This map shows which countries are friendly to Bitcoin


(Bitlegal)

As public interest in Bitcoin rises, it can sometimes be hard to figure out exactly what local laws apply. Even in the United States, the regulatory structures around Bitcoin are still a matter of debate. But a recently launched Web site, BitLegal, makes it a little easier to navigate.

The site features an interactive map that uses color sorting to categorizing the legal and regulatory situation of Bitcoin -- and provides specific information about basic rights in over three dozen nations, "including every jurisdiction in which a regulatory body has issued guidance on Bitcoin or virtual currencies."

Although Bitcoin's legal status is listed as "contentious" in a number of countries in the current version of the map, only Iceland and Thailand are listed as "hostile." Iceland reportedly considers domestic purchases of bitcoins from foreign entities as capital movement outside of the country, which was banned due to capital controls imposed after the collapse of the country's banking system in 2008. The Foreign Exchange Administration and Policy Department of Thailand's central bank has decided that almost all activities involving Bitcoin are illegal due to a lack of existing applicable capital laws.

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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