Cryptocurrency Regulation in Costa Rica Prior to 2024

As of 2023, the legislative landscape for cryptocurrencies in Costa Rica is characterized by a developing framework that aims to address the complexities and opportunities presented by digital assets. The country’s approach to cryptocurrency regulation involves considerations for taxation, legal recognition, and potential for future legislative developments.
The Tax Regulations of Cryptocurrencies

Costa Rica’s approach to cryptocurrency taxation is pragmatic and aligns with the treatment of other assets. The use of cryptocurrency is equated to receiving any other good, such as stocks, art, or currency. This means that the tax implications of using cryptocurrencies are similar to those of other assets. However, there is a consideration for whether Value Added Tax (VAT) should be charged when transferring cryptocurrencies. The exact tax treatment depends on the nature of the cryptocurrencies. If considered foreign currency, they are not subject to VAT, but their exchange fluctuations must be considered for tax purposes. If treated as securities or other types of assets, such as intangible or financial assets, different tax rules apply. The fluctuation in the value of these assets typically does not have a tax impact until the asset is disposed of and any latent capital gain or loss is realized​

​Proposed Digital Asset Law

A formal proposal for a new law to regulate the digital asset market in Costa Rica was published in November 2022. This proposed law aims to address the use and taxation of various activities related to crypto assets, including mining, commercialization, intermediation, exchange, transfer, holding, custody, and administration. The proposal recognizes the necessity of a regulatory framework to distinguish digital asset investment from traditional investment, which has been a hindrance to the development of the digital asset market. The law would categorize crypto assets based on their different uses, such as payment, utility tokens, investment, and hybrids.

The National Council for Oversight of the Financial System (CONASSIF) would oversee this activity, with certain regulatory powers. The proposal also establishes crypto assets as private property, giving individuals and entities the freedom to use these assets for legal activities. The law would ensure technological freedom and net neutrality, meaning no government entity can force the use of a specific form of technology. Providers of crypto-asset services would not be held responsible for economic damages due to price changes of the asset, provided consumers are warned about the risks. Additionally, the transference of value through crypto assets would not be taxable as income tax unless it is a lucrative activity with a Costa Rican source, and is also not subject to Value Added Tax or Capital Gains Tax unless the values are part of a permanent lucrative activity​


In summary, Costa Rica’s approach to cryptocurrency regulation prior to 2024 reflects a growing understanding and adaptation to the digital asset market. The country’s tax regulations treat cryptocurrencies similarly to other assets, and the proposed digital asset law aims to provide a comprehensive legal framework that encourages investment and innovation in the digital asset market. This evolving regulatory landscape is indicative of Costa Rica’s efforts to balance the opportunities presented by cryptocurrencies with the need for legal structure and consumer protection.

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