A Global Look At Crypto And ICO Regulations

Pratik Makadiya

As cryptocurrencies and ICOs have gained popularity and notoriety over the last year, governments are scrambling to form useful regulations over the new crypto-asset class. The increasing number of scams in the market has forced global policymaker hands to introduce a regulatory framework for the digital currencies space. 

At the start of the year crypto market suffered a blood bath after South Korean and Chinese officials tightened their grip on the market. However, Mark Carney, FSB Chairman and Governor of the Bank of England, eased the panic in the cryptocurrency market when he wrote a letter to G20 nations finance minister and central bankers, stating:

“The FSB's initial assessment is that crypto-assets do not pose risks to global financial stability at this time. This is in part because they are small relative to the financial system."

Mark Carney

Cryptocurrency regulations vary a lot by country, which gives a confused picture for investors. At times, the government officials contradict their own statements, or their official's cabinet member have different views. This sends a mixed message to investors, causing great volatility in the markets, as was seen when rumours broke over South Korea ‘Banning cryptos’.

Asia and Australia

Asian countries have become a major player in the digital currency market, where countries like Japan and South Korea dominate the space. Meanwhile, countries like China have banned virtual currency exchanges and ICO’s. Japan became the first country to regulate and legalise bitcoin as a form of money.

Trading exchanges are also regulated in the Philippines but the ICO space falls in a gray area. The country also has a planned legislation to increase regulation in the space. On the other hand, Taiwan is the only country that has a regulated ICO industry but the legality of crypto exchanges falls under grey area.  

Whereas in countries like India, Thailand, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore, regulations for most of the cryptocurrency activities is in middle ground. South Korea and China have completely banned ICO industry. Moreover, China and Indonesia have also banned conversion from digital currencies to fiat currencies. Below is a table that describes the stance of governments for the crypto space. 

Asia and Australia

Japan Hong Kong Taiwan Singapore Phillippines
A crypto exchanges banned, regulated or do they operate in gray area? Regulated Gray area Gray area Gray area Regulated
Are ICOs banned,regulated or do they operate in a gray area? Gray area Gray area Regulated Gray area Gray area
Are crypto payments banned? No No No No No
Are conversions from virtual currencies to fiat currencies banned? No No No No No
Is there any planned legislation to increase crypto regulation No No No No Yes
Have local regulators issued warnings about investing in ceyptocurrencies? No Yes Yes Yes Yes

 

Asia and Australia Thailand  India S.Korea China Australia
A crypto exchanges banned, regulated or do they operate in gray area? Gray area Gray area Gray area Banned Grey area
Are ICOs banned, regulated or do they operate in a gray area? Gray area Gray area Banned Banned Gray area
Are crypto payments banned? No No No Yes No
Are conversions from virtual currencies to fiat currencies banned? No No No Yes No
Is there any planned legislation to increase crypto regulation Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Have local regulators issued warnings about investing in ceyptocurrencies? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

 

Americas

ICO’s do not have any specific regulatory framework in the U.S. and Canada. The U.S., Canada, and Brazil have no plans to further tighten the crypto space.  The table below gives a better understanding of countries stance on the crypto space.

Americas U.S. Canada Brazil
A crypto exchanges banned, regulated or do they operate in gray area? Gray area Gray area Gray area
Are ICOs banned, regulated or do they operate in a gray area? Regulated Regulated Gray area
Are crypto payments banned? No No No
Are conversions from virtual currencies to fiat currencies banned? No No No
Is there any planned legislation to increase crypto regulation No No No
Have local regulators issued warnings about investing in ceyptocurrencies? Yes Yes Yes

 

Europe

Most of the major European crypto player still fall under neutral ground when it comes to the legality of trading exchanges and ICO’s. However, European regulator boards are pushing for some form of crypto regulation. Recently, France and German finance ministers proposed for a global regulation.

The German government is also cracking down on exchanges that are working illegally or without authorisation. Moreover, France and Russia are planning to introduce new legislation to tighten the space.

Europe U.K. France Germany Russia
A crypto exchanges banned, regulated or do they operate in gray area? Gray area Gray area Gray area Grey area
Are ICOs banned, regulated or do they operate in a gray area? Gray area Gray area Gray area Grey area
Are crypto payments banned? No No No No
Are conversions from virtual currencies to fiat currencies banned? No No No No
Is there any planned legislation to increase crypto regulation No Yes No Yes
Have local regulators issued warnings about investing in ceyptocurrencies? Yes Yes Yes Yes

 

Africa

African countries make an only small portion of the crypto market. However, countries that have lack of fiat currency movement and high inflation rates have adopted digital currencies.

Although when it comes to regulations in the crypto space, most countries fall in the grey area. However, Zimbabwe has banned payment in cryptocurrencies. Nigeria and South Africa have a planned legislation to tighten crypto regulation.

Africa Nigeria  South Africa Zimbabwe Kenya
A crypto exchanges banned, regulated or do they operate in gray area? Gray area Gray area Gray area Gray area
Are ICOs banned, regulated or do they operate in a gray area? Gray area Gray area Gray area Gray area
Are crypto payments banned? No No Yes No
Are conversions from virtual currencies to fiat currencies banned? No No No No
Is there any planned legislation to increase crypto regulation Yes Yes No No
Have local regulators issued warnings about investing in ceyptocurrencies? Yes Yes Yes Yes