Bitcoin has been around for almost 10 years, yet only a few countries have their own regulations on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general.
Some countries welcomed Bitcoin to the finance world and looked at it as a cost effective way of making financial services modern.
The others, however, don’t consider it as an official way of paying for goods and are more interested in implementing blockchain technology into their ecosystem.
We made a list of the most Bitcoin friendly countries to show you how big of an impact it can have on the economy and society.
But we have to ask another question: should countries be Bitcoin friendly? If the answer is yes, then why does it take so long for authorities to realise Bitcoin’s full potential?
Why Countries Should Accept Bitcoin
Explaining the appeal of Bitcoin in the Western world can be hard. We have banks, contactless cards and PayPal. So, why do we need, yet another, invention that interests only geeks, drug dealers and the Anonymous?
Even in countries where authorities made peace with cryptocurrency, the percentage of people who use it as an everyday payment is minuscule.
Indeed, there is a large number of people investing in cryptocurrency but nothing more than that.
The prospects change though if we look beyond American and European borders. In developing countries, only a small fraction of an entire population has access to a traditional banking system. For them, cryptocurrency opened a new window of money-storing opportunities, beyond the overpriced Western Union.
Nigeria is one of the prime examples – almost 40% of the population doesn’t have a bank account, not to mention an access to a modern online banking. Providing an inexpensive way of sending money, avoiding unnecessary paperwork, and smoothing the process of acquiring digital currency, is giving a promise of bypassing the traditional banking system.
Another valid reason for developing countries to welcome cryptocurrency is an unevolved banking system. Why spend time and valuable resources on traditional banks, when there is another, cheaper, solution?
However, going back to Westernised countries, cryptocurrency has already made its entrance and won’t be leaving anytime soon. The more it will be left without a proper legislation, the more we are risking a catastrophe to happen.
The aftermath of it? Over the years, we witnessed a lot of scams, busted exchanges and cryptocurrency theft. The lack of governance only makes it easier to abuse the system.
Thus, cryptocurrency is beyond the question of whether we should have it or not. It’s already here and the authorities must start acting upon it. It can not only have an enormous impact on the financial system, but it can be followed by a wider implementation of blockchain technology.
Most Bitcoin-Friendly Countries
Although it’s one of the smallest European nations, it certainly is ahead of the rest of the continent. Blockchain technology has already been introduced in the health care and banking system as well as within the government. Estonians can become e-citizens and vote online.
The country has also introduced a number of Bitcoin ATMs and is a playground for cryptocurrency startups, such as Paxful.
Dutchies have their own ‘Bitcoin City’, which shows you how much they welcome cryptocurrency. In Arnhem, you can pay for everything in Bitcoin – from supermarkets to medical services.
Even though cryptocurrency is not regulated under the Act on Financial Supervision of the Netherlands, the country is booming with cryptocurrency ATMs, communities, and even a Bitcoin Embassy.
Currently, the banking sector is looking into Bitcoin and blockchain as a way to cut costs and improve technology.
Another small European nation that is researching and going towards blockchain implementation. Recently, Malta’s prime minister has spoken about improving the healthcare system and land registry records through the application of blockchain technology.
The country has also an active community of Bitcoin enthusiasts, who are the main force behind building the cryptocurrency awareness. A startup Ivaja, have just started a new campaign with an intention of making Malta the #BitcoinIsland. Apart from actively engaging with a local community, they’re also trying to bring the second Bitcoin ATM to the island.
The generous tax system also attracts plenty of expats, especially within the financial and tech industry, giving Malta a talent availability advantage over others.
Positioned in central Europe, Austria is a home of an awarded winning cryptocurrency exchange BitPanda. What’s more – Austrian citizens can buy cryptocurrency vouchers in all post office outlets, which later on can be deposited on a wallet.
Bitcoin is not financially regulated in Austria and faces a similar austerity from the government as most countries. But with citizens accepting and incorporating Bitcoin into an everyday life, it’s likely to change in the near future.
Home to a vibrant tech industry, South Korea is quickly embracing Bitcoin both as an investment and means of exchange.
There are currently no laws in the country regulating Bitcoin use, but there is a number of startups which sprung up across the borders. One of them is Korbit which is a secure and comprehensive service to buy and sell Bitcoins.
People can also purchase Bitcoins at 7-eleven stores – the latest technology generation, featuring vein reading automation as a method of payment.
It seems like all Scandinavian countries are indicating their support for the cryptocurrency. And Finland isn’t any different.
Finland is well-known for its cutting edge technology and prides itself on being at the European forefront of innovation.
The Finnish Central Board of Taxes has classified Bitcoin as a financial service, exempting it and Bitcoin purchases from VAT.
Finland also accommodates a significant amount of Bitcoin ATMs, with Helsinki gathering 12 of them. If you have ever tried buying Bitcoins with cash, you would know that LocalBitcoins is one the best and most reliable sources out there. And, it was born nowhere else but Finland.
In 2016, the most expensive Bitcoin sale happened in Finland. In involved selling a luxury car worth over €140,000.
Bitcoin Acceptance Stage
The answer to why countries should be Bitcoin friendly is pretty straightforward – it is the future.
What blockchain technology and cryptocurrency are doing at the moment, resembles the beginning of Internet. At first, it was ignored and nobody could see the full potential. Nowadays, it’s a necessity and an inevitable part of our lives.
Was the world ready in the 20th century for string theory? No, it happened too soon. And the same principle applies to cryptocurrency – we are not ready yet.
It’s an invention that happened in a wrong century. But at the same time, we cannot keep on ignoring it. Technology has evolved so much, yet it left the financial system way behind.
Thus, countries which reacted quicker to the Bitcoin revolution and supported it will only benefit in the future. Backing cryptocurrency is going to give them an advantage and sooner or later will result in an economic boost. Moreover, it will put the nation’s name worldwide as a more progressive and forward-thinking country.
Do you know more Bitcoin-friendly countries? Maybe you live in one of them and want to share your experience in the comments below? Let us know!