While crypto is yet to fulfill its potential, it has undeniably changed the world. Because of crypto, people now have fundamentally different ways of making payments, saving money, and investing funds.
Today, the global crypto market cap is around 800 billion dollars. While that’s a far cry from the 2 trillion dollars it used to be, it’s a sign that the ecosystem has grown significantly.
However, not every country has looked kindly at the innovations of crypto. Certain countries, like China, have been decidedly anti-crypto. They’ve outlawed initial coin offerings and once even placed a ban on exchanges in the country. Despite these monumental setbacks, the crypto ecosystem has continued to grow and expand.
While some countries have worked to stifle the growth of crypto, others have accelerated its spread. If you are looking for the best crypto environments to save, use, and invest in, here’s a list of the top ten countries to spend crypto.
1. El Salvador
El Salvador is simply peerless when it comes to being an enabling environment for crypto. And that’s due to none other than the enigmatic president of the country, Nayib Bukele.
Before Bukele took office, the country had nothing to do with Bitcoin one way or another. However, when Bukele became the 43rd president of the nation in 2019, BTC quickly became a matter of national interest.
Bukele moved to institute a national policy of Bitcoin purchases just two years after becoming president. In 2021, the country announced that it had bought 400 Bitc0ins and would continue to buy them as long as possible.
Bukele also made Bitcoin a legal tender, which made El Salvador the first country to adopt Bitcoin as a currency that same year. Afterward, El Salvador created and launched its own cryptocurrency wallet called Chivo. This was to ensure that people could spend and use Bitcoin safely. The policy was so popular in El Salvador that internet servers crashed because they were overwhelmed with user registrations for the Chivo app.
As 2021 came to an end, president Bukele announced exciting plans to build a Bitcoin city in the southeastern province of La Union. The city would use geothermal energy to power Bitcoin mining and would be self-sufficient.
There’s simply no country on earth that supports cryptocurrency as much as El Salvador. If you’re looking for a crypto-friendly country to visit, it should top your list.
Vanuatu, a small island state in the Pacific, is one of the most crypto-friendly countries in the world.
Vanuatu is one of the very few countries that offer citizenship in return for investment. This means that wealthy patrons who invest in the country can be bestowed with the nation’s citizenship. However, said patrons don’t invest in Vanuatu because of its citizenship— instead, they do so because of the perks a Vanuatu passport offers.
Holders of a Vanuatu passport get visa-free access to 96 countries, including the UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Russia. And the best thing is that you can make this investment through crypto. Vanuatu is one of the few countries that allow people to purchase their citizenship via crypto.
Asides from that, Vanuatu commissioned the construction of a crypto paradise called Satoshi Island on its territory. Vanuatu believes Satoshi Island is a suitable attraction to bring hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of crypto millionaires to its shores.
Malta is probably one of the most important countries regarding crypto. The island isn’t just crypto-friendly; its existence is essential to the continued growth of crypto. The reason is simple; Malta is a part of the European Union, and exchanges based there can operate anywhere in the EU.
This means that the country is of strategic importance to crypto. Binance, the most important crypto exchange in the world, is situated in Malta. It’s also host to dozens of exchanges. Malta has also taken steps to attract crypto businesses and users. There are plans to create a digital Island in the country, which has led to the country attracting billions in crypto investments yearly.
In 2018, seven southern European nations came together to sign a declaration calling for help in the promotion of Distributed Ledger Technology’s use in the region. In other words, these countries wanted increased investment in blockchain technology.
Cyprus was one of the countries that signed this declaration, and the country argued that blockchain technology could be a game changer for its economy. Since that declaration, Cyprus has followed through and built a robust and fertile environment for crypto projects and transactions. The country has been so dedicated to cultivating a fertile environment for crypto that it built a blockchain innovation hub.
While Cyprus may not be purchasing Bitcoin itself, it has shown incredible dedication to supporting blockchain projects no matter what.
Bermuda is yet another small island nation that has built a safe and enabling environment for cryptocurrencies. The country signed the Digital Asset Business Act in 2018, providing a clear and concise framework for people to purchase, invest and sell cryptocurrencies. It created regulatory oversight and, by doing so, expanded the scope and reach of crypto.
Asides from that, Bermuda is crypto tax-free. This means it doesn’t tax crypto capital gains, making it very attractive to institutional investors. In 2020, the country went even further and created the Hashdex Nasdaq Crypto ETF, which is one of the first Bitcoin exchange funds.
Portugal is the first large country on this list, and for good reason. While no law makes crypto a legal tender in Portugal, the country views cryptocurrencies as payment vehicles. Hence, cryptocurrencies are exempt from VAT.
Portugal uses the euro as a currency, but you can get paid in crypto or for items with crypto visa cards. The Portuguese government also allows employers to pay employees in crypto, which few European nations permit.
It’s difficult to talk about the institutional adoption of crypto in Europe without talking about Switzerland. In 2018, Switzerland was one of the first countries to allow crypto companies to open business accounts. This encouraged the legitimate use of crypto and discouraged fraud.
Today, Switzerland classifies crypto as an asset, making it legal to own and use. There are no oppressive laws controlling crypto users, and the financial services in the country provide enough support for crypto projects.
8. Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s relationship with cryptocurrency is somewhat ironic. The country is a Special Administrative Region of China, which means it’s not entirely independent from the mainland.
Despite its clear dependence on China, Hong Kong has very crypto-friendly policies. This is in direct opposition to the anti-crypto stance that China has. Hong Kong has decided to pursue its friendly crypto policies regardless of China’s position and is now host to many crypto projects.
Bitcoin is exempt from both VAT and capital gains taxes in Hong Kong. However, income taxes still apply to crypto businesses. Additionally, crypto is categorized as a virtual commodity in Hong Kong. The country has also outlined policy plans that it hopes will make it an international cryptocurrency hub.
Japan has as much experience with crypto regulations as any country. After all, Mt. Gox, the first significant Bitcoin exchange to both exist and pack up, was in Japan. Asides from that, many believe that Satoshi Nakamoto was a Japanese man.
In 2016, the Japanese cabinet officially recognized Bitcoin as real money. This means that it can be used to pay for goods and services. This, of course, largely depends on the person receiving the payment. There is no legal obligation for it to be viewed as legal tender by the public.
Japan also has a virtual currency act that governs the capital requirements and financial obligations of crypto exchanges. This helps keep the exchanges healthy and safeguards customer funds.
10. The Netherlands
The Netherlands approaches crypto with a largely hands-off approach. While the country doesn’t have any particular program to support crypto projects, it doesn’t excessively regulate it. The regulations put in place for crypto assets are the ones proposed by the Financial Action Task Force.
The policies of the FATF provide crypto with a lot of leeway, and this in itself encourages crypto innovation in the country. While one can hope that the Netherlands becomes more focused on building a crypto-friendly environment, it’s difficult to complain about the current approach.
On the Flipside
- Some of these countries on this list are only crypto-friendly because of the politicians currently in power. El Salvador, for example, may not be quite as crypto-friendly once Nayib Bukele leaves office.
Why You Should Care
The goal of crypto is to become a global payment system. The path to that future becomes extremely complicated if countries are decidedly anti-crypto. That’s why keeping track of countries accepting crypto and building crypto-friendly financial environments is essential.