The peer-to-peer digital currency Bitcoin made its debut in 2009 and with it ushered in a new era of cryptocurrency. While tax authorities, enforcement agencies and regulators worldwide are still debating best practices, one pertinent question: is Bitcoin legal or illegal? The answer – it depends on the location and activity of the user.
Bitcoins are not issued, endorsed, or regulated by any central bank. Instead, they are created through a computer-generated process known as mining. In addition to being a cryptocurrency unrelated to any government, Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer payment system since it does not exist in a physical form. As such, it offers a convenient way to conduct cross-border transactions with no exchange rate fees. It also allows users to remain anonymous. (Related reading The Risks Of Buying Bitcoin)
Consumers have greater ability to purchase goods and services with Bitcoin directly at online retailers, pull cash out of Bitcoin ATMs and use Bitcoin at some brick-and-mortar stores. The currency is being traded on exchanges, and virtual currency-related ventures and ICOs draw interest from across the investment spectrum. While Bitcoin appears at glance to be a well-established virtual currency system, there are still no uniform international laws that regulate Bitcoin. (For more see Stores Where You Can Buy Things With Bitcoins)Countries that Say Yes to Bitcoin
Bitcoin can be used anonymously to conduct transactions between any account holders, anywhere and anytime across the globe, which makes it attractive to criminals and terror organizations. They may use Bitcoin to buy or sell illegal goods like drugs or weapons. Most countries have not clearly determined the legality of Bitcoin, preferring instead to take a wait-and-see approach. Some countries have indirectly assented to the legal use of Bitcoin by enacting some regulatory oversight. However, Bitcoin is never legally acceptable as a substitute for a cou...