Countries Where Bitcoin Is Banned In 2020 and Why

2008 saw bitcoin’s launch, following a whitepaper on its technology by an anonymous user called Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin became the world’s first cryptocurrency, and since then, there has been a rise of more than 10 thousand other alternative coins. Research shows that the user adoption of crypto in the US has risen to 5%, with bitcoin having a good share. 

The introduction of Bitcoin technology caused upheaval across global financial systems. Many jurisdictions didn’t understand how the new technology worked and placed bans on bitcoin and other digital currencies. As more information has arisen over the years, many countries have lifted the bans and even put regulations to oversee bitcoin use.  

Some countries, however, have stuck with the bans. Others have only recently introduced restrictions on the use of virtual currencies. Here is a complete list of countries that have banned crypto use as of 2020. 


In April 2018, the government of Pakistan announced a ban on crypto usage in the country. Pakistan said this was to curb money laundering and terrorist financing in the country.  

The government introduced licenses termed electronic money institutions regulations. The national securities exchange in Pakistan also criminalized any company or individual holding or using crypto as illegal operations.  

According to the government, all companies are supposed to adhere to government regulations by keeping their customers’ records, including ID, phone details, and other details. All digital wallet providers and companies offering ICO services are all included in the new bill. 


The central bank of Bangladesh announced a ban on all bitcoin holdings and used in the country at the end of 2017. The Central bank cited the anti-terrorist act of 2009, the money laundering act of 2012, and the FOREX regulations act of 1947 in the ban’s announcement.  

They also said that bitcoin is not authorized by any regulatory authority and could bring its citizens financial loss. The bank also urged to refrain from performing, advertising, or assisting any transactions through cryptos and other virtual currencies to avoid legal damages. 


The Central Bank of Bolivia banned the use of any virtual currencies between May and June 2014. The use of any money that is not issued by the central bank was criminalized. 

The central bank termed cryptocurrency as a threat to the Bolivian national currency. The denomination of prices in a non authorized currency has also been banned entirely in the country.   

The reason is that crypto is scarce in supply and is not prone to inflation, unlike fiat currencies. Another reason the central bank gave was that it protected its citizens from losing their money in unstable currencies. 

Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority announced the ban on crypto and all virtual currency forms in December 2018. SAMA criminalized any action perceived to be participating in the crypto practice. 

They cited market, regulatory, and security risks as their reason for the ban. The fictitious contracts (smart contracts), transfer of monies to anonymous parties were also mentioned as the factors necessitating the ban.  


Qatar banned bitcoins use in 2018, citing high volatility and lack of regulations as its primary reason. The country said that bitcoins and any virtual currencies could fund illegal movements, criminal, terrorism. The statement also included the ease of hacking into cryptosystems as a need for the ban. 

However, recently Qatar Financial Center Regulatory Authority banned the use and transfer of virtual assets. The virtual assets include any valuable items that act as substitutes to the nationally recognized fiat currency.  


Vietnam banned cryptocurrency use in the country in 2018. The supply or any use of the bitcoin, including the coins’ issuance, is deemed illegal. No reason was cited for the ban, but many have suspected the clash between the traditional fiat system and the digital system as the primary reason. 


Macedonia uses denars for cash and non-cash payments, while banks make international payments. Bitcoins and other alternative coins are therefore illegal to possess in Macedonia. The governor of the central bank in Macedonia, at one point, called bitcoin a bubble


Crypto holding and trading in Algeria has been deemed illegal. Law enforcement agencies will severely punish any person going against these regulations. 

Author’s Note

Bitcoin is the oldest member of the digital currencies world. The virtual currency has been under so much scrutiny in its lifetime, which has led to it being banned in several countries worldwide. Most central banks following this path cite insecurity, money laundering, and terrorist financing as reasons for the ban. 

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Unlike fiat currencies, bitcoin does not have inflation problems. Some countries, therefore, see the currency as a threat to their fiat systems. Either way, bitcoin use has come a long way in the past decade, and more and more people are welcoming the digital currency. We can only hope that the countries on this list, among others, will lift their sanctions against bitcoin and other cryptos to assure global bitcoin adoption.

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