As cryptocurrency and blockchain technology both continue to grow in popularity, governments across the globe are dealing with them in interesting ways. Some recognize the potential this type of technology has and are eager to promote the growth of this new, emerging industry. Others are wary of change and have implemented or are in the process of developing harsh regulations that either entirely ban cryptocurrency or severely regulate the trade. Thankfully, the list of countries that want to encourage this type of development is growing.
Switzerland has its sights set on developing a new Crypto Valley (similar to Silicon Valley in the US) in the small town of Zug. They are doing so through financial incentives and allowing start-up companies the freedom to set up shop without complying with the typical rules and regulations surrounding the financial market. They have done this by denoting cryptocurrency as an asset rather than a type of currency, which applies different and more permissive rules to its development.
Additionally, Swiss banking experts have noted that all banking licenses for start-ups earning less than $1 million per year are set to allow them to deposit and withdraw crowdfunding donations on a much different timeline than other companies. Ambassadors and representatives from the country have long advocated for a regulatory-friendly approach to cryptocurrency and blockchain start-ups.
Next to Switzerland, Malta is the most blockchain friendly nation. This boom may have started when Binance, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, was feeling too much regulatory pressure from Japan, where it was located. Developers opted to relocate to Malta, sparking a boom in ICOs and blockchain projects in the area.
The government responded by introducing three bills aimed at making the country more crypto-friendly, including fewer regulations, less tax obligation, and a commitment to privacy. One of the more unique things about Malta is that all levels of government, including the opposition, are supportive of this type of technology, recognizing its benefits. This supportive regulatory framework was established in less than two years, which is a remarkable feat for any government action, let alone one devoted to making a country friendlier for an entire industry. This devotion to blockchain and crypto-development as drawn even more developers to the area.
Estonia is a surprising mecca of technological innovation. Skype was developed here, sparking years of interest and giving the government experience with technology start-ups and the regulatory framework needed to encourage them to thrive. In fact, Estonia’s commitment to development and early adaptation of innovative technology has made it one of the few countries where blockchain and cryptocurrency adaptation are widespread. Blockchain technology is actively used in the national healthcare system, the legal field, to promote legislative security, and in all commercial coding systems. The country also offers its technological start-ups a program called e-Residency, where entrepreneurs around the world can obtain an Estonian-issued digital identity, allowing them to conduct business in the country.
Once India’s central bank began its strict regulations on digital assets, including cryptocurrency, many firms and start-ups had to find somewhere else to go. Singapore was an attractive alternative, is it has a reliable infrastructure, relatively stable political system, and an atmosphere that encourages businesses of all types to thrive.
The country responded by enacting legislation intended to encourage cryptocurrency to thrive in the area. In fact, it is one of the last areas on earth where you can still find unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges. Now it is widely considered to be the blockchain hub of the world, and a key site for innovation and development.
United Arab Emirates
Dubai has its sights on being the cryptocurrency capital of the world and has been taking impressive steps to do so. At the moment, it is possible to make a series of purchases using Bitcoin, including cars, hotel rooms, and real estate. By 2020, Dubai hopes to have the first blockchain-powered government on earth and even has its own crypto-coin.
As cryptocurrency becomes more globally recognized and accepted, you can expect to see a number of countries step up to become global players. Keep an eye on the ones listed here, as they have already taken the first steps to become early adopters of the next wave of currency.