Is Cryptocurrency Legal in Asia?

Is Cryptocurrency Legal in Asia?

According to there are currently no restrictions on bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies in 105 countries around the world. Most of these countries are in North America and Europe, with many governments already regulating the usage of digital currencies in these regions. Although there is much interest in cryptocurrencies within the Asia-Pacific region, not all countries have fully warmed up to the concept yet. Here is a quick look at the status of digital currencies in key Asian markets.


Recently, officials from the central bank came out with a statement saying that regulation is not required for cryptocurrencies as forms of payment. However, exchanges must register with Austrac, the country’s financial intelligence agency, and submit to requirements surrounding record preservation and customer verification.


Despite Beijing maintaining that it has no plans to ban bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it has cracked down on major cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. Last year, major exchanges such as OKCoin, Huobi, BTC China and ViaBTC were forced to suspend trading of cryptocurrencies against the yuan.


Although there are currently no regulations regarding cryptocurrencies, the government is currently studying available options while outlawing bitcoin as legal tender. However, financial institutions in the country are currently prevented from collaborating with cryptocurrency exchanges and related services – an issue currently being taken up to the Indian High Court.


Cryptocurrencies are not explicitly banned in Iran, but the central bank has forbidden other banks in the country from dealing in digital assets in a bid to prevent money laundering. The government is also experimenting with a locally developed cryptocurrency, which will be presented to banks for review in the near future. It has also been reported that the country is discussing the possibility of conducting trade with Russia using cryptocurrency to bypass impending international sanctions.


In 2017, the government officially recognized bitcoin as a form of payment, with the country generally seen as one of the more receptive to cryptocurrencies. Exchanges within Japan must also comply with anti-money laundering and know your customer regulations, with errant companies suspended or being mandated to improve measures. It also has a strong legal system in place to monitor and support the industry, resulting in investors having more confidence to put their money into cryptocurrencies.


As of now, cryptocurrencies remain in a gray area of sorts, but the country’s central bank is currently working hand-in-hand with the securities commission to develop a regulation framework. In fact, Malaysia’s central bank recently announced a list of approved reporting institutions made up of companies within the blockchain and cryptocurrency space, including Everus.

Saudi Arabia

Cryptocurrencies are not banned in the kingdom and officials have said that it is unlikely to ban them in the future. In fact, they are working on an “appropriate regulatory response” and are keeping a close eye on cryptocurrency developments.


Still in a gray area, cryptocurrencies have not been outlawed in the island-state, but the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is supposedly investigating if new laws are needed to protect investors, especially on exchanges, and have also cautioned the public against investing in cryptocurrencies in general. The central bank is also working on a regulatory framework for payments using bitcoin.

South Korea

Seoul has not recognized cryptocurrencies as legal tender, but it has been actively looking to establish a framework which prevents anonymity and money laundering. According to observers, this lent more legitimacy to the cryptocurrency market in the country. The Fair Trade Commission has ordered 12 cryptocurrency exchanges to amend their user agreements in a bid to curb illegal trades from abroad.


Currently, a royal decree has been passed to regulate cryptocurrency transactions as well as to allow taxes to be collected on them. Under the law, the Thai Security Exchange Commission is granted the power to regulate and control digital assets. Business built on cryptocurrencies must obtain approval from the Ministry of Finance and follow anti-money laundering and know your customer regulations. The decree was conceptualized to protect investors as opposed to banning cryptocurrencies, ICOs and other transactions related to digital assets.

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