Bitcoin and digital assets have faced plenty of skepticism since their inception. In recent years, their growing popularity has caught some regulators off guard. Lawmakers in India, China, and the United States have taken a cautious, and at times hostile approach to cryptocurrencies in general and Bitcoin in particular.
However, other nations have embraced Bitcoin and tried to make it a legitimate part of their domestic economy. El Salvador is the best example of this, where Bitcoin is now legal tender. In 2022, Tonga could join the club and make BTC an official national currency too. Meanwhile, Malta has long been a hub for cryptocurrency development and accommodative regulations.
While these countries have embraced Bitcoin, their economies are far too small to have an impact on the global stage. With that in mind, here are some of the largest and most noteworthy countries that have made significant progress in BTC adoption.
Canada has quickly emerged as one of the most Bitcoin-friendly countries in the OECD. Since 2020, financial regulators in the country have approved several Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) that track the market performance of Bitcoin and Ethereum. The Toronto Stock Exchange now has more crypto-related ETFs than any other developed country in this league.
These convenient products open access to cryptocurrencies for retail investors. In fact, most of them qualify for government savings programs such as the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and Registered retirement savings plan (RRSP), which means Canadian investors can mitigate capital gains on their crypto ETF holdings.
Financial products aren’t the only reason Canada has emerged as a crypto hub. The country’s cold climate and access to renewable energy have made it an ideal destination for crypto miners. Some of the biggest Bitcoin miners in the world, such as Argo Blockchain, Hut 8 Mining, and Hive Blockchain Technologies, have set up facilities across Canada.
South Korean investors have dominated trading activity for several years. A significant portion of the local population holds cryptocurrency, with some trading platforms reporting over 8 million users. As a result, the industry has caught the attention of Korean regulators.
In 2019, South Korea introduced S-coin, its own cryptocurrency. In 2021, lawmakers amended the Act on the Reporting and Use of Specific Financial Transaction Information. These amendments tightened rules on crypto trading platforms but improved protection against money laundering and anonymous trading. By regulating the sector and bringing more transparency, South Korea has taken the lead on retail Bitcoin adoption.
Israel’s Ministry of Finance has recently introduced a law that requires investors and traders to report any digital assets worth over 200,000 new Israeli shekels (around $61,000). Coupled with anti-money laundering rules, the country’s crypto scene has become more transparent and regulated, which makes it part of the mainstream economy.
Meanwhile, Israeli entrepreneurs and developers have adopted cryptocurrencies in a big way. The country is home to several noteworthy startups, including Unbound Tech, Simplex, Celsius, and Fireblocks. “We are at the beginning of a revolution,” said a local crypto expert.