Bitcoin is a powerful idea with a LOT of speculation driving its price through the roof.
Unfortunately, most of this speculation is completely unfounded, leading to the notion that many of the cryptocurrencies we see today are simply speculative bubbles. That being said, there are a number of core benefits surrounding the idea represented by ‘Bitcoin’, which is why there are a number of reasons you *may* wish to keep abreast of it.
This article is not only going to highlight the rising importance of cryptocurrency, but will also explain how they are being used by countries around the world to create a more compelling & attractive place to go. We’ll explore the “top 10” bitcoin friendly countries and also how you should be able to use your Bitcoin in these locations.
The Importance Of Bitcoin/Crypto…
Whilst most of the hype surrounding Bitcoin/”crypto” is mainly due to unfounded scuttlebutt circulating through loops of equally misunderstood people, the underlying reality is that the idea of a decentralized currency is actually quite appealing.
The point about Bitcoin/crypto comes in the form of digital currency – a way to use digital networks to provide a means of transaction between two or more parties.
The idea that cryptocurrencies were founded upon comes from the promise of blockchain, the underlying technology driving the system.
Blockchain is a decentralized database which basically allows ANY type of data to be stored “sequentially” in “chains”. these chains have blocks added to them, allowing users to edit, amend and insert data as they require. Whilst this might sound menial, the big difference is that the ENTIRE technology is operated on 100’s or even 1000’s of servers around the world (rather than a single central server as is the case today).
The most important component in the blockchain story is the idea of decentralized apps – pieces of software which run peer-to-peer, but utilizing the GLOBAL data stored across the many different blockchain databases out in the world. This has NEVER been possible before, and has given rise to the many cryptocurrencies which are designed to give users the ability to transact directly with other people (IE not requiring a bank or central processing system).
Whilst cryptocurrencies are currently enjoying their 15 minutes in the limelight, the real money is looking at the underlying technology which empowers them. Whilst this technology is almost never seen & heard, it’s the main driving factor behind the many cryptographic currencies we see today.
Ultimately, the most important thing you need to consider (if you are a genuine fan of Bitcoin etc) is how these “coins” can be used and where they can be used….
How Bitcoin is used around the World?
The most important thing to understand with Bitcoin is how it’s designed to be used.
Bitcoin is meant to be a “digital currency”, meaning that financial transactions can be undertaken wherever you want in the world. Because the requirement for a central processing system is removed (IE doesn’t need a bank), the idea is that you should be able to go to China and buy products just as you would in the US – all using the bitcoin protocol.
Unfortunately, this ideal is quite far from becoming a reality. However, there are a NUMBER of ways to benefit from the explosive growth of the service:
- Buying Products / Services
The base level way to make use of bitcoin is through the purchase of products or services. By dealing with retailers and other vendors directly with Bitcoin, the idea is that you can take advantage of this burgeoning ulterior economy in order to buy products and services. Whilst this has been taken up mainly by illicit operations (the WannaCry infection was aimed at earning bitcoin), more and more retailers are looking to accept the currency. Even payment processors – such as “Square” have begun building infrastructure to accept it.
- Sending Money
Next, we have the idea of sending money. This is already somewhat possible with Paypal, except for the crippling fees. Ultimately, if you ever wanted to “send” money to somebody else, the idea behind Bitcoin is that you should be able to do this by simply sending an email. The real magic is that there are absolutely NO fees associated with Bitcoin itself. Processing the currency will incur small fees (typically 1%), which is by far cheaper than the current options.
- Investing (ICO’s)
Lastly, you have the new idea of the “ICO” – whereby a new coin is created in exchange for Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency. These have become extremely risky because of the way in which they rely on the price of Bitcoin / other cryptocurrencies not holding any actual value of their own.
The point of this is to say that whilst it’s still in its infancy, the acceptance of Bitcoin is growing quite rapidly, leading to a LOT of new applications in which it can be utilized.
Top 10 Bitcoin-Friendly Countries:
Due to its decentralized nature, Bitcoin has drawn the attention of MANY “cross border” specialists who are eager to maximize the benefits to their lives by travelling overseas and using the Bitcoin infrastructure to pay for things.
Again, whilst still in its infancy, the whole premise of Bitcoin is that it can be used anywhere. As such, you’ll want to see which countries are most accepting of the new currency:
One of the most technology-inclusive countries, Japan is the origin of Bitcoin and is also the hotbed of its trading activity. Many new startups, companies and ideas have been built on top of the currency.
The country where the Internet is a basic human right – Estonia’s small and almost backwater-like status has pushed it to become a VERY early adopter of many technological trends. Bitcoin is one of them – unregulated and accessible to an increasing number of the populace, it’s quickly becoming one of the most important growth centers of the Estonian economy.
The US’s massive commercial market is always looking for ways to better the competition and see individual entities as innovative and new. One of the most obvious ways this has happened recently is with the increased adoption of “Bitcoin” in banks and retailers. Officially classified as a decentralized virtual currency in 2013, it also has some acceptance in the government.
And equally progressive country as Estonia, Denmark has not regulated the use of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies since they began to become popular in 2014. With many Bitcoin centered startup companies being headquartered in the country, it’s certainly looking to continue the trend as best as possible.
Home to the first bitcoin ATM, Sweden is famous as an early adopter of technology. The country is home to the largest number of “startups” in the world and also enjoys a hugely progressive government.
6. South Korea
With Internet cafes and restaurants dedicated to the new digital currency, S.Korea is following in the footsteps of many of the “Western” countries in its acceptance & adoption of the new currency.
7. United Kingdom
The home of commerce – London is the central financial capital of the world (even eclipsing New York) and as such it should be no surprise that the trade of digital / virtual currencies has been unregulated and has no VAT applied to them. Having said this, many of the UK’s businesses are still reticent to fully embrace the new “coins” (mainly due to the way they have been speculatively traded).
Not much has happened in Germany with regard to digital currencies, primarily because the German government has not officially revealed any position on the currency yet. This has lead to few retailers taking the currency on board as well as a lack in startups etc (especially when compared to the likes of Sweden).
Finland has made Bitcoin exempt of VAT by classifying it as a “financial service”. This means that if you wish to “trade” currencies with the Bitcoin protocol, you will be able to without owing any extra taxes.
Finally, Belarus just legalizes Cryptocurrency Payments & Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) which makes them become the most progressive country in the world in terms of Blockchain-related legislation and makes it on our list of Top Bitcoin-friendly countries 2017.