Most nations have been reluctant to regard blockchain technology and digital assets as anything more than a curiosity. Some of them have even gone so far as to enforce prohibitions on cryptocurrencies. However, the macroeconomic environment drastically shifted following the last bull run, after which most countries began to ease restrictions and some even made Bitcoin their legal tender. Crypto’s global popularity grew rapidly, as citizens started including cryptocurrencies in their investment portfolios and utilizing crypto as a means of payment.
In its comprehensive recent study, Statista Global Consumer Survey aimed to determine which nation’s citizens use Bitcoin and various altcoins. The finding showed a distinct trend in which people from Africa, Asia, and South America were significantly more likely to possess or utilize cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, from the findings we can deduce that in those countries where the economy has been struggling, inflation has been high and opening a bank account is a challenge, digital currencies have been soaring in popularity. We’re talking about countries such as in Nigeria, where almost 1/3 of the people have used or owned some kind of crypto in 2020.
Another important factor for the rise in crypto adoption in third-world countries is the wide acceptance of mobile payments and money transfers. However, as inflation and economic volatility have begun affecting developed nations as well, crypto adoption has been increasing there at a steady pace.
Cryptocurrencies have left a strong global irreversible footprint, to which nations have to either conform and become part of the crypto market or confront and risk missing massive growth opportunities. We believe that to measure the extent to which governments are open to cryptocurrencies, we have to first measure them using two factors – regulations and taxes. So, with that in mind, here are the most crypto-friendly countries:
El Salvador – Bitcoin City
The first nation to use Bitcoin as legal tender has made significant progress luring blockchain enthusiasts from across the world. This Central American nation sought to raise money in March 2022 with bonds secured by Bitcoin reserves. That strategy, though, has been derailed by the turmoil in the debt market. However, the nation is still dedicated to purchasing and storing BTC on its federal balance sheets, and it has put into place a new citizenship-by-investment program for Bitcoin owners.
Singapore’s strategic location in Asia, combines with its relatively pragmatic economic policies, has made it a top destination for blockchain developers, crypto and fintech startups. At the time of writing, there are over 433 crypto startups in the country. Currently, Singapore is rolling out a slew of new rules and regulations that provide a framework for blockchain ecosystem development and investments. Singapore’s relative stability has made it an ideal target for developers and investors seeking a foothold in Asia, and an alternative the political turmoil in Hong Kong.
Canada enjoys a first-mover advantage in publicly traded securities because of its greater openness to digital assets. Nearly as many exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for Bitcoin and Ethereum are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange as there are in all of Europe. Global investors have contributed billions of dollars to these funds.
In the meantime, Canada has become a popular location for Bitcoin miners due to its economic environment and plenty of renewable energy. Even the taxation of cryptocurrencies has a defined structure provided by the government, which makes it simpler for business owners and investors to invest money in this industry. All in all, Canada still remains one of the best locations for dealing with digital assets.
The most recent sovereign state to accept cryptocurrency is one of Central America’s richest countries. Legislation that authorizes the use of crypto assets for diverse use cases was recently submitted by regulators in Panama. In addition to tokenizing precious metals, the measure also addresses the creation of digital securities and the use of cryptocurrency in payment systems.
Capital gains taxes are legally waived for digital asset exchanges. Panama is now on pace to develop itself into a desirable center for offshore cryptocurrency payments and financial services after the law received 38 votes and was approved.
The tax authorities in Portugal have decided to take a lenient approach on Bitcoin investiments. The legislation in Portugal is reputed to be particularly supportive of cryptocurrencies. Capital gains from the acquisition and selling of cryptocurrencies are not subject to taxation for individuals in Portugal. Furthermore, there are no taxes applied when exchanging cryptocurrencies for other currencies.
According to a remark from Portugal’s tax authorities, “exchanging cryptocurrencies for ‘real money’ implies an on-demand, VAT-free exercise of services.”
Numerous policies of the nation enable cryptocurrency investors to establish a foothold there. Regulations governing citizenship and residency are equally tolerant and rank highly on many such lists. Recently however, the Portuguese government proposed a new policy for cryptocurrency taxation that will take effect in 2023. It threatens to impose a 28% capital gains tax on the cryptocurrency gains made within one year. Gains realized after a one-year-long HODL however, of will be exempt from paying such tax. In other related bad news, the Portuguese government also plans to impose a 4% tax on any crypto transfers, so Portugal may very well be on its way to exiting this list of counties come next year.
Switzerland has a diverse reputation. Swiss banking regulations famously permit high degrees of secrecy with minimal levels of risk and are well-known in the financial world. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the nation has lax laws for cryptocurrency investors.
However, the distinctive structure that divides areas into groups, known as cantons, has a significant impact on what may and may not be done. The legal standards for how cryptocurrencies are to be treated vary throughout the 26 cantons of Switzerland.
While certain cantons in Switzerland may tax cryptocurrencies, others may not. Additionally, the laws that initiate taxes may vary within each canton. It is possible to conclude that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are tax-free in Zurich, since capital gains from moveable private wealth are excluded from taxation there. Mining profits, however, are subject to standard income taxes.
At an international level, Switzerland is not an entirely crypto-friendly nation. However, a lot of the its cantonal regions are.
Since cryptocurrencies are not recognized as legal tender in Germany, the country views them as private funds. Cryptocurrency legislation favors long-term, buy-and-hold investors. No taxes will be due on cryptocurrencies held by residents for more than a year, regardless of value. Day traders of Bitcoin may want to rethink their ambitions to evade taxes.
Corporations in Germany must pay capital gains taxes, much like in many other crypto-friendly nations. So, Germany is a desirable country for individual cryptocurrency investors with a long-term perspective, not so much for short-term or leverage traders.
This small country in the Mediterranean islands has long been seen as a trustworthy counterpart by cryptocurrency investors. The nation hosts several cryptocurrency exchanges and Blockchain initiatives due of its crypto friendliness. After Hong Kong tightened its restrictions and forced Binance to look for more hospitable jurisdictions, Malta welcomed the exchange with open arms.
Other factors also contribute to Malta‘s strategic appeal to businesses with an appetite for cryptocurrencies. Malta is a constituent of the EU and, as such, permits cryptocurrency projects with offices in Malta to conduct unrestricted business across the whole European Union.
Another island country in the Mediterranean Sea known for being lax with crypto trading is Cyprus. Clearly concerned about the possibility of capital loss, the Central Bank of Cyprus published public advice on the risks associated with cryptocurrencies as early as 2014. In keeping with its aim to enhance investor safety within regulated firms, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission has also developed an Innovation Hub enabling organizations to share information. Overall, though, Cyprus‘s cryptocurrency market still remains mostly unregulated.
The Cyprus SEC is working for further regulation, but as of right now, it appears that there are no mining limitations, reporting requirements or legal guidelines for how cryptocurrency should be handled in estates.
So, there you have it – the most crypto-friendly nations in 2022. Don’t forget your toothbrush!