Is Owning Bitcoin Illegal?

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When it comes to cryptocurrencies, there is a lot of misinformation circulating on the internet. Owning Bitcoin, for example, is not illegal in most countries. That said, using Bitcoin for payments and businesses, is a different matter altogether. 

Countries Where Owning Bitcoin is Illegal

Contrary to what some people may expect, there are still a few regions where cryptocurrencies are deemed illegal. This applies as much to owning as well as the sale or purchase of Bitcoin. Most of the countries frowning upon Bitcoin are found on the same continent, which may not be too surprising. These are often countries where free speech isn’t common either, thus owning digital currency would not be in the government’s best interests.

Of the countries to note, the following regions all disallow Bitcoin. Whether these rules are effectively enforced, is a different matter altogether. It is not advised to simply “wing it”, as these rules are put in place for a reason. Additionally, it is worth noting owning Bitcoin may be legal in some of the countries listed below, but using it is not. 

Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia (banking ban), Russia (semi-banking ban) Jordan, Saudi Arabia , Iran, Bangladesh, Nepal, Taiwan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam.

In the vast majority of these countries, a banking ban is enforced. This makes it very difficult, in theory, to use a bank account to buy or sell cryptocurrencies. Mileage may vary based on one’s location, financial institution, and overall activities. However, if one resides in these countries, it is best to either steer away from Bitcoin – in an official capacity – or try to find foreign routes. 

Confiscation is Very Difficult

Even if one resides in a country where owning Bitcoin is subject to some sort of regulation, it will be complex for governments to confiscate one’s holdings. Thos is why it is pertinent for any Bitcoin enthusiast to put funds in a hardware wallet which only they can access. Storing funds in an exchange wallet or other custodial service can be subject to funds being seized.

It would not be the first time a Bitcoin wallet is seized, however. This is especially common when funds are stored on one’s computer through a software applications. Governments can seize the hardware, and thus access any and all data stored on it. This pertains to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as well, unfortunately. 

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