In a period of just 3 short weeks in late 2017, cryptocurrencies and their market valuation rose 50%. On the heels of massive, worldwide recognition of Bitcoin as a viable form of virtual currency, hundreds of businesses have flooded the cryptocurrency marketplace with their own offerings. This caused a dramatic spike in cryptocurrency valuation. Over the course of just 24 days from mid to late November 2017, the combined market valuation for all virtual currencies rose from $200 billion to $300 billion.
That figure means that if all cryptocurrencies were combined, they would have a greater valuation than the global banking beast that is Bank of America (BOA). It is no small wonder that millions of people outside of the cryptocurrency world are starting to get more than a little interested in this peer-to-peer, decentralized, virtual money marketplace.
One of the first questions people ask about cryptocurrencies is, “Are they legal?” The answer to that question is, “Yes, no, maybe.”
It really depends on where in the world you are. Also, in some cases, what you intend to do with your cryptocurrencies will dictate whether your jurisdiction, city, or country will allow you to exchange cryptocurrencies for goods or services. In some places, the exchange of crypto-dollars like bitcoins is widely accepted, as long as you are using these tokens as a form of payment.
In those and other locations, the trading of bitcoins as a speculative investment is frowned upon. In almost every instance, bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies do not fall under the influence of financial authorities or regulating bodies. You must understand that this could change at any time.
Whenever a massive value is found, governments are going to want to get their hands on a piece of the pie. This means powerful regulatory bodies like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States are looking hard at cryptocurrencies and trying to figure out whether they want to outlaw them, or at least regulate them and collect some kind of fee when cryptocurrency changes hands.
In China, several virtual currency exchanges have been shut down. Trade-in China and other Asian countries are not as free and open as it is in the United States. If China, the UK, the US, and other financially powerful countries begin to regulate or penalize the cryptocurrency marketplace, this could stifle growth and innovation. It would also dramatically and negatively impact the premier benefit cryptocurrencies were created for in the first place … privacy.
As a safe, decentralized trading platform, cryptocurrencies allow for anonymity and privacy. They operate on a peer-to-peer transactional basis, without the need for a third party approving and recording transactions. Currently, for the most part, in most areas of the world, you can still purchase and sell cryptocurrency legally.
However, this situation can change daily, so it is recommended you check the laws governing currencies and financial transactions in your city or country before you hop on the virtual currency bandwagon.