Which Countries Accept Crypto in 2023?

which countries accepts crypto

Most countries in the world either accept or tolerate cryptocurrency trading, with 420 million crypto users worldwide. Despite this, only one small country – El Salvador – has declared Bitcoin as a legal tender.

The growing trend of countries accepting crypto for goods and services (e.g., real estate and traveling) is impossible to ignore.

This statistics article will answer the question, “Which countries accept crypto?”. We’ll begin by looking at the legal tender status in El Salvador and get a clear picture of the global crypto legislation.

Top 5 Facts on Countries Accepting Crypto

Here are the top 5 facts you should know about countries accepting crypto:

  • The UAE, Turkey, and Switzerland accept crypto payments (Bitcoin) for real estate properties. (Statista)
  • 12 global digital travel agencies accept crypto payments for worldwide holiday planning. (Journo)
  • As of 2023, only 1 country (El Salvador) uses crypto as a legal tender with a publicly-backed Web3 wallet. (Investopedia)
  • Despite the legal tender status, only 20% of Salvadorian companies comply with the legal requirement of accepting BTC. (Reuters)
  • With 420 million crypto users worldwide, most countries accept or at least tolerate cryptocurrency trading. (Tiple-A)

Countries Offering Services for Crypto Payments

Without necessarily recognizing crypto as a legal tender, several countries allow anyone to access services by paying for them in digital coins. The list of businesses accepting crypto is growing, from buying real estate to drinking coffee.

buy real estate properties with Bitcoin
Buy real estate properties with Bitcoin

The UAE was the first-ever country to begin accepting crypto payments in the real estate sector. Since 2018, several companies have offered the opportunity to buy property with BTC.

Turkey joined the list of crypto-friendly real estate countries in 2019. This was a major event in crypto adoption if we consider that the Turkish real estate market is worth $7.16 trillion.

In the same year, Switzerland began accepting crypto payments to sell real estate properties. Since 2019, the Swiss real-life asset tokenization has become a global case study.

Moreover, in Eastern Europe, countries such as Estonia allow crypto holders to invest in real estate properties with their Bitcoin. 

If we go beyond real estate, we find that Japanese airlines accept Bitcoin to sell travel tickets. The trend began in 2017 with Peach Aviation.

Since 2017, the travel market gradually embraced crypto over the years. As of 2023, 12 global digital travel agencies accept crypto.

On a more general level, Australia has become one of the most permissive countries for crypto payments. Tourist accommodation, food, beverages, fashion, energy fuel, cars, and more are available with Bitcoin in Australia.

If we look at legal services, Vanuatu offers anyone the possibility to obtain a passport from the country in a perfectly legitimate way with a BTC expense of close to $200,000.

Source: JSTOR, Financial Times, Journo, OTR, Thompson&Stein, NomadCapitalist

El Salvador is the only country that, as of 2023, uses Bitcoin as a legal tender. However, crypto adoption in the country did not happen overnight, with many businesses still skeptical towards blockchain payments.

El Salvador BTC Purchases
El Salvador BTC Purchases.

El Salvador and the Central African Republic are the only 2 countries that have declared crypto (Bitcoin – BTC) as legal tender in their history.

The Salvadorian government adopted BTC as a legal tender in September 2021, becoming the first country to do so.

Instead, after granting BTC the legal tender status in April 2022, the Central African Republic rejected the previous law in March 2023.

El Salvador has worked to increase crypto adoption in the country by offering $30 in BTC to anyone downloading the government’s national Web3 wallet.

To better understand the reward operation, it is worth mentioning that $30 corresponds to 1% of the average yearly income in the country.

Despite all Salvadorian businesses being legally required to accept Bitcoin, only 20% of the companies in the country do so.

Before approving the legal tender status for Bitcoin, the Salvadorian government bought 40 BTC to create an initial cryptocurrency reserve.

This initial investment corresponded to a $20 million operation in 2021, entirely financed by public money.

In economic terms, the initial BTC investment required 0.7% of the Salvadorian GDP.

How much BTC does El Salvador hold?

As of 2023, El Salvador holds 2,473 BTC, ranking 2nd in the list of governments holding Bitcoin in public wallets.

El Salvador is still far behind the US on this list. Due to several FBI legal seizures, Washington holds 69,640 BTC.

Contrarily to the US, El Salvador has never sold any Bitcoin on the open market since it began accumulating BTC.

Starting from November 2022, El Salvador declared the intention to accumulate BTC on the open market on a daily basis.

Source: CNBC, Central Banking, NBER, IMF, Forbes, X

Table 1: BTC Historical Purchases by El Salvador – As Announced by Salvadorian Government (Bloomberg, X)

DateAmount of purchased BTC
09/06/2021400 BTC
09/07/2021150 BTC
09/19/2021150 BTC
10/27/2021420 BTC
11/26/2021100 BTC
12/03/2021150 BTC
12/22/202121 BTC
01/21/2022410 BTC
05/09/2022500 BTC
06/30/202280 BTC
From 11/17/2022 onward92 BTC

A Look at Countries Accepting Crypto

If we exclude direct crypto payments, we find that most countries have a permissive stance on the blockchain world. Across all continents, governments have either regulated in favor of crypto trading or avoided the matter.

global crypto users stands at 420 million
Global crypto users stand at 420 million.

With 420 million crypto users worldwide as of 2023, the Web3 sector has spread on an international scale over the years.

All the countries in North America (US, Canada, and Mexico) accept crypto for operations different from payments.

With 4.1% of the adult population holding crypto, Canada decided to limit cryptocurrency-related activity to extra-banking operations. 

The United States chose to only increase regulation for financial institutions holding crypto without limiting the trading activity for its 48 million citizens holding digital coins.

The European Union (EU) does not apply any financial transaction laws to the Web3 market, as Brussels sees the two areas as far from each other. 

However, the EU demanded that each member state adopt specific laws to protect crypto investors. As of 2023, all of the 27 countries composing the union have either approved bills or shared the central bank’s guidance on crypto-assets. 

Extra-EU countries in Europe have followed similar paths, with the United Kingdom declaring its acceptance of crypto and only banning Bitcoin ATMs in its territory.

Crypto Acceptance Beyond North America and Europe

In South America, 6 countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela) allow crypto trading for both retail and professional investors. This is mainly due to a lack of regulation on the Web3 market in the area.

Just like South America, Asian countries frequently lack regulation in the Web3 sector. In the continent, 24 countries have a permissive stance on cryptocurrencies.

In Africa, only 7 countries formally accept crypto trading (Nigeria, Tanzania, Central African Republic, Mauritius, Angola, South Africa, and Namibia).

Finally, in Oceania, 9 countries (including Australia and New Zealand) have regulated crypto by approving at least one bill dedicated to the Web3 sector.

Source: Investopedia, CBC, Loc.Gov, Normas, Bce, ECB, OECD, UNDP, UNCTAD

What Countries Have Banned Crypto?

While rare, complete crypto bans exist and influence the lives of many Web3 enthusiasts. From the popular case of China to the lesser-known events of Morocco, governments have chosen to ban crypto for various reasons.

fully banned crypto
Fully banned crypto.

As of 2023, there are 8 countries that have completely banned the use and trading of cryptocurrencies.

Among these 8 countries, 3 are in Africa, 4 in Asia, and the remaining one is in South America.

Algeria banned the purchase, sale, and possession of cryptocurrencies with its 2018 Financial Law.

Another African country that banned crypto is Egypt. In December 2017, the country issued a fatwa against the crypto world.

After a long public discussion, Morocco‘s financial authorities labeled any crypto-related activity as “against Moroccan law” in November 2018.

Asian Countries banning crypto

In Asia, the most famous crypto ban is the one approved by China in September 2021. Beijing began prohibiting Bitcoin mining in 2018, only to pass a ban legislation that mentioned all crypto-related activities.

China is not alone in its fight against crypto in Asia: following the 2022 Taliban takeover, Afghanistan banned trading in all cryptocurrencies.

Furthermore, Bangladesh approved an even harsher ban by arresting Bitcoin traders in the country and imprisoning them for up to 12 years.

Nepal is also one of the Asian countries that banned crypto, with a formal legislative act prohibiting investments and transactions in cryptocurrencies in 2022.

South America and Europe

Finally, the only country in South America that banned crypto is Bolivia. In fact, Bolivia was the first country to ban crypto on a global scale, with an act approved in 2014.

Kosovo and Venezuela deserve special mention in this matter, as they are the only countries that – as of 2023 – chose to ban exclusively crypto mining, with no limits on trading.

Kosovo chose to ban crypto mining following the energy crisis that hit the country at the beginning of 2022.

Instead, Venezuela declared crypto mining illegal in 2023 to restrict the corruption activity that investigators spotted in the sector.

Source: Loc.Gov, Bloomberg, Telegraph, Reuters, Freeman, IslamicLaw, MENABytes, China Daily

Table 2: Number of Countries that Completely Banned Crypto by Continent

ContinentNumber of countries banning crypto
Africa3
North America0
South America1
Asia4
Europe0
Oceania0

Conclusion

With the stats above, we’ve better understood the current landscape of how different governments see cryptocurrencies. The Salvadorian government is growing in popularity among crypto enthusiasts thanks to its positive approach towards the Web3 economy.

The UAE, Turkey, and Switzerland are among the first countries to begin offering real estate purchases against Bitcoin. Other countries offer more day-to-day services to crypto holders.

On the other hand, 8 countries have completely banned any crypto-related operation for multiple reasons. However, with a large share of global governments tolerating crypto trading, many believe that the Web3 economy is here to stay.  

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