Learn which countries are the most favorable for using bitcoin as of December 2015, as well as current trends for and against its usage. Our network of expert financial advisors field questions from our community. Are bitcoin friendly country a financial advisor?
Sophisticated content for financial advisors around investment strategies, industry trends, and advisor education. The latest markets news, real time quotes, financials and more. The elimination of banks and other financial institutions as middlemen is a major selling point to users, as it has the potential to sharply reduce transaction costs while allowing virtually instantaneous payments. Objections from countries that do not allow bitcoin, or that sharply restrict its use, focus on the anonymity of transactions. The fact that bitcoin has been linked to both drug trafficking and the financing of terrorism is causing many countries, and especially the European Union, to consider sharply tightening regulations. Bitcoin, like other so-called crypto-currencies, functions outside the purview of central banks, which seek to direct economies by increasing or decreasing the amount of currency in circulation and by raising or lowering interest rates.
It will be interesting to see what impact, if any, bitcoin has on the reactions of central banks when the next financial crisis hits. The United States is arguably the most bitcoin-friendly country in the world, with the currency accepted by both major companies such as Dish Network and an increasing number of small businesses. March 2013, putting digital currency exchangers and processors under the Banking Secrecy Act by defining them as money service businesses. This means the companies must comply with a range of registration and record-keeping requirements consistent with other financial institutions. Bitcoin is lightly regulated in Canada, and the Canadian Senate recommended it remain that way. With a new Liberal government having taken office in November 2015, however, it remains to be seen if that may change.
The currency’s popularity in the country has been uneven. The first bitcoin ATM was installed in Vancouver in October 2013, allowing people to trade between Canadian dollars and bitcoin. But in 2015, two major exchanges went out of business. This was followed by the announcement that one of the country’s largest pension funds, the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, was considering making investments in bitcoin and related startup businesses. Australia has been very friendly toward bitcoin and does not have any significant restrictions on its use.