In the past, we have written in CoinStaker about the friendliest countries towards Bitcoin on earth. Every single day, we have different news about regulations, markets and bans to the different cryptocurrencies. That’s why we have decided to make an update about what has happened this year.
Bitcoin in Japan
This Asian country is known worldwide as one of the friendliest countries on earth towards Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. Japan is one of the biggest trading hubs on earth concentrating lot of the cryptocurrency trading volume. Earlier this year in April, Japan passed a long discussed law that recognizes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as means of payment that “are not legal currency”, as Japan’s Payment Services Act reads.
Some weeks ago, Japan’s Financial Services Agency has approved 11 companies as operators of cryptocurrency exchanges, Reuters reported. Even though, it does not mean that there are no regulations regarding the cryptocurrency market. Enterprises, financial institutions and exchange platforms must follow a strict anti-money Laundering requirements. In addition to this, they also must have a strict knowledge of the customers they are working with.
The country distinguishes itself from its neighbours, China and South Korea, where Bitcoin exchanges were banned by the government. This situation allows Japan to bring into its country investments in cryptocurrencies that the other countries would not able to attract.
Japan keeps being one of the most open countries in the world. If we take a look at the charts, the Japanese Yen is the most traded currency for Bitcoin. Even though, during the last days, we have covered how Japanese authorities want to discuss bitcoin regulations at the G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires.
Bitcoin in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, enterprises and financial institutions are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). But this regulatory arm does not regulate Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges and businesses. As the FCA explained, Bitcoin businesses in the UK are not obliged to register with the FCA to operate freely and under the rule of law. But what it is interesting is that British enterprises related to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies regulate themselves in order to follow the FCA regulations, even when it is not required.
In the United Kingdom it is also important to not allow money laundering. But again, as with the FCA, there are no anti-laundering regulations for enterprises and businesses related to the cryptocurrency sphere or Bitcoin. But as British enterprises are closely linked with American enterprises, if they want to work with American customers, they need to follow specific rules that the USA has for its citizens. In some cases, British enterprises do not open their doors to clients from the North American country due to difficulties following their legislation.
In the last months, some big enterprises moved forward to let British citizens to invest in Bitcoins. For example, the largest online trading platform in the UK, Hargreaves Lansdown, that manages £70 billion and has 876.000 clients that have access to these features.
An application named Dust, allows its users to convert the spare change into Bitcoins. An interesting way that could allow lot of customers and people to know the world of cryptocurrencies. When you exchange money for something that you buy and you receive change, Dust app converts it automatically into the cryptocurrency that you want.
No regulations from financial entities, a strong market that was always related to the financial industry and well prepared group of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies enterprises, make the United Kingdom a friendly country towards Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general.
The United Kingdom has also been promoting different regulations to cryptocurrency exchanges. The intention is to regulate illegal activities around Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. It is clear that Bitcoin can be used to launder money and to transfer money among terrorists. The United Kingdom has lived difficult situations regarding international terrorism and it is important for the government to have everything under control.
According to local media:
“The Treasury (Treasury of the United Kingdom) has disclosed plans to regulate Bitcoin that will force traders in so-called crypto-currencies to disclose their identities and report suspicious activity.”
What countries try to do is to have strict Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) policies.
Bitcoin in Denmark
Denmark, as its northern neighbours, is known for being a Bitcoin friendly country. The National Bank of Denmark released a statement in which they explain that Cryptocurrencies are not regulated neither at the European level nor in Denmark. Even when the use of cryptocurrencies is not spread everywhere, they can be used freely, without paying taxes, because for the Danish Central Bank, Bitcoin is not a currency. Besides, the Financial Supervisory Authority recognised that it will not prevent anybody that would like to start or open a cryptocurrency business in the country.
Denmark, as its neighbour Sweden, is trying to become a cash-less country. Because of this situation, people in the country are used to new technologies and e-transactions. In such an environment, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have a good chance to spread and become popular faster than in other countries. Just to mention an example of how Bitcoin could work in this place, one year ago one real estate company – Just-Sold.dk – sold a property entirely in Bitcoins. This transaction shows that Bitcoin is not only intended for peer-to-peer exchange but it also suits perfectly for bigger purposes.
There was not a drastic change for Bitcoin in this European country. What is important to remark, is that the head of the Danish Central Bank has warned investors about the risks of investing in cryptocurrencies.
According to the state broadcaster DR, Danmarks Nationalbank director Lars Rohde, believes that Bitcoin is dangerous. He has also compared Bitcoin with casinos, saying that the virtual currency can be a good alternative to them. Besides that, the Danish Central Bank has expressed:
“In a Danish context, it is unclear what central bank digital currency would be able to contribute that is not already covered by the current payment solutions.”
Bitcoin in the Netherlands
Netherland is known for having a Bitcoin Embassy in Amsterdam. They call themselves a Bitcoin Community that want to spread knowledge related to Bitcoin and the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem. In this place people can sit at the Bitcoin coffee and drink a great quality Dutch coffee, or reserve a table to eat at the Bitcoin Restaurant. At the end of the day, the public can pay with Bitcoins without any problem. In the same place, you can also ask for good quality information about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in case you would like to know more about this fascinating world.
If the Bitcoin Embassy is not enough, then the Bitcoin City, Arnhem, would be worth a visit. Located near the German boundary, it is a city that opened itself to Bitcoin. Lots of shops, businesses and people use Bitcoin on a daily base. In the other countries mentioned before, Bitcoin is free, but not widely spread as it is in Arnhem. The city created a Bitcoin economy, alternative to the current financial system, in which some merchants use bitcoins to buy supplies for their own businesses. The goal of this city is to spread Bitcoin until it will be part of the daily life of its citizens and visitors.
In the country, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trade is not regulated by financial authorities, informed the prosecution service. This situation can create problems regarding money laundering and criminal activities, rising alarms in the Dutch authorities. Indeed, one year ago, Dutch police working with an international team, arrested 10 people that where involved in money laundering activities. Luxury cars, cash and ingredients to make ecstasy were seized, informed The Guardian.
What we have heard about this country the last months is that Didi Taihuttu has decided to sell all his goods in order to buy Bitcoin. At CoinStaker we had an exclusive interview with him were he told us everything about his decision and how he is living now.
At the moment, no further regulations have been implemented in the Netherlands. We need to closely follow the next year to see whether the government will take any decision to regulate or not the cryptocurrency market.
Those countries have different features that could make of them a good place for Bitcoin to spread. Regulations are soft, technology penetration is high and Bitcoin businesses are growing fast. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency communities are also strong in those countries. Different meetings and start-ups are pushing the Bitcoin environment to the next level.
Regulations have been arising in the last quarter of 2017. In the coming year, we could witness how these regulations start to affect the market. At the moment, these countries keep being ‘Bitcoin Friendly’ and the tendency didn’t get modified.