Georgia has legalized the buying and selling of bitcoin at cryptocurrency exchanges.
Regulated by the Department of Banking and Finance, residents can use authorized cryptocurrency exchanges, peer to peer exchanges or local ATMs to acquire bitcoin.
A snapshot of Georgia Cryptocurrency Market:
- It is legal for residents of Georgia to trade in cryptocurrencies
- Investors and traders must be at least 18 years old
- The Department of Banking and Finance is encouraging cryptocurrency development via the Ga. Code Ann. § 7-1-690(b)(1).
- All cryptocurrency exchanges for buying and selling in Georgia must be authorized with a Department of Banking and Finance License
In this article, we discuss the different exchanges that resident of Georgia can use to buy and sell bitcoin, the legislation and tax laws, bitcoin wallets and other useful information to help you get started.
If you intend to trade and invest in Bitcoin in Georgia, we recommend the following exchanges:
Top 5 Georgia Bitcoin Exchanges
- GA – Seller of Payment Instruments License, 42796
- The best all round platform
- Trading fees are low
- The most popular alongside Binance.US
- GA – Seller of Payment Instruments License, 72019
- Popular because of low trading fees
- Reliable platform
- Quick, fast account creation
- GA – Seller of Payment Instruments, 65882
- Global exchange
- 4 million users
- Rich in features
- Legally operates in US, via a third party license
- Good no frills platform
- Fast instant buy bitcoin
- Intuitive and simple to use
- Safe and Secure
- Never been hacked
- Global exchange based in US
- Good fees
Overview of Georgia Bitcoin Exchanges
Georgia lawmakers are extremely supportive of progessing the development of block-chain technology. It was one of the first US States to define “virtual currency” in its banking laws. After which it has established a formal compliance framework, requiring onshore bitcoin exchanges to be licensed to operate cryptocurrency exchanges.
Cryptocurrency exchanges that are based onshore are required to obtain a license with the Georgia State department of banking and finance. However, some exchanges are able to avoid the licensing requirement by being based offshore. In theory, onshore bitcoin exchanges offer better protection to buyers and sellers, however, with the growing globalization and strict Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements, Georgians will find both are safe and secure.
As an Georgian trader, safety and security should be at the top of considerations. With the establishment of big bitcoin exchanges and large user uptake, finding a safe and secure exchange site is becoming easier. Nevertheless there are still many scams that are trapping buyers and sellers with the allure of quick wins, or with fulfilling the financial needs of a “fake” online dating relationship. Also, if you are trading via a non personal account, such as a company or trust, you may find that the paper work requested is too much by some exchanges. Further considerations, include fees which balance between low and high volume traders and the number of pairings.
We highlight the following attributes to considered when selecting a bitcoin exchange to use. Some traders may value other aspects, however, we list our top considerations as follow:
🔒 Safety and Security
There is an abundance of scams that target new traders with the vision of easy profits with very little outlay. Avoid these scam, by recognizing their their poor grammar, spelling mistakes and flashy images. Use cryptocurrency exchanges that are licensed, onshore with the Georgia State, and if offshore then with a reputable jurisdiction.
Unfortunately, some bitcoin exchanges will require copious documentation to meet KYC requirements. You will find that establishing a personal account will need several minutes, while a company and trust will require further documentation that demonstrates ultimate shareholdings. These stringent laws are required to prevent money laundering and other criminal activity. With the provision of sensitive information, good exchanges will require you to create an account with 2 Factor Authentication. They will ensure that your details are validated against the email and mobile number that you provide. Once validated, it will be the log in process becomes frictionless, with only user id and log on needed.
Safe and secure exchanges will also allow the use of a cold wallet. Though some users are satisfied with hot wallets, we strongly recommend using cold wallets, particularly for high volume and/or dollar traders.
Lastly, the best bitcoin exchanges will have insurance to protect against the theft of bitcoin. If bitcoins were to be stolen by hackers, the insurance policy will compensate for a portion of the bitcoin value.
📞 Customer Support
Customer Support is often overlooked when considering a bitcoin exchange. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, using a platform that is rich in features may not be easy as it seems. Most bitcoin exchanges will have 24/7 accessible customer support, commonly through Live Chat, email and sometimes a hotline. The larger, more advanced bitcoin exchanges will also include online knowledge base and FAQ which can guide traders. When choosing an exchange, professional customer support should be a consideration. Though it will play less of a importance if you have a buy and hold strategy, it should still be looked into, because you never know when you will come across an issue that will need customer support.
💳 Payment Methods
Licensed Georgian cryptocurrency exchanges have many deposit and withdrawal options. The most common is with wire transfers or ACH for large deposits. Smaller deposits can typically be faciliated with debit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, ApplePay and other e-wallet transfers. Deposit and Withdrawal methods are usually completed within 1 business day, but for some withdrawal methods it could take up to 3 business days.
🪙 Cryptocurrency Selection
Even though bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency for trading, consideraton should still be placed on the number of pairings available on the bitcoin exchange. Pairings describes the ability to buy and sell beyond bitcoin alone. For example, Ethereum and USD, Ripple and USD, Bitcoin and Ethereum. The ability to diversify should be part of most bitcoin trader’s strategy, as this helps reduce concentrating all risk in bitcoin itself.
🏷 Coupon and Discounts
Many bitcoin exchanges are growing their user base by offering customers coupons and discounts. These often come in the form of “Refer a Friend”. Refer a friend is a nice way of rewarding an existing customer when they invite others to the exchange. Rewards include monetary amounts of up to $20, or fee reductions.
Coupons are codes that a new customer can enter upon sign up to claim a discount or benefit. Coupons are promotions which is fun way of attracting customers.
Lastly, some exchanges which have their own native coin will give to customers free native coins for using the exchange. Although the free coins are not in bitcoin, these coins offer the opportunity for customers to have a vested interest in the exchange. If more users, buy and sell the native coin, the hope is that the value of the coin also goes up.
Fees need to be balanced with trading volumes and ease of establishing an account. There are some exchanges, which on face value have high trading fees, but they offset this with better exchange rates and faster customer service in the form of account establishment. On the other hand, there are some exchanges with low fees, but they will ask for an extensive amount of KYC documentation. In addition, the platforms that support the exchanges may only have limited pairings.
⚙️ Platform Reliability
A bitcoin exchange must be reliable. During the early days of bitcoin exchanges, many were crashing, closed for “maintenance” or glitchy. This was a sore point for many traders, whom need to execute trades quickly and efficiently. Currently, with Georgia regulation, bitcoin exchanges that are licensed are audited by third parties for their IT platform. Platform reliability can be place more highly with bitcoin exchanges that are licensed in the state by the Department of Banking and Finance.
Georiga Bitcoin Exchange Reviews
Considering the above criteria, following is a review of several bitcoin exchanges for Georgia.
Coinbase has obtained a license with the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance and has been operational since January 2021 for Georgians. Their license can be referenced with the following link: Seller of Payment Instruments License, 42796. Coinbase is one of the largest exchanges with a wide variety of pairings Referred to as the top Bitcoin broker (BTC), Coinbase has always been the preference of beginners to try out their luck by investing in cryptocurrencies. Due to its simple user-interface and easy to handle mechanism, this cryptocurrency exchange has emerged as the best platform for all Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency fans. They can carry out transactions with SEPA transfer, bank transfer, debit/credit card. with the surety of buying highly liquid cryptos. The best part is that if any trader wants to buy cryptocurrencies urgently, he/she can do it through Instant Buy with a debit card.
Coinmama is the next worthwhile cryptocurrency exchange that works for its clients effortlessly. The best part is that it is available for everyone across the globe, which means that people from anywhere can easily invest or transact in digital currencies. Its transaction fees depend upon the volume of purchase; however, money can be paid through SEPA transfer at a lower fee. Another thing that makes Coinmama a good option is the highest limitation for dealing in bitcoins, especially while using credit cards. The exchange has proved itself a reliable and professional platform where traders can invest their money with ease.
Etoro is on the mission to democratize money management to open doors of financial market for everyone. Its US platform intends to bring in modern and advanced techniques and norms, while continuing to support cryptocurrency trading. Etoro lets traders to deposit funds through wire transfer, online bank transfer, bank card or e-wallet (Skrill, Neteller or PayPal), where the minimum deposit is $50. The best part of Etoro is that customers can withdraw funds whenever they want without having to pay the platform fees.
As a multifunctional cryptocurrency exchange, CEX.IO has been the choice of millions of people across the world. It facilitates in the purchase of bitcoin with debit or credit card; though, if they want to use any other payment option, they can do that easily as well. Their customer service is active 24/7 with proven platform reliability and stability. The best thing about CEX.IO is its low fees and accessibility to people all over the world so that they can easily opt to invest in cryptocurrencies of their choice.
Kraken is not only a top rated crypto-exchange in Georgia but has also managed to get into the limelight of the world. It is because of their liquidity and volume that any bank or wire transfer can be the part of their funding method. Kraken Pro encourages investors to get themselves involved in real-time trading by using amazing charting tools. Their tiered verification and reasonable fees are two main factors as to why this platform has got a respectable position in the industry.
Gemini has fast settlement, which is good if you are a day trader. Fast processing of ACH and wire transfers in only hours to one day then can immediatley buy and sell bitcoin. Fees are reasonable.
LocalBitcoins – Peer to Peer Exchange
Known for providing an escrow service, this cryptocurrency platform enables clients to find the right buyers for their Bitcoins. Although advertisement is a good option to go with, many have not received the required level of responses. The thing that makes LocalBitcoins different from others is the in-person meeting, which is facilitated and secured by LocalBitcoins have turned out to the fastest platform to acquire Bitcoins within a few minutes.
With the help of Bitcoin ATMs, it’s now convenient for Georgians to buy bitcoin with cash. To use a Bitcoin ATM, you need to first register and create an account online. After your account is activated, you can then proceed to depositing cash at a bitcoin ATM. The process is simple, convenient and safe – most Bitcoin ATMs are safely located within shops, which helps ensure user safety as well as prevent vandalism.
Please note, the fees when using a bitcoin ATM can be very high, and the exchange rates are not great either. Having said that, the trade off is that cash can be quickly and conveniently used for buying and selling bitcoin.
Georgia Cryptocurrency Tax Ruling and Rates
The IRS considers bitcoin to be an asset. That is, all digital currencies are treated exactly the same as if buying or using foreign currency. Any capital gains and losses are used to calculate tax, and the use of bitcoin for exchange also has income earning implications.
The IRS requires bitcoin traders to submitt detailed buy, sell and exchanging of bitcoin in the 1099 forms. Many of the bitcoin exchanges that accept and cater for Georgians, will provide 1099 statement forms to help support tax submissions to the IRS.
There are some loops holes for Georgians, if they wish to minimize their tax. However, it requires complex entity structures or relocating to lower taxing jurisdictions. If you intend to look further into tax minimization, we recommend engaging with a professional tax accountant.
Bitcoin Cryptocurrency Laws and Legislation
Georgia was one of the first US States to introduce law changes to money transmitters. In 2016, the Department of Banking and Finance was authorized to license and regulate virtual currency exchanges. Any financial securities, whether it be virtual or not, is captured in the defintion of the “sale of payment instruments”.
Ga. Code Ann. § 7-1-690(b)(1) was introduced to encourage the development of blockchain technology in business activity. The term “virtual currency” was defined in the legislation – Ga. Code Ann. § 7-1-680(26). A virtual currency is defined as “digital representation of monetary value that does not have legal tender status as recognized by the United States government”.
In one of the most recent law changes, Georgia amended their Money Transmitter Act to enforce bitcoin exchanges to obtain a license to facilitate trading.
Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Wallets
Some exchanges also offer wallets. It’s not necessary for a good exchange to offer a wallet to their clients, though it can be a nice to have for new investors. However, be aware that online wallets offered by exchanges are normally hot wallets. That is, these wallets are connected permanently to the internet. This can be quite risky to use a wallet that is controlled by the exchange and not by yourself.
Hence it’s not necessarily a good thing if an exchange offers a wallet, but it’s a nice to have, if you are looking for an exchange with their own wallet.
- Online Wallets: Every crypto-exchange has their own wallet where traders can store their coins or cryptocurrencies for as long as they want. However, there are two types of these wallets that traders have to decide about which wallet they want to use for their trading.
- Georgia Hot Wallets: Since the inception of bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, wallets have been transformed and divided into two forms- desktop and online. Digital wallets are free and can hold any cryptocurrency that traders want. They enable them to get easy access to their cryptocurrencies via mobile devices. They are perfect for beginners who want something easy to start with.
- Georgia Cold Wallets: These specifically designed devices work as physical cryptocurrency storage that allow traders to bring their cryptos with them, no matter where they are going. Though, the only considerable thing is their expensive nature with limitations of storing certain cryptocurrencies for future use.
Minimum Legal Age
The minimum legal age to buy and sell bitcoin in Georgia is 18 years old.
Georgians have many options to buy and sell bitcoin. Choosing an exchange is relatively easy, but ensure that they are licensed in Georgia or in reputable jurisdictions. The Banking and Finance Department of Georgia issues licenses and monitors compliance for onshore bitcoin exchanges. Select an exchange that balances fees with the intended volume of trading, and the KYC requirements. Sometimes, its simply just easier to choose the path of least resistance.
Trading in bitcoin is subject to IRS tax laws. If a profit is made, gains are taxable hence documentation is important when completing tax returns. Buying and selling cryptocurrency is subject to the minimum legal age of 18.
How to Lodge a Cryptocurrency Customer Complaint
If you have a customer complaint at a cryptocurrency exchange, please raise the issue with them first.
If unresolved, please contact the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance.
Georgia Department of Banking and Finance
Money Services Businesses
2990 Brandywine Road, Suite 200
Atlanta, GA 30341-5565
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