it never has been. Is cryptocurrency legal? Yes. Moreover, it is now even being accepted in various states throughout the U.S. on a governmental level, such as in Ohio, which has become the first state to allow taxes to be paid in bitcoin.
Nonetheless, the amount of fraud, theft, and scams that have occurred in the cryptocurrency community within the past few years has led financial watchdogs, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), to implement various regulations. Two bipartisan bills have recently been put forward in the U.S., which will protect cryptocurrency investors while stimulating cryptocurrency market growth.
Although a territory of the U.S., Puerto Rico has a different set of values when it comes to cryptocurrency. Puerto Rico has a variety of tax incentives for cryptocurrency users. For instance, it offers no capital gains tax, no federal personal income taxes, and moderate business taxes for Americans in Puerto Rico.
Plagued by national debt, and still recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico looks toward cryptocurrency to be its saviour. Crypto billionaire Brock Pierce, director of the Bitcoin Foundation, has praised Puerto Rico for its tax incentives and hopes to create a profitable relationship with the territory.
Japan is said to be the first nation to legitimize bitcoin. It ended its double taxation of the currency in 2017 and is believed to be the home of bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, although that is highly speculative as no one knows who Nakamoto is.
In terms of exchange regulations, Japan is viewed as highly progressive. Exchanges are legal in Japan but need to be registered with Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) in order to prohibit market manipulation and foul play. Japan also has its own self-regulatory body for its exchanges. The Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchange Association (JCEA) is made up of Japan’s sixteen licensed exchanges, who have been given the freedom to put their cryptocurrency knowledge to use when determining how exchange regulation should work in the country.
President Alexander Lukashenko put Belarus on the map with the signing of a decree in 2017. Titled “On the development of the digital economy,” the decree officially legalized cryptocurrencies, and made them tax exempt up until 2023.
Belarus Hi-Tech Park is considered by many as the Silicon Valley of Europe, due to its large number of resident companies paving the way for cryptocurrency and blockchain. By providing various tax exemptions to companies working with cryptocurrency and blockchain, Belarus is ensuring its technological prosperity as the world moves even further into the digital age.
The ultimate crypto getaway
Cryptocurrencies and the way countries think about them are constantly changing. Cryptocurrencies are still new and can be compared to “the Wild West” in terms of regulations which in trying to protect investors often times stifle development and adoption.
Places like Puerto Rico are using cryptocurrencies to revitalize their economies, while a country like Belarus is using the technology to establish itself as a technological force to be reckoned with. Although these countries may be havens for cryptocurrency users now, countries like China have shown us just how quickly things can change.