The world of cryptocurrencies is constantly evolving, and so are the regulations and policies of different countries. While some nations have imposed strict bans or restrictions on crypto activities, others have embraced the innovation and potential of digital assets. In this post, I will list 22 of the most crypto-friendly countries in 2023, based on their regulatory environment, taxation, and adoption.
Switzerland is a global leader in finance and innovation, and it has also become a hub for blockchain and crypto companies. The Swiss city of Zug, nicknamed “Crypto Valley”, hosts many prominent crypto firms, such as Ethereum Foundation, Cardano Foundation, Tezos Foundation, and more. Switzerland has a favorable regulatory environment for cryptocurrencies, with clear and supportive guidelines for initial coin offerings (ICOs) and token classifications. The country also offers low or no taxes on crypto profits for individuals and businesses.
Malta is another small European nation that has earned the reputation of being a “Blockchain Island”. The island nation has attracted some of the biggest names in the crypto industry, such as Binance, OKX, BitBay, and more, due to its progressive and comprehensive crypto regulations. Malta has enacted three laws that provide legal certainty and protection for crypto businesses and investors: the Virtual Financial Assets Act, the Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Act, and the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act. Malta also does not impose any capital gains tax on crypto transactions.
Estonia is a Baltic country that has embraced technology and innovation. The country is known for its e-government services, such as e-residency, e-voting, e-health, and more. Estonia is also applying its digital-first approach to the cryptocurrency sector, by offering a licensing system for crypto exchanges and wallet service providers. Estonia has a low corporate tax rate of 20%, which is only payable on distributed profits. Additionally, Estonia does not levy any capital gains tax on the sale of digital assets.
Singapore is a global financial center and a leading fintech hub in Asia. The city-state has also become a hotspot for crypto businesses and investors, due to its supportive and pragmatic regulatory framework. Singapore has introduced the Payment Services Act, which regulates crypto service providers under the supervision of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The act also provides a clear distinction between payment tokens (such as Bitcoin), utility tokens (such as Ether), and security tokens (such as tokenized shares). Singapore also does not tax crypto profits for individuals, unless they are derived from trading activities.
Japan is one of the most advanced and mature markets for cryptocurrencies in the world. The country has recognized Bitcoin as a legal form of payment since 2017, and has implemented strict but clear regulations for crypto exchanges under the Financial Services Agency (FSA). Japan has also established a self-regulatory body called the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA), which sets standards and best practices for the industry. Japan imposes income tax on crypto profits for individuals, ranging from 15% to 55%, depending on the amount.
Canada is another North American country that has a friendly attitude towards cryptocurrencies. The country has a well-developed crypto ecosystem, with many local exchanges, start-ups, and communities. Canada has also introduced regulations for crypto businesses under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA), which requires them to register with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) and comply with anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CTF) rules. Canada taxes crypto profits as either income or capital gains, depending on the nature and frequency of the transactions.
7. South Korea
South Korea is one of the most active and enthusiastic countries for cryptocurrency trading and adoption in the world. The country has a large number of crypto exchanges, users, and merchants that accept digital currencies as payment. South Korea has also legalized and regulated crypto activities under the Act on Reporting and Use of Specific Financial Transaction Information, which requires crypto service providers to register with the Financial Services Commission (FSC) and partner with local banks to offer real-name accounts to their customers. South Korea taxes crypto profits as income at a flat rate of 20%.
Lithuania is a small Baltic country that has emerged as a leading fintech hub in Europe. The country has attracted many foreign crypto companies, such as Revolut, Wirex, Bitstamp, and more, due to its favorable regulatory environment and incentives. Lithuania has issued guidelines for ICOs and token classifications under the Bank of Lithuania (BoL), which oversees the crypto sector. The country also offers tax exemptions for crypto transactions that do not involve fiat currencies.
Portugal is another European country that has a positive stance on cryptocurrencies. The country has created a welcoming environment for crypto users and investors, by exempting them from paying any taxes on crypto profits. Portugal’s tax authority, the Autoridade Tributária e Aduaneira (AT), has clarified that crypto transactions are not subject to value-added tax (VAT) or personal income tax. However, crypto businesses are still subject to corporate tax and VAT on their services.
10. The Bahamas
The Bahamas is a Caribbean island nation that has become a pioneer in launching its own central bank digital currency (CBDC), called the Sand Dollar. The Sand Dollar is a digital version of the Bahamian dollar, which can be used for peer-to-peer transactions, online payments, and cross-border remittances. The Bahamas has also introduced regulations for crypto service providers under the Payment Systems and Services Act, which requires them to obtain a license from the Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) and comply with AML and CTF rules. The Bahamas does not impose any income tax or capital gains tax on individuals or businesses.
Germany is one of the largest and most influential economies in Europe and the world. The country has also shown a progressive and supportive attitude towards cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Germany has recognized Bitcoin as a legal form of payment since 2013, and has regulated crypto service providers under the Banking Act, which requires them to obtain a license from the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) and comply with AML and CTF rules. Germany also offers a tax exemption for crypto transactions that are held for more than one year.
Slovenia is a small Central European country that has a vibrant and innovative crypto community. The country hosts many crypto events, projects, and initiatives, such as the Bitcoin City, which is a shopping mall that accepts Bitcoin as payment. Slovenia has also adopted a friendly and flexible regulatory approach for cryptocurrencies, by allowing them to operate without any specific licenses or permits. However, crypto profits are subject to income tax or capital gains tax, depending on the type and frequency of the transactions.
The Netherlands is another European country that has a strong and active crypto scene. The country has many crypto exchanges, start-ups, and organizations, such as Bitonic, BitPay, Bitfury, and the Bitcoin Foundation. The Netherlands has also adopted a self-regulatory model for crypto service providers, by requiring them to register with the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) and adhere to AML and CTF rules. The Netherlands does not tax crypto profits for individuals, unless they are derived from trading activities.
Georgia is a former Soviet republic that has become one of the leading countries in cryptocurrency mining in the world. The country has abundant and cheap electricity, which attracts many local and foreign miners to set up their operations there. Georgia has also introduced favorable regulations for crypto businesses, by exempting them from paying any taxes on their income or profits. However, individuals are still subject to income tax on their crypto earnings.
Luxembourg is a small landlocked country in Western Europe that has a high standard of living and a strong financial sector. The country has also been supportive of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, by granting legal status to Bitcoin as a form of payment in 2016, and by regulating crypto service providers under the Law on Payment Services Providers, which requires them to obtain a license from the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) and comply with AML and CTF rules. Luxembourg also taxes crypto profits as income at progressive rates.
Argentina is a South American country that has experienced economic instability and currency devaluation for many years. As a result, many Argentinians have turned to cryptocurrencies as a hedge against inflation and capital controls. Argentina has also become a hotspot for crypto innovation and adoption, with many local exchanges, start-ups, and projects, such as Ripio, Bitso, RSK, Decentraland, and more. Argentina does not have any specific regulations for cryptocurrencies, but they are subject to income tax or capital gains tax depending on the nature of the transactions.
Cyprus is an island nation in the Mediterranean Sea that has a history of financial crises and bailouts. The country has also been one of the early adopters of cryptocurrencies in Europe, with many local businesses accepting Bitcoin as payment since 2013. Cyprus has also established itself as a hub for blockchain education and research, by hosting the University of Nicosia (UNIC), which offers the world’s first master’s degree in digital currency. Cyprus does not have any specific regulations for cryptocurrencies, but they are subject to income tax or capital gains tax depending on the type of transaction.
Taiwan is another crypto-friendly country in Asia, as it has a progressive and open-minded approach to crypto regulation and innovation. Taiwan does not impose any specific taxes or restrictions on crypto transactions, making it a favorable environment for traders and investors. Crypto businesses are also allowed to operate freely in Taiwan, as long as they comply with existing laws on AML/CTF and consumer protection. Taiwan is also home to many crypto influencers, such as Justin Sun of Tron, Changpeng Zhao of Binance and Arthur Hayes of BitMEX, as well as projects such as IOTA, VeChain and Kusama.
Indonesia is the largest economy and the most populous country in Southeast Asia, with more than 270 million people. Indonesia has a young and tech-savvy population, who are increasingly adopting crypto as a way to access the global digital economy. Indonesia has legalized crypto as a commodity that can be traded on licensed platforms, but has banned its use as a payment method. Indonesia also imposes a 10% VAT on crypto transactions, which could deter some users and investors.
The Philippines is an archipelagic country with more than 7,000 islands and 110 million people. The Philippines has a large remittance market, as many of its citizens work overseas and send money back home. Crypto offers a cheaper and faster way to transfer money across borders, which has attracted many Filipinos to use it. The Philippines has a progressive and pragmatic approach to crypto regulation, allowing its use as a payment method and issuing licenses to crypto exchanges and service providers. The Philippines also has a vibrant crypto community, with many events, meetups and initiatives taking place there.
21. Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a major financial hub and a gateway to mainland China. The city has a relatively liberal and open attitude towards crypto, allowing its residents to freely trade and use digital assets without imposing taxes or restrictions. Hong Kong also has a thriving crypto scene, with many exchanges, funds, media outlets and events based there. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is currently approaching the crypto industry from three dimensions: stablecoins that can be used for payments, investor protection, and how authorized institutions deal with digital assets. The HKMA plans to adopt a so-called “same risk, same regulation” approach to crypto.
Turkey is another country that has shown a high level of interest and adoption of crypto in recent years. Turkey has one of the highest rates of inflation in the world, which has eroded the value and trust in its national currency, the lira. As a result, many Turks have turned to crypto as an alternative store of value and medium of exchange. Turkey does not have any specific laws or regulations for crypto, but treats it as an asset that is subject to capital gains tax. Turkey also has a growing number of crypto service providers and platforms that cater to its local market.
In conclusion, the cryptocurrency landscape in 2023 is a dynamic and rapidly evolving space, with various countries positioning themselves as crypto-friendly destinations. From the innovative and regulation-savvy Switzerland to the progressive Malta and Estonia, and the bustling crypto scenes in Singapore, Japan, Canada, and South Korea, the global crypto map is expanding.
Each of these 22 crypto-friendly countries offers unique advantages for cryptocurrency enthusiasts, investors, and businesses. Whether it’s clear regulatory frameworks, low taxation on crypto profits, or a supportive ecosystem for blockchain technology, these nations are paving the way for the future of finance.
As the world continues to adapt to the ever-changing crypto landscape, it’s essential for individuals and businesses to stay informed about the latest developments and opportunities in these crypto-friendly jurisdictions. The choices made today can significantly impact the future of digital assets and financial innovation worldwide.
Anndy Lian is an early blockchain adopter and experienced serial entrepreneur who is known for his work in the government sector. He is a best selling book author- “NFT: From Zero to Hero” and “Blockchain Revolution 2030”.
Currently, he is appointed as the Chief Digital Advisor at Mongolia Productivity Organization, championing national digitization. Prior to his current appointments, he was the Chairman of BigONE Exchange, a global top 30 ranked crypto spot exchange and was also the Advisory Board Member for Hyundai DAC, the blockchain arm of South Korea’s largest car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group. Lian played a pivotal role as the Blockchain Advisor for Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an intergovernmental organization committed to improving productivity in the Asia-Pacific region.
An avid supporter of incubating start-ups, Anndy has also been a private investor for the past eight years. With a growth investment mindset, Anndy strategically demonstrates this in the companies he chooses to be involved with. He believes that what he is doing through blockchain technology currently will revolutionise and redefine traditional businesses. He also believes that the blockchain industry has to be “redecentralised”.