Crypto Regulations

Cryptocurrencies, also known as altcoins, provide digital means of exchange without any physical coins or bills. The crypto market has grown rapidly in popularity since Bitcoin’s inception in 2008. However, the more ubiquitous it becomes, the need for crypto regulations increases. We discuss the history of government action, the future of crypto regulations and more.

Crypto Brokers

#1 - eToro USA

Why We Chose eToro USA

eToro US offers 24 tradeable cryptoassets, with just a 1% buying/selling fee added to the spread. Additionally, there are 80 different coins available through the broker’s proprietary wallet service. You can also practice your crypto strategies easily by switching between live and demo mode. Crypto asset investing is highly volatile and unregulated. No consumer protection. Tax on profits may apply.

"eToro remains a top pick for traders looking for leading social investing and copy trading services. With a low deposit, zero commissions and an intuitive platform, the broker will meet the needs of newer day traders."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Coins: BTC, ETH, BCH, DASH, LTC, ETC, MIOTA, XLM, EOS, NEO, ZEC, XTZ, MKR, COMP, LINK, UNI, YFI, DOGE, AAVE, ALGO, MANA, ENJ, BAT, MATIC, FLR, SHIBxM
  • Crypto Mining: No
  • Auto Market Maker: No
  • Crypto Spread: BTC 0.75%
  • Crypto Lending: No
  • Platforms: eToro Trading Platform & CopyTrader
  • Crypto Staking: No
  • Minimum Deposit: $10
  • Regulator: SEC, FINRA

About eToro USA

eToro is a social investing platform that offers short-term and long-term trading on stocks, ETFs, options and crypto. The broker is well-known for its user-friendly community-centred platform and competitive fees. With FINRA and SIPC oversight and millions of users across the world, eToro is still one of the most respected brands in the industry. eToro securities trading is offered by eToro USA Securities, Inc.

Pros

  • Investors can access Smart Portfolios for a more hands-off approach, covering a range of sectors and markets such as renewable energy and artificial intelligence
  • A free demo account means new users and prospective day traders can try the broker risk-free
  • The online broker offers an intuitive social investment network with straightforward copy trading on cryptos

Cons

  • There's a narrower range of day trading instruments available compared to competitors, with only stocks, ETFs and cryptos
  • Average fees may cut into the profit margins of day traders
  • The proprietary terminal doesn't support trading bots and there are no additional stock market analysis tools

#2 - NinjaTrader

Why We Chose NinjaTrader

You can get exposure to micro Bitcoin futures through the CME Group’s centralized exchange, which is highly regulated by the US CFTC. Micro contracts allow you to trade a fractional size of one Bitcoin, giving you more risk control and order flexibility.

"NinjaTrader continues to meet the demands of active futures traders looking for low fees and premium analysis tools. The platform hosts top-rate charting features including hundreds of indicators and 10+ chart types."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Coins: BTC
  • Crypto Mining: No
  • Auto Market Maker: No
  • Crypto Spread: Floating
  • Crypto Lending: No
  • Platforms: NinjaTrader Desktop, Web & Mobile, eSignal
  • Crypto Staking: No
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Regulator: NFA, CFTC

About NinjaTrader

NinjaTrader is a US-headquartered and regulated brokerage that specializes in futures trading. There are three pricing plans to suit different needs and budgets, as well as ultra-low margins on popular contracts. The brand's award-winning charting software and trading platform also offers a high-degree of customization and superb technical analysis features.

Pros

  • Low fees are offered, with $50 day trading margins & commissions from $.09 per micro contract
  • Traders can get free platform access and trade simulation capabilities in the unlimited demo
  • You can get thousands of add-ons and applications from developers in 150+ countries

Cons

  • Non forex and futures trading requires signing up with partner brokers
  • There is a withdrawal fee on some funding methods
  • The premium platform tools come with an extra charge

#3 - Interactive Brokers

Why We Chose Interactive Brokers

IBKR lets you purchase and hold Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin at competitive commission rates and without needing a crypto wallet. Additionally, there is a range of other diverse assets to explore, such as crypto indices like the NYSE Bitcoin Index, as well as futures contracts like the BAKKT Bitcoin Futures.

"Interactive Brokers is one of the best brokers for advanced day traders, providing powerful charting platforms, real-time data, and customizable layouts. Its superb pricing and advanced order options also make it highly attractive for day traders, while its diverse range of equities is still among the best in the industry."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Coins: BTC, LTC, ETH, XRP
  • Crypto Mining: No
  • Auto Market Maker: No
  • Crypto Spread: 0.12%-0.18%
  • Crypto Lending: No
  • Platforms: Trader Workstation (TWS), Desktop, GlobalTrader, Mobile, Client Portal, AlgoTrader, OmniTrader, eSignal, TradingCentral
  • Crypto Staking: No
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Regulator: FCA, SEC, FINRA, CBI, CIRO, SFC, MAS, MNB

About Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is a premier brokerage for experienced traders, providing access to 150 markets in 33 countries, along with a suite of comprehensive investment services. With over 40 years of experience, this Nasdaq-listed firm adheres to stringent regulations by the SEC, FCA, CIRO, and SFC, amongst others, and is one of the most trusted brokers for trading around the globe.

Pros

  • IBKR is one of the most respected and trusted brokerages and is regulated by top-tier authorities, so you can have confidence in the integrity and security of your trading account.
  • There's a vast library of free or paid third-party research subscriptions catering to all types of traders.; plus, you can enjoy commission reimbursements from IBKR if you subscribe to Toggle AI.
  • While primarily geared towards experienced traders, IBKR has made moves to broaden its appeal in recent years, reducing its minimum deposit from $10,000 to $0.

Cons

  • You can only have one active session per account, so you can’t have your desktop program and mobile app running simultaneously, making for a sometimes frustrating trading experience.
  • IBKR provides a wide range of research tools, but their distribution across trading platforms and the web-based 'Account Management' page lacks consistency, leading to a confusing user experience.
  • Support can be slow and frustrating based on tests, so you might find it challenging to reach customer service representatives promptly or encounter delays in resolving issues.

#4 - OANDA US

Why We Chose OANDA US

You can speculate on the world’s biggest cryptos by market cap. Commissions are lower than many peers starting at 0.25%. Through the broker’s partnership with Paxos, clients can spot trade cryptocurrencies on the itBit exchange through the OANDA native platform.

"OANDA remains an excellent broker for US day traders seeking a user-friendly platform with premium analysis tools and a straightforward joining process. OANDA is also heavily regulated with a very high trust score."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Coins: BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, PAXG, LINK, UNI, AAVE
  • Crypto Mining: No
  • Auto Market Maker: No
  • Crypto Spread: $100
  • Crypto Lending: No
  • Platforms: OANDA Trade, MT4, TradingView, AutoChartist
  • Crypto Staking: No
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Regulator: NFA, CFTC

About OANDA US

OANDA is a popular brand offering exceptional execution, low deposit requirements and advanced charting and trading platform features. The top-rated brand has over 25 years of experience and is regulated by trusted agencies, including the NFA/CFTC. Around the clock support is available for short-term traders, alongside flexible contract sizes and automated trade executions.

Pros

  • There's a strong selection of 68 currency pairs for dedicated short-term forex traders
  • OANDA is a reliable, trustworthy and secure brand with authorization from tier-one regulators including the CFTC
  • Seasoned day traders can access industry-leading tools, including an MT4 premium upgrade and advanced charting provided by MotiveWave

Cons

  • There's only a small range of payment methods available, with no e-wallets supported
  • It's a shame that customer support is not available on weekends
  • The range of day trading markets is limited to forex and cryptos only

#5 - Uphold

Why We Chose Uphold

You can buy and sell 250+ crypto assets with fiat currencies or in crypto pairs using the straightforward mobile app or through Uphold's browser-based account homepage. This is significantly more than many rivals. You can also earn up to 16% APY by staking one or more out of 32 valid tokens, or send tokens to an external wallet.

"Uphold remains a top choice for crypto investors looking for a one-stop-shop solution to accessing the markets. There are over 250 tokens to buy, sell and trade through flexible platform options."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Coins: BTC, BTCO, AAVE, ALCX, DYDX, INH, XYO, API3, GHST, LSK, AUDIO, GLMR, NMR, CAKE, GODS, REQ, CHR, TRB, DAO, ROOK, XRP, ETH, BAT, ADA, ALGO, ATOM, AVAX, AXS, BCH, BAL, BTG, CSPR, COMP, CRV, DASH, DCR, DGB, DOGE, DOT, EGLD and many more
  • Crypto Mining: No
  • Auto Market Maker: No
  • Crypto Spread: Up to 1.5%
  • Crypto Lending: No
  • Platforms: Desktop Platform, Mobile App
  • Crypto Staking: Yes
  • Minimum Deposit: $0

About Uphold

Uphold is a digital asset platform offering a range of services, from crypto trading and staking to payment cards that provides rewards and easy multi-currency payments. The company was established in 2015 and has enabled $4+ billion in transactions. Uphold is now active in 180+ countries and deals in 200+ crypto and fiat currencies.

Pros

  • Uphold is 100% reserved which helps to protect client funds
  • The proprietary app is extremely easy to use with a slick design and navigation
  • Over 250 cryptos are available including major tokens like Bitcoin and Ethereum

Cons

  • The charting analysis features on the platform trail specialist exchanges
  • Uphold operates with limited regulatory oversight
  • Customer service is slow based on tests, with limited contact options

History Of Cryptos

The technical foundations of cryptocurrency were pioneered by an American cryptographer named David Chaum in 1983. He invented a cryptographic system that has a blinding algorithm, which is still used in modern web-based encryption. This algorithm provided secure exchanges and confidential transactions amongst parties, which was known as ‘blinded money’.

However, the term ‘cryptocurrency’ was first coined by Wei Dai in 1998 who published a white paper on b-money. In that year, the software engineer formulated a payment method based on a cryptographic system that had characteristics of decentralisation, but it was never fully developed.

What is crypto trading

In 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonymous person or secret identity, published a paper called ‘Bitcoin – A Peer to Peer Electronic Cash System’. Nakamoto’s motive to create Bitcoin was in response to the financial crisis of 2008. In 2009, Nakamoto made the Bitcoin software public and a group of enthusiasts began exchanging and mining Bitcoin.

In 2010, Bitcoin was valued for the first time when someone decided to sell theirs by swapping 10,000 Bitcoin for two pizzas. Around the same time, dozens of similar cryptocurrencies began to appear with Litecoin and Ethereum gaining popularity by 2016.  The number of establishments where Bitcoin could be used started to gradually increase in 2017, with the likes of Tesla now indicating that they will accept Bitcoin payments for its cars.

Blockchain technology continues to disrupt the fintech industry, bringing with it both trading opportunities while also capturing the attention of regulators.

Crypto Regulations

Government policies and crypto regulations vary by country as authorities aren’t globally coordinated on the matter. In the US, for example, cryptocurrencies are not insured by the government like bank deposits are. Cryptocurrencies stored online won’t have the same legal protections as the money in your bank account. If a digital wallet company goes out of business, the government is unlikely to step in.

Crypto trading rules

New crypto regulations are continuously being updated so it’s important to stay abreast of trading exchange requirements, along with rules around crypto mining, lending, custody and taxes. And while there aren’t many blanket prohibitions or bans on crypto trading, governments always issue caution when investing due to market volatility.

Crypto Regulations In the UK

The UK’s cryptocurrency regulations allow users to buy and sell altcoins though they are not considered legal tender. However, as of January 6th 2021, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) banned the sale of retail crypto derivatives and ETNs. The motive behind the ban comes from the risky nature of the industry, which puts consumers in danger from scams and market instability.

Note, UK residents can still participate in cryptocurrency exchanges as the ban is focused on retail trading products. The direct purchase of established cryptocurrencies is still permitted.

Crypto Regulations In the US

US crypto regulations are more complicated due to the inconsistent approaches taken across the country. This is because laws vary by state, while others still have pending legislation.

Cryptocurrencies are not considered legal tender and are not backed by the US government or the central bank. Crypto exchange regulations in the US are in uncertain legal territory. With that said, one of the United States’ major regulatory bodies, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), stated that it considers cryptocurrencies to be securities, with the intention to apply securities laws for digital wallets and exchanges.

On the other hand, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), describes Bitcoin as a commodity and allows for cryptocurrency derivatives to be traded publicly. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has proposed a series of new regulations for financial institutions that deal with digital currencies. However, these have been delayed.

It’s worth checking the rules in your own state before you open an account and start trading. Also, more new USA crypto regulations are coming, so make sure to keep up with the news.

Crypto Regulations In Europe

The European Commission recognised the need for legal certainty on blockchain-based applications. In February 2021, The European Central Bank (ECB) issued an opinion on the MiCA proposal published by the EU Commission in September of the previous year.

The proposed MiCA regulation aims to set out a comprehensive regulatory and supervisory regime for crypto-assets in the EU while supporting innovation. The proposed regulation also covers both firms that issue crypto-assets and those that provide services such as digital wallets and cryptocurrency exchanges i.e. Crypto.com.

The ECB has generally supported the proposal’s objectives with some concerns on e-money and stablecoins. The concern stems from stablecoins presenting a potential threat to the conduct of monetary policies and smooth operation of payment systems, which fall under the competence of the ECB. For now, it is hard to know when MiCA regulations will be enforced. However, based on estimations from EU regulators and previous EU regulations, this might be enforced over the next two to four years.

On a national level, Germany is preparing a comprehensive national blockchain strategy, which will support the development of European and international regulations for cryptocurrencies. But currently, retail crypto trading is allowed at most EU-regulated brokers.

Cryptocurrency exchange rules

Crypto Regulations In The Netherlands, Switzerland & Estonia

In the Netherlands, cryptocurrencies aren’t accepted as digital money but are regarded as property. However, the country is striving to regulate them. In contrast, Switzerland accepts crypto exchanges and is regulated by SFTA and FINMA, with the need to obtain a license. Cryptocurrencies as payment are also legal in Swiss stores in certain contexts while retail trading is allowed.

Estonia also holds a similarly progressive stance, where crypto exchanges are legal with approved registration but are not yet considered legal tender. Estonia has planned future regulatory changes i.e. customer identification obligations, payments services and record keeping.

Crypto Regulations In Asia

Asia is the financial hub where most of the world’s crypto trading takes place. Japan has the most progressive regulation, recognising Bitcoin and other digital currencies as legal property. Crypto exchange regulations are also legal with the requirement to register with the FSA.

Singapore’s tax authorities treat Bitcoin as goods, thus, Goods and Services Tax is applied. The surge of Bitcoin in 2017 prompted Malaysia’s Securities Commission to regulate the market by enforcing the Capital Markets and Services Order in 2019.

Crypto is not considered legal tender in India, while exchanges are effectively legal due to the lack of robust regulatory frameworks. Hong Kong considers crypto as virtual commodities, which fall under ‘securities’ that are subject to the SFC’s regulation.

Other Global Views

Other countries take a more conservative view of crypto regulations. In Russia, the law prohibits crypto exchanges, with the Ruble remaining the only legal form of tender. In China, crypto exchanges are illegal and cryptocurrencies are not considered legal tender. In recent years, the Chinese government drafted a law that bestowed legal status on the People’s Bank of China’s digital Yuan.

When it comes to cryptocurrencies in Dubai, the UAE does not recognise Bitcoin as a legal form of tender. However, exchanging digital currencies is allowed, with many UAE-based brokers offering crypto trading. Interestingly, Abu Dhabi’s ADGM was the first to introduce a regulatory framework for virtual assets.

In Canada, digital currencies are not considered legal tender but can be used as payment to buy goods online or in stores that accept them. Canada’s central bank characterises it as securities and Canadian laws have applied tax to crypto transactions since 2013. Exchanges in Canada are regulated as well.

Australia treats cryptocurrencies as legal, classed as property in 2017. Crypto exchanges are also legal, with the requirement to register with AUSTRAC. Retail crypto trading is permitted.

The Future of Crypto Regulations

Cryptocurrency regulations are constantly changing as their popularity grows. While some governments like Japan and Australia have taken a progressive stance on cryptocurrencies, some countries are still concerned with the characteristics of blockchain technology and restrict retail trading, such as in the UK.

The main concerns come from a security perspective, with data protection, money laundering, tax evasion and other financial crimes flagged as issues. Also a perceived problem is their volatile nature, with crypto regulations often attempting to shield individuals from the dangers.

Nonetheless, it looks like cryptocurrencies are here to stay with global regulations likely to try and bring order to a mostly unregulated market. How crypto regulations grapple with the decentralised foundation of blockchain technology will be interesting to follow.

Final Word On Crypto Regulations

Cryptocurrency regulations around the world vary, with retail traders facing different restrictions depending on their location. Many crypto regulations and policies are still a work in progress due to the myriad of considerations. As a result, it’s key that traders keep up to date with the latest rules and requirements in their country.