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The cryptocurrency space has two opinionated and well defined groups—believers and nonbelievers. To date, there has been little middle ground. However, this is quickly changing. Indeed, financial services firms are seeing increasing demand from their customers for access to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency-related products, and the capital markets also are confronting a broad set of crypto-related developments. As the space continues to develop, other organizations are exploring whether to get involved, and where to begin.

Given the dynamic nature of the market, the emerging legal and regulatory climate, and the sheer volatility of crypto assets, it can be a daunting task to define the space or even understand the strategic rationale of introducing a cryptocurrency into an organization. This is especially true for directors and executives who may not be well versed in cryptocurrencies, their limitations, or even the underlying technology—not to mention the regulatory, risk, accounting, data security, and tax considerations that arise when dealing with a new asset class or service offering.


  1. What are the realistic use cases for our organization?
  2. Are there new cryptocurrency-driven offerings that we could provide?
  3. How will extreme changes in valuations or volumes (5x-10x) impact the strategy?
  4. Does management have an effective system in place to model, manage, and balance risks and opportunity cost?
  5. Is internal audit equipped to offer independent assurance of the technology, policies, and controls?
  6. What are the legal and regulatory guidelines, and how will the organization monitor emerging regulatory considerations?
  7. Has management given proper consideration to the global nature of cryptocurrencies?
  8. Is management aware of the tax framework and implications?
  9. Is the company prepared for unforeseen exposure to cryptocurrencies?
  10. Has management considered the technology and security concerns for cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrency Regulations

As cryptocurrencies spread across the globe, so too do the regulations put in place to try and govern them. The landscape is constantly evolving and keeping up to date with the rules in different territories isn’t easy. To help you navigate the various legislative positions towards cryptocurrencies, and the activities associated with them, we’ve put together this guide. Learn how different nations approach coin and exchange regulation and if they have any upcoming legislation which could alter their approach to cryptocurrencies.

United States

Cryptocurrencies: Not considered legal tender.
Cryptocurrency exchanges: The legal and regulatory framework varies by state. It’s hard to find a consistent legal approach to cryptocurrencies in the United States. Laws governing exchanges vary by state, and federal authorities actually differ in their definition of the term “cryptocurrency.” The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) doesn’t consider cryptocurrencies to be legal tender but since 2013 has considered exchanges as money transmitters (subject to their jurisdiction) on the basis that tokens are “other value that substitutes for currency.” The IRS, by contrast, regards cryptocurrencies as property – and has issued tax guidance accordingly.

Cryptocurrency exchange regulations in the United States are also in an uncertain legal territory, and several of the federal regulators claim jurisdiction.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has indicated that it considers cryptocurrencies to be securities: in March 2018, it stated that it was looking to apply securities laws comprehensively for digital wallets and exchanges. By contrast, The Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has adopted a friendlier, “do no harm” approach, describing bitcoin as a commodity and allowing cryptocurrency derivatives to trade publicly.
FinCEN, in response to guidelines published by FATF in June 2019 that recommends exchanges gather and share information about the originators and beneficiaries of transactions (known as the “travel rule”), has clarified its stance in recent months. It considers virtual currency exchanges to be in the same category as traditional money transmitters, and as such, all regulations that apply to traditional money transmitters should apply to virtual exchanges. This includes regulations set forth in the Bank Secrecy Act, which has established its own version of the “travel rule.”

Future Regulation
The Justice Department is coordinating with the SEC and CFTC over future cryptocurrency regulations to ensure effective consumer protection and more streamlined regulatory oversight. The US Treasury has emphasized an urgent need for crypto regulations to combat global and domestic criminal activities and, in January 2018, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced a new FSOC working group to explore the increasingly crowded cryptocurrency marketplace.
Despite the heightened attention paid to virtual currencies, there’s been little concrete movement from a federal standpoint so far. Yet, with 21 bills around the use of cryptocurrencies and blockchain currently being considered by Congress, it looks like this may change as we move further into 2020.


Cryptocurrencies: Not legal tender.
Cryptocurrency exchanges: Legal, required to register with FinTRAC after June 1, 2020 Cryptocurrencies aren’t legal tender in Canada but the Canada Revenue Agency has taxed them since 2013. Canada has been fairly proactive in its treatment of cryptocurrencies: back in 2014, it brought entities dealing in virtual currencies under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, while in 2017, the British Columbia Securities Commission registered the first cryptocurrency-only investment fund.

Cryptocurrency exchange regulations in Canada are inconsistent at the provincial level, but at the federal level, the authorities treat cryptocurrencies as securities. In August 2017, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) issued a notice on the applicability of existing securities laws to cryptocurrencies, and in January 2018, the head of Canada’s Central Bank characterized them “technically” as securities.
Exchanges, however, are essentially regulated in the same way as money services businesses and are subject to due diligence and reporting obligations — a recent change set in motion by amendments to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, which were approved in July 2019. All exchanges will also need to register with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FinTRAC). These regulations are set to take effect on June 1, 2020.

Future Regulation
While regulations are constantly evolving, there are no signs of additional legislation on the horizon. Recent updates to Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act have yet to fully take effect. We suspect both the government and crypto exchanges will need some time to evaluate how these changes have affected the crypto landscape before considering additional legislation.


Cryptocurrencies: Not legal tender.
Cryptocurrency exchanges: Legal, registration with the Monetary Authority of Singapore required In Singapore, cryptocurrency exchanges and trading are legal, and the city-state has taken a friendlier position on the issue than regional neighbors. Although cryptocurrencies are not considered a legal tender, Singapore’s tax authority treats Bitcoins as “goods” and so applies Goods and Services Tax (Singapore’s version of Value Added Tax).

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has generally taken a relatively soft approach to cryptocurrency exchange regulations, applying existing legal frameworks where possible. In January 2018, however, MAS issued a press release warning the public of the risks of crypto speculation, and Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam stated that cryptocurrencies are subject to the same AML and CFT measures as traditional, fiat currencies. A year later, in 2019, the Payment Services Act 2019 (PSA) was passed, which officially brings exchanges and other cryptocurrency businesses under the regulatory authority of the MAS. This legislation took effect in January 2020.

Future Regulation
With the Payment Services Act having only recently taken effect, there will inevitably need to be an adjustment period, as crypto businesses adapt to the new legislation, which is, in many ways, aligned with FATF’s most recent recommendations. However, MAS will likely follow this legislation up with additional regulations that strive to further align its position with that of FATF.


Cryptocurrencies: Legal, treated as property.
Cryptocurrency exchanges: Legal, must register with AUSTRAC Cryptocurrencies and exchanges are legal in Australia, and the country has been progressive in its implementation of cryptocurrency regulations. In 2017, Australia’s government declared that cryptocurrencies were legal and specifically stated that Bitcoin (and cryptocurrencies that shared its characteristics) should be treated as property and subject to Capital Gains Tax (CGT). Cryptocurrencies had previously been subject to a controversial double taxation under Australia’s goods and services tax (GST) – the change in tax treatment is indicative of the Australian government’s progressive approach to the crypto issue.

In 2018, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) announced the implementation of more robust cryptocurrency exchange regulations. Those crypto regulations require exchanges operating in Australia to register with AUSTRAC, identify and verify users, maintain records, and comply with government AML/CFT reporting obligations. Unregistered exchanges are subject to criminal charges and financial penalties.
In addition, in May 2019, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) issued updated regulatory requirements for both initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrency trading.

Future Regulation
Australia has established a pattern of proactive cryptocurrency regulation, and these latest regulations illustrate the country’s continued effort to provide a clear framework for crypto businesses to operate in the coming years. However, recent revelations that have exposed serious flaws in Australia’s financial industry will undoubtedly also affect how AUSTRAC approaches compliance enforcement in the future and will likely lead to increased scrutiny and a tightening of regulatory controls across the board.


Cryptocurrencies: Legal, treated as property.
Cryptocurrency exchanges: Legal, must register with the Financial Services Agency Japan has the world’s most progressive regulatory climate for cryptocurrencies and, as of April 2017, recognizes Bitcoin and other digital currencies as legal property under the Payment Services Act. Japan is the world’s biggest market for Bitcoin and, in December 2017, the National Tax Agency ruled that gains on cryptocurrencies should be categorized as ‘miscellaneous income’ and investors taxed at rates of 15%-55%.
Recent regulations also include amendments to the Payment Services Act and the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act, which was passed in May 2019 and will take effect in April 2020. These amendments introduce the term “crypto asset,” which is to be used instead of “virtual currency,” places greater restrictions on managing users’ virtual money and more tightly regulations crypto derivatives trading.

Cryptocurrency exchange regulations in Japan are similarly progressive. Exchanges are legal in Japan, but after a series of high profile hacks, including the notorious Coincheck heist of $530 million in digital currency, crypto regulations have become an urgent national concern. Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has stepped up efforts to regulate trading and exchanges: amendments to the Payment Services Act require cryptocurrency exchanges to be registered with the FSA in order to operate – a process which can take up to six months, and which imposes stricter requirements around both cybersecurity and AML/CFT. A subsequent amendment in mid-2019 updated this requirement to include custodian services providers.

Future Regulation
Japan remains a friendly environment for cryptocurrencies, but growing AML concerns are drawing the FSA’s attention to further regulatory steps. Following talks between exchanges and the FSA, an agreement to form a self-regulatory body – the Japanese Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) – was put in place. It’s the first country to take such a step, and all exchanges are members of the association. The JVCEA provides advice to as-yet unlicensed exchanges and promotes regulatory compliance, so it’s certain to play a massive role in establishing industry best practices and ensuring compliance with the new regulations taking effect in 2020.

South Korea

Cryptocurrencies: Not legal tender.
Cryptocurrency exchanges: Legal, must register with FSS In South Korea, cryptocurrencies are not considered legal tender and exchanges, while legal, are part of a closely-monitored regulatory system. Cryptocurrency taxation in South Korea is a grey area: since they are considered neither currency nor financial assets, cryptocurrency transactions are currently tax-free. But the Ministry of Strategy and Finance has indicated that it’s considering imposing a tax on income from crypto transactions and is planning to announce a taxation framework in 2020.

Cryptocurrency exchange regulations in South Korea are strict and involve government registration and other measures overseen by the South Korean Financial Supervisory Service (FSS). Although a rumored ban never materialized, in 2017, the South Korean government prohibited the use of anonymous accounts in cryptocurrency trading, and also banned local financial institutes from hosting trades of Bitcoin Futures. In 2018, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) imposed tighter reporting obligations on banks with accounts held by crypto exchanges.

Future Regulation
In late 2019, South Korea’s National Assembly introduced a bill that re-categorizes virtual currencies as digital assets and will provide a legal framework for cryptocurrency markets. Under the bill, exchanges will need to register with the government via the Financial Services Commission’s Financial Intelligence Unit. They’ll also be expected to comply with strict AML/CFT regulations, which will bring South Korea in alignment with FATF’s anti-money laundering policies. The bill has been approved by the national policy committee and is currently under consideration by the judiciary committee.


Cryptocurrencies: Not legal tender.
Cryptocurrency exchanges: Illegal
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) banned financial institutions from handling Bitcoin transactions in 2013, and went further by banning ICOs and domestic cryptocurrency exchanges in 2017. Unsurprisingly, China does not consider cryptocurrencies to be legal tender and the country has a global reputation for harsh cryptocurrency regulations.

Although domestic cryptocurrency exchanges are under a blanket ban in China, workarounds are possible using foreign platforms and websites which China’s internet firewall doesn’t catch. Despite the near-comprehensive prohibition on crypto trading and related services, the law in China currently still permits crypto mining activities. In fact, while the government had been considering a ban on these activities as well, it reconfirmed that crypto mining will remain legal in late 2019.

Future Regulation
There’s no indication that China intends to lift or loosen its ban on cryptocurrencies anytime soon. However, recent statements by government officials endorsing blockchain technology and the continued legal status of crypto mining has led many to speculate that China intends to be a leader in that space. Indeed, while the timeline is still undefined, China’s central bank has been working on introducing an official digital currency for years, with efforts accelerating after Facebook’s announcement of its plans to introduce its own currency, Libra. The Chinese government, by way of a report published by the Institute of International Finance, has also expressed support for the implementation of a global regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies.


Cryptocurrencies: Not legal tender.
Cryptocurrency exchanges: Effectively illegal – regulations being considered
Cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in India, and while exchanges are legal, the government has made it very difficult for them to operate. Although there is currently a lack of clarity over the tax status of cryptocurrencies, the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxation has said that anyone making profits from Bitcoin will have to pay taxes on them. Other Income Tax Department sources have suggested that cryptocurrency profits should be taxed as capital gains.

Exchange Regulations.
Cryptocurrency exchange regulations in India have grown increasingly harsh. While technically legal, in April 2018 the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) banned banks and any regulated financial institutions from “dealing with or settling virtual currencies.” The sweeping regulation prohibited the trade of cryptocurrencies on domestic exchanges – and gave existing exchanges until July 6, 2018, to wind down. On March 4, 2020, however, in a landmark court decision, the country’s Supreme Court ruled the ban unconstitutional.

Future Regulations.
While there were some signs in 2017 and 2018 that India’s governments were looking at the possibility of less prohibitive cryptocurrency regulations, recent reports suggest they’ve reversed course. In July 2019, an interministerial committee recommended a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies — except for an official, digital currency that is in the works. In addition, a leaked, alleged draft bill has proposed prison time for those who “mine, generate, hold, sell, deal in, issue, transfer, dispose of or use Cryptocurrency in the territory of India.” Nevertheless, this draft bill has not made it onto the wider parliament floor yet, and there are reports that the government is revisiting the possibility of regulating cryptocurrencies instead of outright banning them.


Cryptocurrencies: Not legal tender.
Cryptocurrency exchanges: Legal, registration requirements with FCA The United Kingdom’s approach to cryptocurrency regulations has been measured. Although the UK has no specific cryptocurrency laws, cryptocurrencies are not considered legal tender and exchanges have registration requirements. HMRC has issued a brief on the tax treatment of cryptocurrencies, stating that their “unique identity” means they can’t be compared to conventional investments or payments, and their “taxability” depends on the activities and parties involved. Gains or losses on cryptocurrencies are, however, subject to capital gains tax.

Cryptocurrency exchanges in the UK need to register with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). While it doesn’t make special provisions for exchanges, FCA guidance stresses that entities engaging in activities involving crypto assets must comply with the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (MLRs). Amendments to those regulations, which were approved in 2019 and came into force in January 2020, incorporate both the latest guidelines set forth via FATF and the EU’s 5AMLD.

Future Regulations.
While the UK officially left the EU in January 2020, the country is still subject to the EU’s rules and regulations during the 11-month transition period. While Brexit is sure to impact the UK’s stance on cryptocurrency regulation, there’s no specific legislation on the horizon, and it’s still too early to tell exactly where that impact will be felt.


Cryptocurrencies: Legal, accepted as payment in some contexts
Cryptocurrency exchanges: Legal, regulated by SFTA In Switzerland cryptocurrencies and exchanges are legal, and the country has adopted a remarkably progressive stance towards cryptocurrency regulations. The Swiss Federal Tax Administration (SFTA) considers cryptocurrencies to be assets: they are subject to the Swiss wealth tax, and must be declared on annual tax returns.

Switzerland imposes a registration process on cryptocurrency exchanges – which must obtain a license from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) in order to operate. Cryptocurrency regulations in Switzerland are also in place for ICOs: in February 2018, FINMA published a set of guidelines which applied existing financial legislation to offerings across a range of areas – from banking to securities trading and collective investment schemes (depending on structure). Switzerland’s government also approved a motion in March 2019 that directed the Federal Council to adapt existing provisions to include cryptocurrencies.

Future Regulations.
Moving forward, Switzerland’s government has indicated that it will continue to work towards a regulatory environment which is friendly to cryptocurrencies. In 2016, the town of Zug, a prominent global cryptocurrency hub, introduced Bitcoin as a way of paying city fees. In January 2018, Swiss Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann stated that he was aiming to make Switzerland “the crypto-nation.” Meanwhile, the Swiss Secretary for International Finance, Jörg Gasser, has emphasized the need to promote cryptocurrencies without compromising existing financial standards. Finally, in late 2019, it was announced that the Swiss government is considering legislation that would encourage innovation in blockchain technology.

The EU

Cryptocurrencies: Legal, member-states may not introduce their own cryptocurrencies
Cryptocurrency exchanges: Regulations vary by member-state Cryptocurrencies are broadly considered legal across the bloc, but cryptocurrency exchange regulations depend on individual member states. Cryptocurrency taxation also varies, but many member-states do charge capital gains tax on cryptocurrency-derived profits – at rates of 0-50%. In 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that exchanges of traditional currency for cryptocurrency should be exempt from VAT. In January 2020, the EU’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) came into effect, and that brings cryptocurrency-fiat currency exchanges under EU’s anti-money laundering legislation. 5AMLD will require exchanges to perform KYC/CDD on customers and fulfill standard reporting requirements.

Cryptocurrency exchanges are not currently regulated at a regional level. In certain member states, exchanges will have to register with their respective regulators such as Germany’s Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), France’s Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), or Italy’s Ministry of Finance. Authorizations and licenses granted by these regulators can then “passport” exchanges, allowing them to operate under a single regime across the entire bloc.

Future Regulations.
The EU is actively exploring further cryptocurrency regulations. An EU draft document expressed concerns about the risks associated with private digital currencies. At the same time, it confirmed that the European Central Bank was considering the possibility of issuing its own digital currency. In addition, the EU’s Sixth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (6AMLD) is set to take effect in December 2020, and as a result, member-states will need to implement even more stringent controls to reduce the risk crypto assets pose. Lastly, in January 2020, the European Commission announced a public consultation initiative, seeking guidance on where and how crypto assets fit into the existing regulatory framework.


Cryptocurrencies: Not legal tender
Cryptocurrency exchanges: Legal, regulated under the VFA Act
Malta has taken a very progressive approach to cryptocurrencies, positioning itself as a global leader in crypto regulation. While cryptocurrencies are not legal tender, they are recognized by the government as “a medium of exchange, a unit of account, or a store of value.” Malta has no specific cryptocurrency tax legislation, nor is VAT currently applicable to transactions exchanging fiat currency for crypto.

Cryptocurrency exchanges are legal in Malta, and in 2018, the Maltese government introduced landmark legislation to define a new regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies and address AML/CFT concerns. The legislation comprises three separate bills, including the Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA), which set a global precedent by establishing a regulatory regime applicable to crypto exchanges, ICOs, brokers, wallet providers, advisers, and asset managers.
The VFA regulations (effective from November 2018) also introduced the Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Act which established the regime for the future registration and accountability of crypto service providers. The Malta Digital Innovation Authority was also established: going forward, the MDIA will be the government authority responsible for creating crypto policy, collaborating with other nations and organizations, and enforcing ethical standards for the use of crypto and blockchain technology.

Future Regulations.
No new legislation is currently on the horizon. But the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) indicated in its strategic plan for 2019-2021 that the country’s financial services regulator “will actively monitor and manage business-related risks pertaining to licensed virtual assets and cryptocurrency businesses” in order to better address money laundering and other financial crime risks. So additional regulations are likely forthcoming.


Cryptocurrencies: Not legal tender
Cryptocurrency exchanges: Legal, must register with the Financial Intelligence Unit
Cryptocurrency regulations in Estonia are open and innovative, especially in comparison to other EU member-states. Although not legal tender, Estonia’s government regards cryptocurrencies as “value represented in digital form.” The government classes cryptocurrencies as digital assets for tax purposes but does not subject them to VAT. In 2017, the Anti Money Laundering and Terrorism Finance Act introduced robust new regulations for crypto businesses operating in Estonia.

Exchanges are legal in Estonia but, after the 2017 AML/CFT legislation, operate under a well-defined regulatory framework which includes strict reporting and KYC rules. Under current legislation, cryptocurrency exchanges must obtain two licenses from the Financial Intelligence Unit of Estonia: the Virtual Currency Exchange Service License and the Virtual Currency Wallet Service License. In May 2019, the Estonian government passed legislation tightening licensing requirements, and in January 2020, it went further, asserting that virtual currency service providers will be treated the same as financial institutions under the Estonian Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act.

Future Regulations.
A number of crypto initiatives with potentially significant regulatory consequences have been mooted in Estonia, including a speculative government plan to introduce a national cryptocurrency known as “estcoin.” After EU criticism, Estonia’s government stepped back from the plan but continues to examine ways to use the estcoin within a government “e-residency” program.


Cryptocurrencies: Not considered legal tender
Cryptocurrency exchanges: Legal, must register with the GFSC
Gibraltar is a global leader in cryptocurrency regulation: cryptocurrency is not considered legal tender in the country but cryptocurrency exchanges are legal and operate within a well-defined regulatory framework. Gibraltar has a reputation as a low taxation environment: it does not impose capital gains or dividend tax on cryptocurrencies, and crypto exchanges are subject to a business-friendly 10% corporate income tax rate.

In January 2018, Gibraltar introduced its Digital Ledger Technology Regulatory Framework after extensive engagement with the crypto industry. Under the framework, exchanges must register with the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) and demonstrate that they are meeting the “principles” of the DLT framework, which include a strong focus on the detection and disclosure of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Future Regulations.
Gibraltar’s government is seeking to strengthen its position as a global leader by exploring further cryptocurrency regulation. In 2017, the GFSC issued a statement on the unregulated use of ICOs and suggested it will monitor their use within the DLT Framework. Similarly, the commission’s Innovate and Create Team has been established to help businesses innovate new products for the crypto-economy.


Cryptocurrencies: Not legal tender
Cryptocurrency exchanges: Legal, must register with the CSSF
There are no specific cryptocurrency regulations in Luxembourg, but the government’s legislative attitude towards them is generally progressive. Although cryptocurrencies are not legal tender, Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna has commented that, given their widespread use, cryptocurrencies should be “accepted as a means of payment for goods and services.” In August 2018, authorities issued advice on the tax treatment of cryptocurrencies which, in a business context, depends on the type of transaction involved.
While the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) issued a warning in March 2018 about the volatility of cryptocurrencies, their vulnerability to crime and the associated risks of investing in ICOs, Luxembourg’s progressive approach to crypto has continued. The CSSF acknowledged in 2017 the financial benefits of blockchain technology, and Pierre Gramegna has spoken of the “added value and efficient services” that cryptocurrencies bring. In early 2019, lawmakers passed legislation that gave transactions performed using blockchain technology the same legal status as those done using traditional methods.

Cryptocurrency exchanges in Luxembourg are regulated by the CSSF, and new crypto businesses must obtain a payments institutions license if they wish to begin trading. Licenses involve AML/CFT reporting obligations under Luxembourg’s “electronic money” statutes. The first license was granted in 2016 to Bitstamp, which trades in a range of currencies, including USD, EUR, bitcoin, and ethereum – and passports into EU member-states.

Future Regulations.
Although there are no specific legislative steps on the radar, we expect more legislation to be forthcoming, especially given that the EU’s 5AMLD directive came into force in January 2020, and 6AMLD is set to come into force later this year.

Latin America

Cryptocurrencies: Laws vary by country
Cryptocurrency exchanges: Sparse regulation, laws vary by country
In Latin America, cryptocurrency regulations run the legislative spectrum. Those countries with harsher regulations include Bolivia, which has comprehensively banned cryptocurrencies and exchanges, and Ecuador, which has issued a ban on the circulation of all cryptocurrencies apart from the government-issued “SDE” token. By contrast, in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and Chile, cryptocurrencies are commonly accepted as payment by retail outlets and merchants. For tax purposes, cryptocurrencies are often treated as assets: they are broadly subject to capital gains tax across the region, while transactions in Brazil, Argentina and Chile are also subject to income tax in some contexts.

Cryptocurrency exchange regulations in Latin America are sparse: many countries have no specific laws governing the trade of cryptocurrencies and so, beyond the scope of existing legislation, do not regulate exchanges. The lack of regulation, combined with high adoption rates, has made Latin America an attractive option for businesses looking to capitalize on the interest in virtual currencies.
Nevertheless, this has also led to friction with traditional banks in the region, and some banks in Chile took steps to close accounts of exchanges in late 2018. Subsequent court rulings have offered protection to these exchanges for the time being, but it’s clear more definitive guidelines are needed. Further, Mexico regulates exchanges to an extent: the Law to Regulate Financial Technology Companies extends anti-money laundering (AML) laws to cryptocurrencies through registration and reporting requirements.

Future Regulations.
Many Latin American countries have expressed concern about the effect of cryptocurrencies on financial stability and their money laundering risks. Beyond issuing official warnings, however, financial authorities across the region have yet to reveal plans for any significant future cryptocurrency regulations. Chile, for example, introduced legislation in April 2019 aimed at doing just that, but there has been little said about the legislation since or what it will do if passed.

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