Comparative Analysis: Is Cryptocurrency Legal in Armenia?

Despite the global development of cryptocurrencies, their regulation and legal status vary from state to state. Some states cautiously introduce laws and regulations, while others don’t and create a field of unregulated transactions. Even the regulation of the most famous crypto, bitcoin, is not unified and states’ approaches are radically different.

Here are three common ways how the states regulate bitcoin.


In the majority of the states the purchase, sale, use and holding of bitcoin is legal, due to either lack of regulation or special laws. Such states include France, Spain, USA.

2.  Legal, with banking ban

In some states bitcoin is legal, however financial institutions are not allowed to make crypto transactions. Such states include Canada, Russia, Turkey and China.

3. Illegal

In some states the purchase, sale, use and holding of bitcoin is considered illegal and punishable.

Such states include Egypt, Bolivia and Morocco.

In states, where the crypto is legal, it is considered as legal tender (money), virtual asset or commodity. States often refrain from calling bitcoin digital currency, virtual currency or digital money, because it would be misunderstood as a legal tender.

In June 2021, El Salvador became the world’s first country to adopt bitcoin as legal tender.

For example in the USA bitcoin is determined as commodity or digital commodity, according to the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA). Unlike securities, commodity markets operate with relatively little regulatory oversight and bitcoins are freely traded. In this case the bitcoin is taxed as a property.

There are states, for example Mexico, where bitcoin is considered as a virtual asset, which means that bitcoin is digital representation of value that can be digitally traded, transferred or used for payment. In this case, companies operating with bitcoin must register in competent authority, implement compliance programs, keep the required records, report suspicious and enforce an anti-money laundering transactions also bitcoin.

Currently, there are few states, like El Salvador and Paraguay where bitcoin is considered as a legal tender. In these states people can freely use bitcoin to pay for goods and services and recipients are obliged to accept it.

In Armenia, cryptocurrencies are under the attention of the regulator of financial markets, Central Bank. There is no direct law or regulation on cryptocurrencies and there are no license requirements for providing services related to cryptocurrencies. Consequently, it is totally legal to purchase, sale, use and hold it.

It is possible that, following the trends by some countries to regulate this field, the Central Bank may adopt relevant regulations for crypto in the future. Probably cryptocurrencies will be then treated by analogy with fiat currencies, i.e. the approach towards a foreign online cryptocurrency trading/investing platform will be the same as towards a foreign online FX trading/investing platform. However, it should be noted that the actual exchange of fiat currencies into cryptocurrencies may be treated as a currency exchange transaction. Thus, actual sale and purchase of cryptocurrencies to/from customers in Armenia may be treated as a sale and purchase of FX.

E-services, individual ads in Google, Facebook and Netflix to be taxed in Armenia

Armenia has approved the draft law on “Amendments to the Tax Code” that will make possible to tax some international tech companies in Armenia. This is an attempt to capture a slice of the foreign tech giants’ revenues from Armenia, such as Google, Facebook and Netflix.

First of all, the Law gives wide definition of electronic services, in accordance with the Treaty on Eurasian Economic Union:

  • e-services are the provision of services through the information and telecommunication network, including the Internet,
  • the provision of e-services is impossible without the use of information technology,
  • the list of e-services is defined by the Government.

Secondly, the Law specifies when the service is considered to be provided in Armenia, both for companies and for individuals.

For the companies:
  • when the e-service is received by the company located in Armenia,
  • when the e-service is received by the permanent establishment of the non-resident company in Armenia,
  • when the e-service is received by the permanent establishment of the executive body of the non-resident company in Armenia, which carries out business activities.
For the individuals:
  • place of residence,
  • place of the bank, used for e-service payments,
  • network address,
  • international code of the phone number, used for receiving e-services or making payments for it.

If the criteria indicate the different states, for example the place of residence is Armenia, but the bank is located in Cyprus, we need to find which country matches to more conditions. If the number is equal, the e-service provider decides where is the service delivery location.

The non-resident companies, who provide e-services in Armenia, have to take into consideration the following conditions:

For providing e-services in Armenia, there is no need to have a permanent establishment. However, companies must register in a special electronic platform.

Companies have to calculate the amount of VAT for each operation of the provision of e-services. The cost of e-services in foreign currency should be converted into Armenian drams at the exchange rate of the Central Bank of the Armenia on the last day of the quarter in which the payment was received.

Companies must pay VAT to the Armenian budget no later than on the 20th day of the month following the reporting quarter.

Companies must quarterly submit VAT declaration, no later than on the 20th day of the month following the reporting quarter.


  1. The new law creates a competitive environment for resident and non-resident IT companies, while previously only resident IT companies were paying VAT.
  2. The law limits the fraudulent behavior of users, as now VAT applies to e-services provided to both legal entities and individuals, while previously it was applicable to only legal entities.
  3. The simplified registration platform enables companies to operate without permanent establishment.


  1. There is no regulation on the special registration platform yet and its’ future is uncertain.
  2. VAT is generally paid by end users, so maybe the cost of the services will arise.
  3. Even if the product is paid in foreign currency, the VAT is calculated in Armenian drams, so there is a risk of exchange rate variation.

Visa makes another big bet on fintech in the last month

International payment system Visa will bur British payments start-up Currencycloud, in its second major fintech acquisition of 2021, CNBC reports.

The deal values Currencycloud at £700 million ($962 million), Visa said. The payments giant led an $80 million investment in Currencycloud at the beginning of 2020. As a result, the sum it’s paying for Currencycloud would be reduced by the outstanding equity it already owns.
Founded in 2007, London-headquartered Currencycloud sells software for banks and fintech firms to process cross-border payments.

“Consumers and businesses increasingly expect transparency, speed and simplicity when making or receiving international payments. With our acquisition of Currencycloud, we can support our clients and partners to further reduce the pain points of cross-border payments and develop great user experiences for their customers,” said Colleen Ostrowski, Visa’s global treasurer. recalls that a month ago Visa announced about buying Swedish fintech startup Tink for $ 2.1 billion. The report said that Visa hopes to accelerate adaptation of open banking in Europe through the merger of its own developments with Tink tools.

It should be noted that Visa’s $5.3 billion deal was canceled earlier this year. In particular, in January 2020, Visa was going to buy the U.S.-based fintech service aggregator Plaid. However, due to an anti-trust claim of the U.S. Department of Justice the deal fell through. The Justice Department sued to block the deal last November, alleging the acquisition would allow Visa to unlawfully maintain a monopoly in the online debit-card market.

AraratBank launches a trading platform with innovative solutions has talked to Anahit Shakaryan, Head of Investment Banking Department of AraratBank.

I can definitely state that, especially in recent times, the financial institutions in Armenia have been paying more attention to the global financial market integration, which is absolutely due to the high demand among customers. On the other hand, the field is path-breaking for the RA banking and financial sector, and in many cases, the participants of the sector may face industry-specific problems which require additional efforts to be solved.

From the perspective of effective investment management, this topic is relevant and vitally important both for individuals and legal entities.
One thing is for sure: the trend we have today will affect positively the customers of the bank as their financial literacy improves in line with the process of intensive integration with the system. These are the important factors that are fundamental to the development of the sector.

As regards the challenges, they are largely interrelated with the macroeconomic stability and foreign policy in the country, since this involves international relations. Financial institutions, especially the ones operating in the foreign market, should be careful in choosing partners, given not only the stability of the partner but also the activities often determined by political and credit risks. In the financial sector, the lack of qualified managers in the team is obvious and very often represents an obstacle.

It is well known that the global financial markets have always captured investors by the variety of financial instruments and high liquidity. In addition to the financial instruments available in the local market, are our citizens provided with an access to the broad financial toolkit offered by the international market today and if so, how?

Today we can say that the Republic of Armenia is home to the licensed companies which provide access to the services and a wide range of financial instruments available in the global financial market.
It is noteworthy that AraratBank has recently signed a new cooperation agreement, expanding the range of services provided in the global financial market and therefore providing access to around 5,000 top-performing financial assets: securities of over 12 countries, including shares listed on the most reputable stock exchanges in the United States and Europe, a number of commodities, currency pairs, stock indices and other financial instruments.

All AraratBank customers, who are ready to invest in the global financial market within acceptable risk exposure, may take full advantage of the instruments above through the AraratBank TRADING PLATFORM, which is a safe and user-friendly trading platform with innovative solutions. It is available on Desktop and Web browsers as well as iOS and Android operating systems. As a matter of fact, our skilled employees are ready to support both beginner and professional customers in managing their funds efficiently.

Would you please highlight the advantages that make you stand out from other companies providing similar services in the market?

Trust is, perhaps, the first and foremost circumstance, which I consider necessary to emphasize. The Central Bank of Armenia exercises control over the commercial banks operating in Armenia, including Araratbank. It should be noted that the regulatory body in our country – the Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia – is guided by stringent control and regulation policies, which is an important indicator to have trust in banks.

At that, the availability of banking services, professional team, multilingual customer service, competitive rates, and working across time zones are the important benefits for AraratBank customers. Moreover, each customer will have a personal manager to assist in managing invested funds skilfully and correctly.

It is worth mentioning that improving financial literacy of the population is a key precondition for the sustainable and efficient development of the field. Moreover, the more comprehensible and simpler the information is, the more efficient and profitable the transaction of the customer will be. Our team provides information using understandable terms and simple language.

In your opinion, how much money on average does a beginning investor needs to start investing?  

This is one of the most frequently asked questions, the answer to which is rather ambiguous. Beginning investors must first of all be sufficiently informed about the financial markets, have a clear knowledge of the risk/reward ratio, and only then start investing. An investor can even manage an investment of 500 U.S. dollars efficiently, if he or she possesses the required knowledge. Our team plays a major role in the vital processes of guiding customers properly, executing transactions accurately, and identifying the right solution for a problem.

Given my professional background of over two decades in foreign and local financial markets, I assure that you can consider an average of 10,000 to 20,000 U.S. dollars for the efficient management of a diversified portfolio. As I noted before, a number of factors, including but not limited to investors’ ideas and considerations, readiness to take a risk, should be considered before making any investment.

In this context, I would like to underline that the large volume of assets managed in the financial market can be easily diversified, reducing the impact of market risks on the investment portfolio.

The Internet is brimming with a variety of appealing offers. What should investors be wary of? Are all brokerage firms trustworthy?   

The Internet is indeed flooded with numerous appealing offers. However, the so-called “unscrupulous brokers”, which are not licensed by the Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia, are active in the virtual reality.  Brokers like these, as a rule, come up as legal entities registered in reputable companies in Europe, controlled by European or Australian regulators. As a result, services are provided to citizens through a company registered in an offshore country, which is definitely not regulated.

Insecure storage of funds, low liquidity of assets, and open position frauds are the main risks our citizens often face.

Based on the experience of countries with enhanced financial systems, it can be stated that improving the financial literacy of population is the most efficient way to combat financial fraud. It is noteworthy that, in addition to providing investment services, our bank is committed to improving the financial literacy of population.

Today, a number of large international companies provide services based on CFD contracts, which enable customers to increase the liquidity of investments paying low commission fees. Transactions in AraratBank TRADING PLATFORM are also concluded based on СFD contracts, which will in the end enable our citizens to execute transactions with a safety cushion at hand.

I find it important to emphasize that citizens should place trust only in the financial market participants, which are licensed by the Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia. However, if they prefer the services provided by foreign companies, it is necessary to analyze the financial situation of the company, the field of regulation, and the documents to be signed very carefully.

How Tech Won the Pandemic and Now May Never Lose

As the world reeled, Silicon Valley supplied the tools that made life and work possible. Now tech companies are awash in money — and questions about what it means to win amid so much loss.

SAN FRANCISCO — In April 2020, with 2,000 Americans dying every day of Covid-19, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive and the world’s richest man, announced he was focusing on people rather than profits. Amazon would spend about $4 billion in the next few months “providing for customers and protecting employees,” he said, wiping out the profit the retailer would have made without the virus.

It was a typically bold Amazon announcement, a shrewd public relations move to sacrifice financial gain at a moment of misery and fear. Mr. Bezos said this was “the hardest time we’ve ever faced” and suggested the new approach would extend indefinitely. “If you’re a shareowner in Amazon,” he advised, “you may want to take a seat.”

At the end of July 2020, Amazon announced quarterly results. Rather than earning zero, as Mr. Bezos had predicted, it notched an operating profit of $5.8 billion — a record for the company.

The months since have established new records. Amazon’s margins, which measure the profit on every dollar of sales, are the highest in the history of the company, which is based in Seattle.

After stepping aside as chief executive early this month, Mr. Bezos flew to suborbital space for 10 minutes this week. Upon returning, he expressed gratitude to those who had fulfilled this lifelong dream. “I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer, ’cause you guys paid for all this,” he said.

Mr. Bezos, who was not available for comment for this article, was the only chief executive of a tech company to enter zero gravity in his own spaceship in the past year. But Amazon’s pandemic triumph was echoed all over the world of technology companies.

Even as 609,000 Americans have died and the Delta variant surges, as corporate bankruptcies hit a peak for the decade, as restaurants, airlines, gyms, conferences, museums, department stores, hotels, movie theaters and amusement parks shut down and as millions of workers found themselves unemployed, the tech industry flourished.

The combined stock market valuation of Apple, Alphabet, Nvidia, Tesla, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook increased by about 70 percent to more than $10 trillion. That is roughly the size of the entire U.S. stock market in 2002. Apple alone has enough cash in its coffers to give $600 to every person in the United States. And in the next week, the big tech companies are expected to report earnings that will eclipse all previous windfalls.

Silicon Valley, still the world headquarters for tech start-ups, has never seen so much loot. More Valley companies went public in 2020 than in 2019, and they raised twice as much money when they did. Forbes calculates there are now 365 billionaires whose fortunes derive from tech, up from 241 before the virus.

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