Top 10 Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Countries in the World
The war over decentralized blockchain and centralized uses of technology that promote wealth inequality and authoritarian control of populations are also very real. Institutions and even Big Tech hype up “blockchain”, while “crypto” remains somewhat maligned.
Nowhere is this more prevalent in how cryptocurrency has been banned, ICOs have been outlawed and various countries have approached regulation of crypto and the move of fiat currency to the blockchain with different approaches, speeds, and legalization. Crypto and the war on crypto’s very reputation is an example of how our global economic order is monetized by the few while exploiting the many.
While cybersecurity, fraud and even crypto exchanges do get hacked, manipulation and criminal activities exist everywhere.
While it’s a complex topic, it’s always fun to wonder about which countries are the most progressive with regards to the business opportunities of cryptocurrencies, crypto exchanges and decentralized public blockchains in general. It’s hard to separate blockchain adoption with openness to cryptocurrencies in the real world. Here are my top picks.
Malta is known as “blockchain island”, and have taken legal steps to show it. Malta, for example, is the first place where a decentralized bank and stock exchange will likely take place. On July 4, 2018, that the Parliament of Malta approved a regulatory framework for blockchain technology, making Malta one of the most ‘blockchain-friendly’ countries in the world.
Japan has always been months if not years ahead of most places in Bitcoin and crypto adoption. Japan is among the largest Bitcoin traders and some of its retail stores already accept Bitcoin. According to a Nikkei report cited in a note by Masao Muraki, a global financial strategist at Deutsche Bank, around 40% of bitcoin trading in Q4 2017 was conducted in yen. It’s not by accident that the pseudonym of “Satoshi Nakamoto” is Japanese. Japan is a Bitcoin-native country unlike any other.
With such a density of cryptocurrency exchanges, South Korea is truly in a unique position. South Korea is a nexus of high education, fast internet speeds and technological innovation that few other countries can compare with. South Koreans themselves are among the most progressive with regards to cryptocurrency adoption and are increasingly holding blockchain events such as the fastly growing Korea blockchain week can attest to.
Smaller countries have a distinct advantage to adapt rapidly to a changing world, and Estonia is a perfect example with blockchain. Estonia has been making strides to encourage blockchain technology that interweaves with its economy and citizens in a remarkable way. After becoming the first country in the world to establish an e-residency, Estonia announced that it would become a leading country in blockchain innovation.
Zug in Switzerland is known as “Crypto Valley”, that’s not by accident. Switzerland is known as a crypto-friendly nation due to both its establishment of a virtual currency hub, “crypto valley,” in Zug and its status as a tax-free haven for crypto investors. DEFINITY have a team there in their attempt to marry Silicon and Crypto Valley to take on Ethereum to build a next-gen world-computer.
Singapore has an incredibly high number of successful blockchain startups many of whom are among the biggest cryptocurrencies by market cap. Its proximity to both China and Japan makes it a unique place for a blockchain startup to have its HQ and to attract top financial talent. Many top blockchain startups in Singapore achieve active partnerships with the likes of the Chinese Government.
Don’t let the crypto ban and crypto mining ban fool you, China is among the most forward-thinking countries with regards to the Government’s own adoption via its Central Bank of fiat to blockchain. China is also known for having thousands of blockchain-based startups. Banking consortiums in China are also starting to rally around blockchain. On top of this, Government is very pro blockchain and AI; and actively supports its own top cryptocurrency and smart contract platforms such as NEO, VeChain, Qtum, TRON, and others.
Denmark has an on-again/off-again relationship with cryptocurrencies. It has been arguably one of the most crypto-friendly nations worldwide, boasting a highly attractive 0% tax on cryptocurrencies, yet Denmark’s biggest banks banned trades in cryptocurrencies in late May 2018.
The United States
The United States has taken a generally positive stance toward Bitcoin, though several government agencies work to prevent or reduce Bitcoin used for illegal transactions. Prominent businesses like Dish Network (DISH), the Microsoft Store, sandwich retailer Subway, and Overstock.com (OSTK) welcome payment in Bitcoin. The digital currency has also made its way to the U.S. derivatives markets, which speaks about its increasingly legitimate presence.
The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has been issuing guidance on Bitcoin since 2013. The Treasury has defined bitcoin not as currency, but as a money services business (MSB). This places it under the Bank Secrecy Act, which requires exchanges and payment processors to adhere to certain responsibilities like reporting, registration, and record keeping. In addition, Bitcoin is categorized as property for taxation purposes by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
A draft law on digital financial assets was published by the Ministry of Finances on January 20, 2018, and introduced in the State Duma on March 20, 2018. The bill defines “mining” as activities aimed at the creation of cryptocurrency with the purpose of receiving compensation in the form of cryptocurrency.
Mining is treated as an entrepreneurial activity subject to taxation if the miner exceeds the energy consumption limits established by the government for three months in a row. As to initial coin offerings (ICO), only qualified investors are allowed to participate in them, except for cases to be defined by the Central Bank, according to news reports. Tokens and coins are classified in the bill as property and are not considered legal tender. The bill does not authorize the exchange of cryptocurrency for rubles or foreign currency. The exchange of tokens for rubles and foreign currency is allowed but only through licensed operators. The bill also provides a definition of a “smart contract.”
Hoi An, Vietnam
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