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Crypto’s Red Zones: The Most Crypto-Unfriendly Countries

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Countries around the world differ considerably in their approaches and attitudes to cryptocurrency and decentralized technologies. While superpowers such as the US and Japan have generally displayed a positive attitude towards crypto, there are still many governments with ambiguous positions -Schrödinger’s regulators – who at best are taking crypto with a pinch of salt.
As you may remember, in our recent posts we have highlighted the most crypto-friendly regions and countries. Today however we’d like to talk about those countries in the other camp – the ‘crypto-naysayers’, which continue to enforce harsh bans and rigorous policies. Here’s our pick of the top crypto-skeptic countries.

Bangladesh 

Bangladesh, the most densely populated country on earth, is a real nightmare for crypto holders. Bangladesh’s authorities are really on the hunt for crypto traders.  In accordance with the country’s anti-money-laundering laws, any holder of digital currency in any form would be sent to jail.
Officials of Bangladesh’s Central Bank also stated that the use of crypto would be considered a ‘punishable offence’, to put it mildly. Specifically, anyone in Bangladesh found guilty of using Bitcoin could be sentenced to up to 12 years in jail. 

Bolivia 

Interestingly, Bolivia was the first country in the world to completely prohibit the use of “any kind of currency that is not issued and controlled by a government or an authorized entity”. Since 2014, El Banco Central de Bolivia – Bolivia’s Central Bank – has considered all cryptocurrencies to be Ponzi schemes. 
Moreover, in May 2017, the Bolivian Financial System Supervision Authority arrested 60 “crypto promoters”. These users were carrying out a kind of ‘training activity’ relating to crypto trading and investing. Following the arrest and growing hype around crypto, Bolivian authorities stated they will arrest anyone involved even in small-scale discussion groups on WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media.

Egypt 

Speaking of the legitimacy of cryptocurrencies, Egypt’s legislation is one of the hardest to follow in the world. Not only has crypto been questioned by the government, but by religious leaders too. 
Shawki Allam, the Egyptian Grand Mufti, issued an official fatwa in 2017 which banned all crypto-related operations. According to his statements, cryptocurrency carries risks of “fraudulence, lack of knowledge, and cheating”. He also compared crypto exchanges with gambling, which is forbidden in the country due to direct responsibility in financial ruin for individuals”. 
An adviser to the Grand Mufti, Magdy Ashour, endorsed Mufti’s statements, having previously stated that crypto is “used directly to fund terrorism”.  
There were glimmers of hope for the local crypto community, inspired by the Egypt’s Central Bank. To be precise, there were rumors that the bank was going to begin to permit ownership of crypto assets.However, this was nipped in the bud by deputy governor Gamal Negm. Last summer he stated the following:

Drawing the line 

The geography of crypto regulations is becoming clearer with each passing day. Some governments are afraid of losing their financial power within their nation due to the decentralization and anonymity that crypto can facilitate, which are deemed to be incompatible with governments’ interests. A number of countries are stuck in a ‘ban-by-default’ mode of thinking, and risk remaining mired in obsolete traditions. For instance, Bangladesh’s Foreign Exchange Regulation Act was enacted in 1947. Governments following similar policies should understand one thing. True development is based on two pillars, adoption and recognition – especially when it comes to the fintech sector – those which hinder either one will suffer. 

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