Cryptocurrencies, once obscure and primarily associated with financing illegal activities, have become mainstream. Cryptocurrencies are a type of virtual currency that uses cryptographic algorithms to validate and secure transactions. The transactions are digitally recorded on a distributed ledger, such as a blockchain. As more and more people invest in and trade cryptocurrencies, governments around the world are taking note. Whereas El Salvador adopted Bitcoin as legal tender in September 2021, other governments, such as China, are prohibiting private cryptocurrencies altogether. India recently decided against awarding legal tender status to Bitcoin and is reportedly working on a Cabinet note on regulating an official central bank digital currency (CBDC), while banning private cryptocurrencies.
The Global Legal Research Directorate (GLRD) of the Law Library of Congress recently updated a more comprehensive 2018 Law Library of Congress report on the regulation of cryptocurrencies around the world. The update adds the United States to the surveyed jurisdictions. We are excited to share with you this research, Regulation of Cryptocurrency Around the World: November 2021 Update. The report consists of a jurisdictional table with citations and two maps that visually represent findings from the table. It focuses on two topics. First, the legal status of cryptocurrencies, meaning whether a country either explicitly or implicitly bans cryptocurrencies. Prohibiting banks and other financial institutions from dealing in cryptocurrencies or offering services to individuals/businesses dealing in cryptocurrencies or banning cryptocurrency exchanges are examples of implicit bans. Second, the table shows the regulatory framework surrounding cryptocurrencies, in particular the application of tax laws and anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism laws (AML/CFT laws) to cryptocurrencies.
We invite you to review the information provided in our report. You can also browse additional reports from the Law Library on other topics. To receive alerts when new reports are published, you can subscribe to email updates and the RSS feed for Law Library Reports (click the “subscribe” button on the Law Library’s website). The Law Library has also published various articles related to cryptocurrencies in the Global Legal Monitor.
Subscribe to In Custodia Legis – it’s free! – to receive interesting posts drawn from the Law Library of Congress’s vast collections and our staff’s expertise in U.S., foreign, and international law.