These are the World’s Top 10 Bitcoin-Friendly Countries

Imagine a country where everything new in the digital world is not only tested but implemented. Bitcoin.com is proud to present a list of the ten most Bitcoin-friendly countries in the world, where the technology is being tested and used at an increasingly rapid pace.

Also read: IBM is Experimenting with Open Blockchain & Shadowchains

World’s Top 10 Bitcoin-Friendly Countries

The countries are listed in no particular order since each nation has its own idiosyncrasies, differences in population, internet connectivity, etc. However, all of the countries listed have demonstrated their willingness, whether on behalf of the population, the government or both, to embrace Bitcoin’s innovative technology.

Check out Bitcoin.com’s video listing the world’s top Bitcoin-friendly countries below.

Estonia

Bitcoinist_E-Estonia LogoThe small Baltic nation of Estonia not only has a history of jumping on the latest technological innovation, but its tech-friendly government seems willing to implement innovations like blockchain technology for healthcare, banking services and even governance by allowing its citizens to become “e-Residents.” This service also gives Estonian citizens and businesses digital authentication. It was also one of the first to use a blockchain-based e-voting service that enables people to become shareholders of Nasdaq’s Tallinn Stock Exchange.

Well known as the birthplace of Skype, it now hosts a number of Bitcoin ATMs and startups such as Paxful, a global peer-to-peer buying and selling service for bitcoins. With one of the highest internet penetration rates in the world, Estonia is well positioned to be a place where a cryptocurrency users can certainly feel welcome.

The United States

bbcoverUnsurprisingly, the US hosts the highest number of cryptocurrency users and Bitcoin trading volumes in the world. Bolstered by Silicon Valley, which is home to numerous cryptocurrency, blockchain related startups, and the highest number of Bitcoin ATMs in the world, the US has been at the forefront of the digital currency space since the beginning.

Moreover, as a global financial superpower, many nations across the globe look to the US for guidance in relation to cryptocurrency’s legal status and regulatory clarity not only from Washington D.C., but also individual states such as California, New York, and New Hampshire, just to name a few. Therefore, the US will undoubtedly serve as the testing ground for crypto-regulation in the years ahead, as other nations look on to see which approach works best (Spoiler: it probably won’t be New York’s).

The peer-to-peer bitcoin trading service LocalBitcoins has shown incessant growth in bitcoin trading volume since 2013 — a good indicator of organic demand considering the large population and number of Bitcoin users in the country.

coin-dance-localbitcoins-USD-volume

Denmark

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK - AUGUST 25: unidentified people in open cafes of the famous Nyhavn promenade on August 25, 2010 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Nyhavn is one of the most famous landmark of Copenhagen.

Denmark is not only one of the most developed countries in the world in terms of living standards and technology, but it’s also at the forefront of the push towards eliminating cash in favor of 100% digital currency. Therefore, wide-scale adoption of digital currency is not a question of if, but when. But whether Bitcoin will be used as a means of exchange or an alternative to the central banking monopoly or both, remains to be seen.

What’s more is that the Danish Central Bank declared Bitcoin not a currency, stating that it will not regulate its use in the country. Denmark is home to a number of Bitcoin startups and exchanges such as CCEDK, which has been a prolific innovator in the crypto-space with recent releases of Bitcoin “3.0” technology and decentralized exchange.

“I think freedom goes well with responsibility, which is something we are brought up with as a vital part of all lessons in school, and with this kind of easy access to crypto, we all carry this responsibility on our shoulders to bring this kind of currency to mainstream acceptance,” CCEDK CEO Ronny Boesing told Bitcoin.com, adding:

“Denmark was recently voted being the happiest country in the world, and the open mind towards cryptocurrency is just another reason to be happy living in Denmark.”

The LocalBitcoins trading volume has also indicated gradual growth in demand, particularly after plans to eliminate cash were announced in spring 2015.

coin-dance-localbitcoins-DKK-volume

Sweden

sweden (getty images)Similar to Denmark, Sweden is also out in front in the race to eliminate cash. When factoring in the recent introduction of negative interest rates by the Swedish Riksbank, a surge in demand for bitcoins could become a reality in the not too distance future as citizens scramble to for safe haven to store their wealth.

The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen) have legitimized the fast growing industry in the country by publicly declaring Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) as a means of payment. Though certain businesses interacting with fiat (mainly exchanges) must file for a license in accordance with AML/CTF and KYC regulations.

Sweden is home to numerous Bitcoin startups including the Safello bitcoin exchange and Stockholm-based KnCMiner, a well-known mining hardware developer that has been producing cutting-edge ASIC miners since 2013. The LocalBitcoins volume has reflected continued growth in cryptocurrency demand.

coin-dance-localbitcoins-SEK-volume

South Korea

IBConfSeoulHome to a vibrant tech-industry, which includes giants such as Samsung and LG, and having one of the highest smartphone penetration and mobile payment rates in the world, it is no surprise South Korea is quickly embracing Bitcoin both as an investment and means of exchange.

Since there are no laws in the country regulating Bitcoin use, a number of related startups have sprung up as a result including Korbit, “a secure and comprehensive service to use, accept, and buy bitcoin” that also focuses on remittances and cross-border payments. People can also buy bitcoins at 7-Eleven stores across the country thanks to a campaign by South Korean bitcoin exchange platform Coinplug.

South Korea is also a regular host of Bitcoin conferences and has provided a friendly climate for the local Bitcoin community.

“Bitcoin is about tearing down artificial financial barriers around the world,” said Bitcoin investor Roger Ver. “As an economic and societal hub in Asia, Seoul is a fantastic place to have a Bitcoin conference.”

The Netherlands

Arnhem_Bitcoinstad_FB-plaatHow can a country not be called Bitcoin-friendly when it boasts its own “Bitcoin City” i.e. Arnhem with over 100 merchants? Here, a Bitcoiner could probably get everything he wants including gas, accommodation, bicycles, and even dental services.

Cryptocurrencies are currently not regulated under the Act on Financial Supervision of the Netherlands, which is why numerous startups, Bitcoin ATMs and even a Bitcoin Embassy in the heart of Amsterdam have sprung up as a result. The climate has fostered vibrant Bitcoin communities across the country that host regular meet-ups and events.

Additionally, the country’s banking sector, including ABN Amro and ING, has been increasingly looking at Bitcoin and the blockchain as a way to improve their own technology and cut costs. The Netherlands is a regular host of Bitcoin conferences and Bitcoin companies such as BitPay

Finland

teslaJust like its Scandinavian neighbors, Finland has also been on the cutting edge of technological innovation, renowned for being the home of Nokia. The Finnish Central Board of Taxes (CBT) regulator has classified Bitcoin as a financial service, exempting it and bitcoin purchases from VAT.

The country has a significant amount of Bitcoin ATMs given its sparse population including 10 in the capital of Helsinki according to coinATMradar. The country is also home to exchanges FinCCX and Bittiraha as well as the leading global P2P bitcoin exchange LocalBitcoins. In January of 2016, the most expensive bitcoin sale involving a luxury vehicle took place at the Auto-outlet Helsinki Oy of a Tesla Model S worth over € 140,000.

Canada

decentralCanada is home to numerous Bitcoin startups and ATMs, and is right on the heels of its southern neighbor as far as a Bitcoin-friendly climate is concerned. The country boasts not one but two cities in the eastern and western parts that can be deemed “Bitcoin hubs,” namely Toronto and Vancouver. Bitcoin is regulated under the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing laws in Canada following long deliberation and even testimony from Bitcoin expert Andreas Antonopoulos before the Senate of Canada.

Canada is home to a bustling cryptocurrency community and startups such as Decentral, the Vanbex Group as well as thousands of accepting merchants. Vancouver alone has over 20 Bitcoin ATMs while on September 19th, 2016, Toronto is slated to host the largest blockchain conference to date. The LocalBitcoins volume has grown consistently in the country since 2013.

coin-dance-localbitcoins-CAD-volume (1)

UK

The UK is often seen as the leading global financial hub and a center of innovation. Therefore, the presence of numerous Bitcoin and blockchain related startups, BTMs, and an active community makes it a Bitcoin-friendly environment indeed. The country also sees new payment solution as inevitable and is preparing itself for mass-scale digital currency adoption in the future, as you can already grab a pint at many local pubs for bitcoin.Bitcoin.com_Bank of England

What’s more is that the Bank of England has been closely looking at Bitcoin technology and has even requested the public to pitch ideas on how to improve its monetary system. Currently, Bitcoin is treated as “private money,” where VAT is imposed in a normal way from suppliers of any goods or services sold in exchange for bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. While profits and losses on cryptocurrencies are subject to capital gains tax, similar to the US.

UK’s Barclays bank writes:

It is becoming increasingly clear that Bitcoin is part of an even bigger story: financial institutions, including barclays are now considering how the technology underpinning digital currencies – the blockchain – could itself revolutionize finance.

UK’s LocalBitcoins volume has reflected this sentiment, showing steady growth.

coin-dance-localbitcoins-GBP-volume

Australia

While Australia’s major banks have been rather hostile towards Bitcoin, the country recently moved to remove “double taxation” on Bitcoin, which came as good news to the local community and businesses; particularly after some Bitcoin startups chose to leave the country, in light of unfavorable taxation and reported bank account freezes.Australian_btc_landscape_article_cover_bitcoin

Bitcoin, however, remains unregulated as the governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia stated in an interview that “There would be nothing to stop people in this country deciding to transact in some other currency in a shop if they wanted to. There’s no law against that, so we do have competing currencies.” Australia classifies bitcoin as property and therefore purchases made with bitcoin as barter, according to Wikipedia.

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) is currently testing distributed ledger technology, in relation to which former JP Morgan executive Blythe Masters said Australia could see “the first successful blockchain project in the world.” Moreover, the Australia Post will also consider using distributed ledger technology to store digital identities in an effort to improve service and reverse falling revenue.

The country is home to many exchanges and LocalBitcoins volume has been rising steadily.

coin-dance-localbitcoins-AUD-volume

What other Top 10 lists would you like to see? Let us know in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of coin.dance, seoulsuburban.com

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Allen is an editor and content creator at Bitcoin.com. He has a background in journalism and economics and had his Bitcoin "Aha!" moment in 2013. He has interviewed some of the most prominent experts, entrepreneurs and thought-leaders within the cryptocurrency space. Send your leads, tips or interview requests to: allen@bitcoin.com
  • xyz

    I feel germany is missing there, it´s 100% legal to use Bitcoin, a lot of btc nodes are in germany, even the german tax authority has an website about how to tax your bitcoin (25% on profits, but taxfree after 1 year holding etc)…
    Germany is also a safe heaven for data protection, has a reason the tor guys reside in berlin and not USA i guess.

    Also look into belgium and switzerland a bit more, they are bitcoin friendly too.

    • allenscott

      Totally agree, lots of exciting things happening there and Berlin is a major tech startup hub. Though on the other hand, some politicians in Germany have spoken against Bitcoin’s “anonymity” asking for increased regulation while others urge to use it as currency (https://news.bitcoin.com/munich-politician-urges-city-formally-adopt-bitcoin/). It def. deserved an honorable mention, however, thanks.

      • Otto de Voogd

        If politicians speaking against Bitcoin is a reason for a country not to be on this list, then certainly a country with actual LAWS against Bitcoin, shouldn’t be on it!!! (See my comment about Estonia.)

  • Otto de Voogd

    How can you put Estonia in place number 1, when it has laws that require meeting people in person, when exchanging a mere 1000 Euros worth of blockchain tokens!!!? It was also the ONLY country in the EU to require VAT to be paid on the full amount of Bitcoin sales until the European Court of Justice put an end to that and Estonian argued strongly (and alone) to levy VAT on the full amount (not just the service fee as the Swedish tax office did).

    The examples given for Estonia do not have much to do with true blockchain tech use (at most they use the datastructure, but not the security model nor decentralization, and without those things it’s not really a blockchain). As for the so-call “e-residency” has absolutely nothing to do with blockchain technology.

    Much like Russia, Estonia did everything in it’s power to hamper the adoption of Bitcoin, even going so far as to legally harass 2 random individuals, of which I was one. In order to remove the Estonian government’s anti-Bitcoin and anti-blockchain regulation, I’ve brought a case against them for violating EU regulation and European Human Rights, that has currently reached the Estonian Supreme Court. (See btc.ee for more details on that.)

    I’ve already spent nearly 10,000 Euros on fighting Estonia’s backward and anti-innovation legislation, and even moved out of the country because I saw that the country was hopeless for any serious Bitcoin or blockchain startup.

    I suggest you remove Estonia from this list, it has no place on it, it if should be on any list it would be number 2 in Europe after Russia on a list of countries that actively hamper Bitcoin.

    • Otto de Voogd

      I’d suggest you replace Estonia with either Switzerland or Germany, both are much more deserving to be on this list.

      • allenscott

        Thanks for sharing you experience. We will certainly take this into account when we update and revise the list in the near future. I would like to point out though, that this list was in no particular order as stated at the top.

        • Otto de Voogd

          Thanks! BTW, there will be a ruling in my Bitcoin case by the Estonian Supreme court on April 6th.

          • allenscott

            Looking forward to it. Let me know if you would like us to cover it and share the results of the case (allen@bitcoin.com). Thanks.

          • Otto de Voogd

            I’ll e-mail you my e-mail now.

  • InvestBitcoinGuide.com

    Would put Japan on the list. Government is pro Bitcoin and seems eager to provide legal grounds for startups to grow. Bitcoin ATMs, shops accepting Bitcoin, several big exchanges etc.

    • allenscott

      True, Japan has been moving up as of late. The LB volume recently spiked from almost nothing ( https://coin.dance/volume/localbitcoins/JPY ). They might be included in the next update depending on their progress.

  • Not one tropical location? Why do all the locations have seasons? Please contact me when cryptocurrency is readily accepted in a warm location – I’ll gladly move there!

    • allenscott

      Australia is pretty warm. You can also look into Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, India, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and Mexico who all have solid cryptocurrency communities.

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  • Henry Young

    No mention of Philippines ?

  • William Su

    can there be an updated list on this? Esepcially since the BTC boom in japan and SK?

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