5 countries that are going big on cryptocurrency adoption

18 Mar, 2019 | Updated: 19 Mar, 2019
by Fifi Arisandi
Analysis
5 countries that are going big on cryptocurrency adoption

While cryptocurrency mass adoption may still take a little more time to take place, there are several countries in the world that truly see the benefits of crypto and are willing to take the 'risk' by adopting cryptocurrency earlier than the others... Here are 5 countries that are going big with cryptocurrency adoption. 

The words “mass adoption” has been a popular topic in the crypto sphere, probably since cryptocurrency was created. Sadly though, the term doesn’t seem to catch up with the growing popularity of the cryptocurrency itself.

In fact, many countries in the world, such as China and India, decided to crack down on anything involving cryptocurrency even going as far as to subdue the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies, blockchain, in an effort to suppress the growth of crypto within the country.

That being said, more countries are becoming more open to the idea of the nascent industry and its benefits, creating better regulation for cryptocurrencies and their functions as both an asset and utility.

Other countries have even decided to go above and beyond regulation, creating an environment where cryptocurrency can truly grow. Among those countries are:

1. Malta

There can’t be any discussion on crypto-friendly countries, without mentioning Malta.

Last year, the Maltese parliament passed three cryptocurrency and blockchain bills that provide investors with a clear description of the required legal framework to set up a legitimate cryptocurrency business, which has ever since attracted many crypto businesses to set up their offices in the country.

The small Mediterranean country is now home to several major crypto exchanges, such as Binance, OKEx, DQR and ZB.com. Even Binance’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao himself thinks that Malta has managed to become a blockchain island.

Read more: Is Malta really a blockchain island? Binance CEO certainly thinks so

The country also holds Malta Blockchain Summit regularly, that has been known for its star-studded speakers, such as Gemini’s Winklevoss twins, John McAfee, Tim Draper, Bitcoin Cash’ Roger Ver, and Nouriel Roubini, who spends most of his time condemning crypto, but seems to be pretty excited attending the event.

On a larger scope, the Maltese government is also renowned for being an “international advocate” to blockchain adoption.

End of last year, the country joined 7 other EU countries in signing a declaration regarding blockchain adoption promotion, while the Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat was reported speaking in front of the UN General Assembly addressing his optimistic stance towards cryptocurrency by saying that it is the “inevitable future of money.”

Read more: Prime Minister of Malta on blockchain and the 'inevitable future of money'  

That said, the journey has not been completely smooth and easy for Malta. A recent report revealed that many crypto-related startups have reported to experience difficulties to open bank accounts as local banks prefer them to obtain a license from the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) first, which could take up to 6 months to get.

Non-crypto blockchain companies also get through similar experiences, despite not being related to cryptocurrency.

Read more: Companies reportedly struggling to get bank accounts on "blockchain island"

The IMF, on the other hand, stated that Malta has critical gaps in their anti-money laundering/counter-financing of terrorism policies and urged the island country to take action towards them immediately.

With such efforts from the government to develop a crypto-friendly environment, it is quite surprising that Malta still doesn’t have a specific law that regulates crypto taxation. That said, the detailed regulation on other “business aspects” still manages to attract many businesses to the country.

2. Singapore

The rich South East Asian country is already known as the home to many fintech startups, some of which are crypto-related businesses, like Litecoin, TenX, CoinGecko, Coinbene, and Huobi, while others, such as Binance have decided to expand their services to the country.

Read more: Binance announces the launch of fiat-to-crypto exchange in Singapore

Singapore was listed as one of the most favorable countries for ICO last year and even recorded more ICOs than the US in August 2018. Many Korean companies in Korea that plan on raising funds through ICOs have also been reported to move to Singapore due to the Korean government’s ban on such activities.

The government itself has chosen a prudent approach when it comes to regulating cryptocurrency as it doesn’t want to spoil its image as a fintech-friendly landscape. One major move taken by the Monetary Association of Singapore (MAS) was the collaboration with prominent companies, such as NASDAQ, Deloitte, and Anquan to help facilitate trades settlement in August last year.

However, the country obliges all crypto-related businesses to register and comply with MAS’ regulations that can be seen of releasing regular warnings to the public about the risks of investing or transacting in businesses that “fall outside the remit” of their rules.

Read more: Singapore is looking to regulate crypto exchanges, new bill is under development

Tax-wise, Bitcoin is not considered as currency nor commodity. According to 99 Bitcoins, it is considered as goods, thus a 7% GST (Goods and Services Tax) is applied to all Bitcoin-related transactions. While another resource mentions that cryptocurrency trading is only applicable to businesses, but not individuals.

3. Switzerland

Switzerland was once known as the promised land for cryptocurrency, until a new regulation that didn’t provide crypto businesses adequate access to and support from the banking sector was introduced in February last year. Ever since the country has seen many crypto businesses flocked and moved to other friendlier countries.

Read more: Switzerland plans to become a promise land for cryptocurrency once again

The country that maintains its independence from the European Union then decided to revise the regulation months after with their fintech regulatory body (FINMA) even introduced a new license that allows crypto and blockchain companies to receive up to $100 million of public funds on December.

Several banking institutions in the country have announced their new crypto-related services. Earlier this year, a local bank, the Falcon Private Bank introduced new crypto-related functionalities to its customers, while the Swissquote banking group has announced their plan to launch crypto custody solutions next March.

The step is followed by another banking institution, Julius Baer that is looking to launch digital assets storage, transaction and investment solutions later this year through a partnership with a crypto startup.

In the stock market, the Swiss stock exchange (SIX) has listed Bitcoin and Ethereum exchange-traded-product (ETP), with XRP ETP will be offered very soon.

When it comes to taxes, the country obliges crypto holdings to be declared and determines that they are subject to wealth taxes. All cryptos earned through salary or mining activities are also subject to income tax. However, capital gains taxes and offsets for losses are only applicable to professional traders.

4. Gibraltar

The tiny country located in the south of Spain is trying to catch up with the cryptocurrency wave, following the steps of Malta.

In Q1 2018, the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) introduced a regulatory framework for companies that used digital ledger technology, such as but not limited to crypto exchanges, crypto wallets, crypto payment services, and token issuers. The new framework also arranges ICOs, which is considered as crypto’s “grey area” as well as provides clarities for tax-related issues.

As a follow-up move, on July last year, the country launched Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX) that made the trading of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum available to the public, following the approval from the local financial authorities for GBX to fully operate one month earlier. 


Read more: Gibraltar pushing forward with blockchain exchange platform after GFSC approval

With such welcoming regulation, it was just a matter of time before major crypto businesses enter the Gibraltar market. CoinFloor was the first exchange that received approval from the country’s financial regulator in October. The exchange was joined by eToroX on December, almost the same time as Coinbase’s addition of Gibraltar region to its trading platform.

Read more: Gibraltar licenses eToroX and gets added to Coinbase. Second 'blockchain island?'

But, that’s not all. Gibraltar wants to ensure that their citizens have substantial knowledge of blockchain and possibly even become an expert in the field by creating new blockchain courses at a local university, which was a result of collaborations with leading tech companies in the country.

When it comes to taxes, Gibraltar is currently in the middle of the process of formulating a legal framework for crypto businesses, which would clarify the matter. As of now, all businesses in the country must abide by the 10% tax rate that has been enforced since 2011.

5. Argentina

Argentina has proven an incredible breeding ground for cryptocurrency adoption of late, with a recent slew of bullish sentiment priming the country to become a pioneer in crypto mass adoption.

2019 has been a particularly good year for Argentina’s relationship with crypto.

Thanks to a partnership back in February between Bitex - a blockchain based financial services provider -  and Alto Viaje - a platform to top-up Argentinian transport cards, citizens were allowed to pay for the travel using BTC.

Read more: Argentinians can now travel using Bitcoin

The partnership enabled users of the Argentinian state public transport card or SUBE (Sistema Único de Boleto Electrónico) to top up their travel cards with BTC via Bitex.  

This news prompted a reply from CZ, who congratulated Argentina on this momentous piece of adoption.

But Argentina didn’t rest on its laurels, and few weeks later, reports emerged of the country settling an export deal with Paraguay, using none other than BTC.

Read more: In a first, Argentina settles export deal with Paraguay using Bitcoin

Paraguay purchased Pesticides and fumigation products for approximately $7k, using Bitcoin to settle the deal, marking a first for both countries.

Clearly impressed with the rate of adoption coming out of Argentina, CZ announced earlier this month that Binance and the Argentinian government would be teaming up, with the latter matching Binance’s investment in blockchain start-ups on a 1:1 ratio:

Binance Labs officially partnered with the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, for season 2 of its Binance Labs incubation program, with the country’s Ministry of Production and Labour committing to match investments of up to $50,000 for every blockchain projects funded by biannce; promising to invest in up to 10 blockchain projects per year, over the next 4 years.

Read more: Binance and the Argentine government to co-invest in blockchain projects

CZ later hinted to furthering adoption in Argentina within a post, simply saying: “Guess where we will have a new fiat-to-crypto exchange?”, with the tweet accompanying an article about the recent Binance Labs incubation partnership with Argentina.

Read more: CZ on Argentina: "Guess where we will have a new fiat-to-crypto exchange?"

The aforementioned countries are just some of the countries that foresee the potential of cryptocurrency for the future and decided to “take the risk” of adoption. Fingers crossed that their pioneering actions will pave the way for the other countries to embrace cryptocurrency that will lead to crypto mass adoption.

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Add a comment

Argentina is a good place for crypto. Binance is expanding there
18 Mar, 2019 - 14:07
argentina has very strong economy and the adoption of the cryptos can give this country competetive advantage over other latin american countries
18 Mar, 2019 - 18:47
actually, this is one more step to the future
18 Mar, 2019 - 21:16

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