Cryptocurrency Regulations in Papua New Guinea Prior to 2024

As of the years leading up to 2024, the legislative landscape for cryptocurrencies in Papua New Guinea was marked by a lack of specific regulations and a general state of legal ambiguity.

Legal Status and Government Stance

Non-Recognition as Legal Tender: Cryptocurrencies were not officially recognized as legal tender in Papua New Guinea. Despite this non-recognition, there were no specific laws that explicitly prohibited the use or trade of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Tether, Cardano, USDT, XRP, and Monero. This gray area in the legal framework allowed residents to buy, sell, and hold these digital assets at their own risk​​.

Absence of Specific Cryptocurrency Laws: Papua New Guinea did not have any specific laws or regulations related to cryptocurrencies. The unclear legal framework meant that it was not evident what penalties, if any, would apply to illicit activities involving digital currencies. Law enforcement practices in this area were similarly vague. However, the government had warned citizens about the risks of investing in cryptocurrencies, especially considering their volatility and potential for scams​​.

Interest in Developing a Regulatory Framework: While there were no specific regulations on cryptocurrencies, the Papua New Guinean government expressed an interest in developing a regulatory framework. This interest was driven by concerns about potential misuse of cryptocurrencies for money laundering, terrorist financing, and other criminal activities​​.

Cryptocurrency Usage and Activities

Popularity of Cryptocurrencies: Anecdotal evidence suggested that Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin were among the most commonly used cryptocurrencies in Papua New Guinea, likely due to their global popularity and acceptance on various cryptocurrency exchanges​​.

Legality of Cryptocurrency Trading: Despite the lack of official recognition, cryptocurrency trading was not explicitly prohibited. Many residents engaged in online trading, often using popular international exchanges that supported various digital currencies​​.

Cryptocurrency Gambling: The legal status of cryptocurrency gambling in Papua New Guinea was unclear due to the absence of specific laws or regulations regarding this activity. Given the general legal ambiguity surrounding cryptocurrencies, the legality of cryptocurrency gambling remained uncertain​​.


In summary, prior to 2024, Papua New Guinea’s approach to cryptocurrency regulation was characterized by a significant legal gray area. While the use of cryptocurrencies was not officially recognized or regulated, neither was it explicitly prohibited. Residents engaging in cryptocurrency transactions did so at their own risk. The government’s intent to develop a regulatory framework indicated a potential shift in this landscape, acknowledging the growing significance of digital currencies and the need for regulatory oversight to mitigate associated risks.

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