Which Countries Ban Crypto?

Cryptocurrencies, operating without central authority, have drawn significant attention recently. While some nations support them with regulatory frameworks, others impose heavy restrictions or outright bans.

Bitcoin, introduced in 2009, and subsequent cryptocurrencies have been controversial due to their volatility, use in illegal transactions, and high energy consumption. Despite this, many in the developing world view crypto as a financial refuge.

As their popularity grows, so do global legal restrictions, with varying degrees of acceptance and regulation across countries.


Reasons for Banning Cryptocurrency


Several governments have chosen to ban or restrict cryptocurrency trading and usage due to a mix of economic, regulatory, and security issues. Here are some primary reasons why certain countries have opted for a cautious stance or an outright prohibition:


Association with Criminal Activities

Cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin, have a history of being linked to criminal activities. In the early days, Bitcoin was often used on illegal platforms. Authorities argue that the decentralised nature of cryptocurrencies makes it difficult to trace illegal activities such as money laundering, drug smuggling, and terrorist financing.

Despite an overall increase in crypto transactions, the percentage of crypto used in crime has decreased over the past decade. Nevertheless, many regulators still associate cryptocurrencies with criminal activities, prompting some countries to ban them.


Competition with Fiat Currencies and CBDCs

Nations may also ban cryptocurrencies to protect their fiat currencies and promote their central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

In Turkey, for example, citizens turned to stablecoins and Bitcoin as alternatives to the rapidly inflating Turkish lira. To curb this trend, Turkey’s central bank banned the use of digital assets for daily payments, aiming to preserve the value of the lira.

Additionally, countries like China and Russia view cryptocurrencies as competitors to their CBDCs. By banning crypto, these nations hope to ensure the dominance of their state-backed digital currencies.


Consumer Protection

Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile and lack the insurance protections that traditional financial assets offer. This makes them prone to scams and hacks. Some countries ban crypto to shield their citizens from these risks.

Following the collapse of Terraform Labs’ UST stablecoin, many nations introduced stricter regulations on stablecoins to enhance consumer protection. For example, the European Union proposed restrictions on algorithmic stablecoins, which are perceived as riskier due to their lack of equivalent fiat reserves.


The Importance Of Adhering To Crypto Laws


Adhering to cryptocurrency laws and regulations is crucial for individuals and businesses operating in this domain. These rules aim to promote fairness, transparency, and accountability within the crypto ecosystem. Failure to comply can result in severe penalties, including hefty fines or even criminal charges in some cases.

Regulations cover various aspects, such as anti-money laundering measures, tax obligations, consumer protection, and reporting requirements. By following these guidelines, crypto users and companies can establish trust, mitigate risks, and contribute to the overall stability and legitimacy of the industry.

Reputable crypto platforms prioritise regulatory compliance, implementing robust measures to protect user interests and maintain a secure environment for transactions and investments. Navigating the complex regulations requires diligence and a commitment to upholding the highest standards of ethical conduct.



Countries That Banned Crypto


Several countries have imposed bans or strict regulations on cryptocurrencies due to concerns over financial stability, investor protection, and potential risks of illicit activities. Here, we look at the countries that ban crypto and their reasons for doing so.



The Taliban prohibited crypto trading in August 2022.



In 2018, Algeria’s parliament passed the Financial Law, prohibiting the purchase, sale, use, and possession of crypto.



In 2017, Bangladesh Bank declared crypto assets illegal. In 2022, they reiterated their stance, stating that virtual currencies are not recognised.



The Central Bank of Bolivia banned crypto use in 2014 and reaffirmed this in 2022, prohibiting the banking sector from engaging in crypto-related transactions.



In 2021, China extended previous restrictions to ban crypto mining, outlaw transactions, and block foreign exchanges from serving Chinese citizens.



In 2022, the central bank renewed its warning against crypto due to high risks, fluctuating value, and use in financial crimes.



In 2022, Ghana’s government reiterated its 2018 ban on crypto in financial transactions while assessing blockchain technology’s role in the payment system.



The Iraqi Central Bank prohibited crypto in 2017. In 2018, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Supreme Fatwa Board ruled against the use of the OneCoin cryptocurrency.



In July 2023, Kuwait’s Capital Markets Authority banned virtual asset transactions, including crypto, as part of anti-money laundering efforts.



Since 2018, the central bank stated that crypto is unregulated and unlicensed, thus forbidding the promotion of crypto investments.



In 2018, the Central Bank of Libya declared virtual currencies illegal pending regulation, due to concerns over their use in criminal activities. In June 2023, authorities arrested 50 Chinese nationals in a crackdown on illegal mining.



The Ministry of Economy and Finance banned all crypto transactions in 2017 for violating exchange regulations. However, in January 2023, the central bank announced a draft crypto regulation bill.



In 2020, the Central Bank of Myanmar banned crypto trading, warning of imprisonment or fines for violators. In July 2023, the shadow government set up a crypto bank to disrupt the ruling military junta’s foreign currency flows.



Nepal Rastra Bank banned crypto use, exchange, and mining in 2017. In 2021, it declared crypto trading and promoting crypto as illegal. In January 2023, Nepal’s Telecommunications Authority instructed ISPs to block all crypto-related websites, apps, or online networks.


North Macedonia

The government has completely banned crypto use since 2016.


Republic of Congo

According to the IMF, the government has imposed a total ban on crypto.


Saudi Arabia

In 2017, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) banned financial institutions from crypto transactions. The government issued a warning in 2019 about unsanctioned crypto asset transactions. In 2022, SAMA hired a virtual assets lead to develop regulations.


Sierra Leone

The Bank of Sierra Leone banned two crypto companies in 2019 and announced that no businesses or financial institutions are licensed to handle crypto investments or trading.



Tunisia has strictly banned the use of crypto. Calls to decriminalise it arose after a teenager’s 2021 arrest for using crypto in an online transaction.


In summary, various countries have banned or restricted cryptocurrencies due to concerns over criminal activities, competition with national currencies, and the need for consumer protection. These measures reflect each nation’s unique regulatory and economic priorities, aiming to ensure financial stability and security.

Understanding these reasons can help individuals and businesses navigate the complex market of global cryptocurrency regulations, promoting safer and more compliant participation in the digital asset market.