Cryptocurrency is a digital form of money that is decentralized, secure and transparent. It can be used for various purposes, such as online payments, remittances, investments and more. Cryptocurrency adoption is the measure of how widely and easily people can access and use this innovative technology in their daily lives.
In this blog post, we will rank the top 10 countries that are leading the way in cryptocurrency adoption, based on factors such as the number of crypto users, the volume of crypto transactions, the availability of crypto services and the regulatory environment. We will also explain why the USA, despite being a global superpower and a hub of innovation, is not number one on this list.
10. South Korea
South Korea is one of the most technologically advanced and internet-savvy countries in the world, with a high penetration of smartphones and broadband. It is also home to some of the largest and most active crypto exchanges, such as Bithumb, Upbit and Coinone. According to a survey by Finder, 30% of South Koreans have invested in cryptocurrency, making it the country with the highest percentage of crypto investors in the world. South Korea also has a supportive regulatory framework for crypto, allowing licensed exchanges to operate legally and offering tax incentives for blockchain companies.
Japan is another Asian country that has embraced cryptocurrency with enthusiasm. It was the first country to recognize Bitcoin as a legal form of payment in 2017, and it has since established a comprehensive set of rules and standards for crypto businesses to ensure consumer protection and compliance. Japan also has a large and active crypto community, with over 3.5 million crypto users and over 20% of global Bitcoin transactions. Japan is also the birthplace of some of the most influential crypto projects, such as Bitcoin itself (allegedly created by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto), Cardano (founded by Charles Hoskinson) and Monacoin (a popular meme coin).
Switzerland is known for its tradition of banking secrecy, financial stability and innovation. It is also one of the most crypto-friendly countries in Europe, offering a favorable tax regime, a supportive legal system and a vibrant ecosystem of crypto startups and organizations. Switzerland hosts the Crypto Valley, a cluster of over 900 crypto companies and institutions located in the canton of Zug, which is dubbed as the “Silicon Valley of Crypto”. Switzerland also boasts some of the most progressive crypto initiatives in the world, such as the Swiss National Bank’s pilot project to test a digital version of the Swiss franc, and the city of Zug’s e-voting system based on blockchain.
Singapore is a small but wealthy city-state that has established itself as a global hub of finance, trade and innovation. It is also one of the most crypto-friendly countries in Asia, offering a clear and flexible regulatory framework for crypto businesses, a low-tax regime and a strong support for blockchain development. Singapore has attracted some of the biggest names in the crypto industry, such as Binance (the world’s largest crypto exchange), Huobi (a leading crypto platform) and Bitmain (a major crypto mining company). Singapore also has a high level of crypto adoption among its population, with over 20% of Singaporeans owning some form of cryptocurrency.
6. United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is one of the most influential and developed countries in the world, with a strong economy, a diverse culture and a leading role in global affairs. It is also one of the most crypto-friendly countries in Europe, offering a balanced and pragmatic approach to crypto regulation, a supportive environment for crypto innovation and a high level of crypto awareness and usage among its citizens. The UK has over 8 million crypto users, making it the country with the highest number of crypto users in Europe. The UK also hosts some of
the most prominent crypto companies and organizations, such as Coinbase (a leading crypto exchange), Blockchain.com (a popular crypto wallet) and CryptoUK (a self-regulatory trade body for the UK crypto industry).
Germany is the largest and most powerful economy in Europe, with a reputation for excellence in engineering, manufacturing and innovation. It is also one of the most progressive and open-minded countries in terms of cryptocurrency adoption, offering a legal recognition for Bitcoin as a form of private money, a tax exemption for long-term crypto holders and a robust framework for security token offerings (STOs). Germany also has a large and active crypto community, with over 4 million crypto users and over 40% of Germans expressing interest or curiosity about cryptocurrency.
Turkey is a transcontinental country that bridges Europe and Asia, with a rich history, a diverse culture and a dynamic economy. It is also one of the most enthusiastic adopters of cryptocurrency in the world, with over 16% of Turks owning some form of digital currency. Turkey has seen a surge in crypto usage in recent years, as a result of its volatile currency, high inflation and strict capital controls. Turkey also has a growing crypto industry, with several local exchanges, such as BTCTurk, Paribu and BtcTurk, and blockchain projects, such as BiLira (a Turkish lira-backed stablecoin) and Colendi (a decentralized credit scoring platform).
Nigeria is the most populous and the largest economy in Africa, with a young and entrepreneurial population. It is also one of the most active and innovative countries in the crypto space, with over 1.1 million crypto users and over $400 million worth of crypto transactions in 2020. Nigeria has embraced cryptocurrency as a means of financial inclusion, empowerment and opportunity, especially for its large unbanked and underbanked population. Nigeria also has a vibrant crypto ecosystem, with several local exchanges, such as Quidax, BuyCoins and Luno, and blockchain projects, such as Bundle (a social payments app) and Kudi (a digital banking platform).
China is the world’s most populous and the second-largest economy, with a dominant role in global trade, manufacturing and technology. It is also one of the most influential and controversial countries in the crypto sphere, with over 7 million crypto users and over 60% of global Bitcoin mining power. China has a complex and ambivalent relationship with cryptocurrency, as it has banned crypto exchanges and initial coin offerings (ICOs) since 2017, but it has also embraced blockchain technology and launched its own digital currency, the digital yuan. China also has some of the most innovative and successful crypto projects in the world, such as NEO (a smart contract platform), VeChain (a supply chain management platform) and Binance Smart Chain (a decentralized application platform).
1. El Salvador
El Salvador is a small Central American country that has made history by becoming the first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender. This means that Bitcoin can be used as a medium of exchange, a unit of account and a store of value in El Salvador, alongside the US dollar. El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, announced this bold move in June 2021, as a way to boost the country’s economy, attract foreign investment and provide financial access to millions of Salvadorans who lack bank accounts or remittance services. El Salvador also plans to use its abundant geothermal energy to power Bitcoin mining operations using volcanoes.
Why is the USA not number one?
The USA is undoubtedly one of the most important and influential countries in the world, with a strong economy, a powerful military and a leading role in politics, culture and innovation. It is also one of the pioneers and leaders in the crypto industry, with over 40 million crypto users and some of the most renowned crypto companies and organizations, such as Coinbase (the first crypto company to go public), MicroStrategy (the first publicly traded company to hold Bitcoin on its balance sheet) and the Bitcoin Foundation (the oldest non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Bitcoin).
However, the USA is not number one on this list for several reasons. First, the USA has a low level of crypto adoption relative to its population size and economic power. According to a report by Chainalysis, the USA ranks only 8th in terms of global crypto adoption index, behind countries such as Vietnam, India and Pakistan. Second, the USA has a complex and uncertain regulatory environment for crypto, with different federal agencies having different views and approaches to crypto regulation.
For instance, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) considers most cryptocurrencies as securities subject to its oversight, while the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) considers them as commodities subject to its jurisdiction. Third, the USA faces increasing competition from other countries that are more proactive and supportive of crypto innovation and adoption, such as China, Switzerland and El Salvador.