As the regulatory picture for cryptocurrencies in the United States continues to come into focus, nations around the world are similarly grappling with the impact of crypto and the blockchain technology that underlies it.

Countries such as Thailand and the Philippines have been among the first to establish specific regulations governing initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency exchanges. Others, including Malta and South Korea, have established entities or created tax breaks to attract and support nascent blockchain companies. You can now obtain citizenship in a Caribbean nation using digital currency, while Iran and Venezuela both have national aspirations for currencies of their own. Still other countries, including India, China, and Vietnam, continue to ban or limit crypto.

The pace of change is so rapid, it can be hard to keep track. So here’s a country-by-country look at recent policy developments around the globe.

Antigua and Barbuda 
The Caribbean nation recently voted to accept bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as payment for citizenship through a program that funnels payments into a national development fund.
ICOs and cryptocurrency trading have been illegal since last year, and as recently as July government officials repeated warnings it will “crush” efforts to target Chinese investors. China also has cracked down on mining operations in autonomous regions of the country.
As part of broader efforts to digitize government services, the city in the United Arab Emirates announced plans to launch the world’s first “court of the blockchain to help verify and enforce cross-border court judgments.

The nation’s treasury and stock market regulator are developing a framework for the regulation of ICOs.


With the support of nation’s Supreme Court, India’s central bank essentially banned banks from conducting transactions in cryptocurrency in early July, but peer-to-peer networks and exchanges continue to operate.


The country announced in late July it would create its own national cryptocurrency, in part to help avoid the anticipated impact of reimposed U.S. sanctions by facilitating cross-border financial transactions.


A self-regulatory body of exchanges agreed in July to establish trading limits and limit margin trading for smaller clients.


As part of efforts to become a global blockchain hub, the nation’s parliament passed three bills to both promote and regulate the sector in late June.


The nation’s Securities and Exchange Commission in early August proposed rules governing ICOs that presume all tokens are regulated securities unless proven otherwise by the issuer. The country has also been approving cryptocurrency exchanges.


A draft law to be considered by the Duma in the fall would regulate cryptocurrency holders under existing tax laws. and possible offer tax exemptions on profits.


A government-owned technology provider launched a cross-border blockchain trading network with an emphasis on trade with China and other regional partners in July.

South Africa

The South African Treasury has proposed exempting cryptocurrency transactions from value-added tax, or VAT.

South Korea

This nation is arguably the world’s third-largest crypto market, and its lawmakers are pushing to approve comprehensive legislation in the wake of two high-profile exchange security breaches in June. The government also includes blockchain as one of a number of emerging industries that will qualify for tax breaks.


Regulators made good on ICO guidelines unveiled earlier this year by launching an investigation against an ICO issuer in July. At the same time, blockchain companies are pushing regulators to encourage banks to provide financial services to crypto-related businesses following the decision by two major banks to stop doing so.


The nation’s Securities and Exchange Commission implemented ICO licensing regulations in July. Instead of screening individual ICO applications, the SEC will evaluate filings from “portals” representing multiple token issuers.

United Kingdom

The U.K. Law Commission is proposing the creation of a legal framework for smart contracts as part of broader efforts to update British law. The U.K.’s finance minister also formed a task force to study cryptocurrencies.


Following earlier efforts to create a national cryptocurrency tied to its oil reserves, the inflation-wracked nation now is planning to create a new fiat bolivar linked to its petro cryptocurrency.


To reinforce the nation’s ban on cryptocurrencies, the central bank and trade ministry agreed in July to suspend the importing of mining equipment.


The African nation is working to develop a blockchain-based land title registry in partnership with a company owned by online retailer

Mark Toner
Mark Toner is a Washington, D.C., writer and editor. He has covered business, technology, media, education, and healthcare for a wide range of trade and industry publications.