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Global Digital Currency Regulations: Divergent Paths


Surveying Digital Currency Regulations Around the World

New research from Mercator Advisory Group reviews countries’ regulatory policies on digital currency and considers the potential effects on this new payment technology

Consumers’ fevered interest in the digital currency Bitcoin has abated considerably since spring 2014, but since then a number of countries around the world have announced new regulatory positions or indicated that regulation is imminent that directly affects the ability for consumers, businesses, or financial entities to handle and process digital currency transactions.

Authorities globally have approached regulating digital currencies with a wide spectrum of positions, from positive to neutral to negative. This divergence makes providing the technology to support digital currency transactions increasingly difficult for payment industry players interested in making digital currencies as accessible a payment option for consumers as traditional payment instruments like cash, checks, or popular electronic alternatives like debit, credit, and prepaid cards.

Mercator Advisory Group’s research note, Global Digital Currency Regulations: Divergent Paths, reviews the current state of regulations for digital currencies around the world. It provides an overview of the history of digital currencies and subsequent regulation, followed by discussion of the five types of regulation, with examples of each type around the world. The analyst considers the impact digital currency regulations that likely in the near future could have on the growth of currencies like Bitcoin.

“The global payments industry has been taken aback by the rise of the new payment technology represented by Bitcoin and other digital currencies, which at its core has the potential to radically change the paradigm in which electronic payments are handled. Understandably, the response to this paradigm-changing technology has been mixed among regulators since true understanding of the benefits and opportunities as well as the disadvantages and consequences is hard to come by” comments Tristan Hugo-Webb, Associate Director of the International Advisory Service and the author of the note.

This research note contains 10 pages and 3 exhibits.

Companies mentioned in this research note include: DigiCash, e-gold, Mt. Gox

Members of Mercator Advisory Group’s International Advisory Service have access to these notes as well as the upcoming research for the year ahead, presentations, analyst access, and other membership benefits.

 Highlights of the note include:

  • An overview of the history of digital currencies and their regulation

  • A map of digital currency regulation around the world

  • A review of the types of regulation imposed on digital currencies and specific country examples