There are currently only two countries in the world where Bitcoin has been officially declared legal tender.
Bitcoin as legal tender
Both are poor or relatively poor countries with a small number of inhabitants.
The main thing they have in common from a monetary point of view is that they do not have their own national fiat currency.
The first of these was El Salvador, a small Central American state with around 6.5 million inhabitants, and 112th in the world in GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power.
Not having its own national currency, the country uses the US dollar as its legal tender fiat currency, and in September 2021 also brought in Bitcoin alongside the dollar as its second legal tender currency.
Central African Republic
The second was the Central African Republic (CAR), a medium-sized state in Central Africa, but with less than 6 million inhabitants. It is one of the poorest countries in the world with an annual GDP per capita (PPP) of just over $500, which puts it 179th overall in the world.
The country uses the so-called CFA franc, issued by France’s central bank, as its fiat currency, and in April it decreed that Bitcoin will also be legal tender there.
The total number of people in the country is just over 12 million, which is just over half the size of New York City.
Interest around the world
Currently, there are other states that seem to be willing to do something similar, although a state with a national currency might be much more reluctant to make Bitcoin legal tender as well.
Of all the countries that seem to be willing to encourage the spread of Bitcoin in their countries the most interesting is Mexico, both because it has almost 130 million inhabitants and because it is very close to the US. Also although it is only 67th in the world in GDP per capita (PPP) it is 14th in the world in total nominal GDP.
However, there are many other countries where, although not legal tender, Bitcoin is commonly accepted as a form of payment, albeit not forcibly and not by everyone.
In this respect, the first to recognize Bitcoin as a currency was Japan, which not only has more than 125 million inhabitants, but is also by far one of the richest countries in the world, ranking third in total nominal GDP and 28th in GDP per capita (PPP).
Lately, places where Bitcoin can be commonly used as currency are also multiplying in Switzerland, starting with the city of Lugano.
Another city that is making giant strides in this direction is Miami, USA, with New York seemingly following suit.
One country in which the use of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies seems to be relatively widespread is Germany, whereas in Russia BTC circulates a lot, especially under the radar, because the Russians seem to like it a lot but the regulations do not yet recognize it as a currency.
Russia and Ukraine, in particular due to the blocks on the use of fiat currencies in electronic format, seem to be increasingly open to the use of cryptocurrencies, even if their current situation does not really play in their favour.
However, if the war ends, the use of cryptocurrencies on a large scale could be resumed, especially if they actually enact favourable laws, as they seem intent on doing.
In Australia too, it seems that there are many places where Bitcoin can be used as a means of payment, even if there is no specific law allowing this.
In addition, there seem to be fewer and fewer states that prohibit the use of cryptocurrencies, and increasingly more that have a legal framework in place that legalizes their use, even without declaring them legal tender.