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The short answer: In most cases, bitcoin mining is perfectly legal. In a few countries, however, bitcoin mining, as well as the possession and use of bitcoin is illegal. If you live in North America and most of Western Europe, bitcoin mining, as well as possession, is not only legal, but local regulatory frameworks actually provide certain protections and basic oversight. In many cases, bitcoin is not treated as a currency by governments, but instead as an asset or property.
As such, bitcoin is afforded some legal protection, just like any other type of property. In most cases, national governments that have not outlawed bitcoin, have not passed laws regarding bitcoin mining. Before digging into the legal issues, I’m going to offer a brief overview of bitcoin mining. If you’re already familiar with the mining process, feel free to skip ahead.