2022 was a disruptive year for crypto, but despite the market and industry turmoil surrounding cryptocurrencies, several forward-thinking countries took steps to embrace digital assets. Whether it is through legal recognition, clearer regulation or the debut of CBDCs, crypto is gradually becoming established as a legitimate financial phenomenon throughout the world.
Crypto exchange StormGain explains the cases of five countries that are entering 2023 after making significant progress in the crypto sector:
The United Kingdom
Britain can hardly be said to have had an easy 2022, losing its long-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, and cycling through two prime ministers during the aftershocks of Brexit. Throughout this turmoil, the government doggedly took steps to modernise its economy and establish clearer crypto regulations.
The UK introduced the Financial Services and Markets Bill in July 2022. The legislation clarified regulations around stablecoins and introduced the concept of Digital Settlement Assets (DSA). The bill enables the UK Treasury to regulate DSAs for a variety of financial activities, including payments, settlements, etc.
Britain also took steps to make crypto safer for users in the country with the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill, introduced in May, which grants authorities extra powers to seize illegally acquired crypto assets. It also loosened data collection requirements on crypto transfers between unhosted wallets.
The UK’s High Court of Justice also established a major legal precedent in the case of non-fungible tokens, ruling that NFTs represent “private property”. Finally, at the end of the year, Britain also made “designated crypto assets” not subject to UK tax for investments conducted by an investment manager in the country.
The Central African Republic
The Central African Republic (CAR) made history in May 2022 when it became the first African nation to legalise cryptocurrencies in financial markets. Lawmakers unanimously approved the new cryptocurrency bill that supported crypto payments in all kinds of businesses and set a framework for paying tax in cryptocurrency. Two months later, the CAR launched Sango Coin, its official CBDC. Over $1.5 million worth of Sango Coin has been sold, and the country has floated plans for allowing global investors to buy citizenship using the CBDC.
The United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates has been steadily making progress in building a crypto environment that is attractive to foreign investors. In March 2022, Dubai deployed a new regulatory framework around crypto that proposed clear international standards for governing the digital asset industry. A new body, called the Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA), was established to enforce regulations in the Emirate’s special development and free zones (except the Dubai International Financial Centre).
These positive actions were followed by the Dubai Metaverse Strategy in July 2022, which lays the groundwork for turning the Emirate into a Web3 economic powerhouse. The strategy details research and development (R&D) partnerships, venture capital incentives to entice global projects, and support for a metaverse education programme targeting users, creators and developers alike.
Other emirates in the UAE have not been slouches either when it comes to crypto. In October 2022, the Emirate of Sharjah opened Sharjahverse, a virtual replica of the emirate’s 1,000-square-mile territory that aims to drive the metaverse tourism industry. Abu Dhabi drafted recommendations for NFT trading that define NFTs as intellectual property and legalise NFT marketplaces under various trading organisations.
El Salvador has been a crypto champion since 2021, with president Nayib Bukele’s government continuing to push its vision of ‘Bitcoin bonds’ in the intervening years, although hitting several delays along the way. Most recently, economy minister Maria Luisa Hayem Brevé introduced a bill detailing plans to raise $1 billion to fund the construction of a ‘Bitcoin city’, although without a concrete follow-up to date.
El Salvador’s crypto-friendliness appears to have done wonders for its tourism industry. According to the country’s tourism minister, the sector jumped by more than 30% since advertising its support of Bitcoin (BTC) in 2021. Crypto is a legal tender in El Salvador, and 20% of businesses in the Latin American nation now accept Bitcoin as payment. El Salvador has also hosted multiple crypto conferences and invited central bank representatives from around the world to discuss the application and development of digital assets.
Cryptocurrency has been growing in popularity in the Latin American nation of Brazil, which legalised the use of crypto payments for licensed financial service providers in 2022. This regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies was one of the last acts of former president Jair Bolsonaro, and a timely one at that. A record number of Brazilian companies were recorded as holding one or more cryptocurrencies in 2022, according to the nation’s tax authorities. The Brazilian Stock Exchange also lists several financial instruments connected to cryptocurrencies.
The best access to the global crypto market
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