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Global Cryptocurrency Adoption

The 2021 Geography of Cryptocurrency Report
The 2021 Geography of Cryptocurrency Report. Analysis of Geographic Trends in Cryptocurrency Adoption and Usage. Click the image for the full report.

There has been a wave gradually building for a very long time, and it's beginning to reach the shoreline as 2021 sets on us all. It's the global adoption of cryptocurrency, and it's going to sweep us all away as time goes on. As we continue to evolve, we find new ways to make things more efficient, more attainable and less time consuming than previous editions of society. Enter: Cryptocurrency. The revolution that has been highlighted in its largest capacity ever, in 2021. But how did the world around us react to this new revolution? Click the above image for a PDF copy of the full report by Chainalysis, or read our summary below.


Global Cryptocurrency Adoption Summary 2021

We've all heard people say, "it's just a fad" and cast shadows on cryptocurrency," but the number you're about to see next shuns all grievances aside. Blockchain data platform, Chainalysis, reported in "The 2021 Geography of Cryptocurrency Report" that global cryptocurrency adoption was up 881% in 2021. Impressive right? It's essential to recognise where this comes from and which countries take the business and crypto world by surprise as they cash in on this ongoing phenomenon.

global cryptocurrency adoption index

This is the foundation of the content covered in this article; it is important to look at the ranks to follow as we go.


Who’s Leading the Way?

The top of the list surprised me, but after researching, it became clear:

country rankings for crypto adoption

Vietnam takes the cake, and yes, we’re all perplexed by it, but the Director of Research, Kim Grauer, had this to say:

"We heard from experts that people in Vietnam have a history of gambling, and the young, tech-savvy people don’t have much to do with their funds in terms of investing in a traditional ETF, both of which drive crypto adoption."

The explanation is simple but explains so much as to why they are the highest-ranking country on the index. The Vietnamese are known gamblers, which reflects that but as their market emerges into a new light, there's no hiding the fact that cryptocurrency is a volatile asset, so you can see how they work to the mutual benefit of each other. Risk and Reward is one of the oldest standing traditions that continue to ring true. Even if you may not be a gambler, if you have $5000 to invest, this market has proven itself to be rewarding!

Following are India and Pakistan with 0.37 and 0.36 respectively; you'll notice that the top 3 all tend to be developing countries, so to see them stomp out the likes of the USA and Ukraine is surprising. From reading the report, the most common answer is that everyone has money, everyone spends money, but if you don't spend more than you earn, you’re greeted with this small pocket of gold called savings. With savings, you can choose to either spend it now, spend it with next week's pay or save it. If you save it, you'll find your pocket of gold grows. As it grows, you essentially invest in yourself and end up with a decent amount of money. But being in a developing country doesn't present you with many investment opportunities, and the only "markets" are fish markets – not a great investment! This is where cryptocurrency enters a league of its own. That is why you'll see much faster pace investments from third world countries.

Now obviously, not everyone is buying crypto with every spare cent they have, but with low interest rates and most likely no feasible investment opportunities, it’s the way to go for many people. Due to crypto fulfilling all the characteristics of money and holding its value (can't be easily stolen, which is important especially in remote parts), it makes it the perfect choice for anyone looking towards the future.


What About New Zealand?

country rankings for crypto adoption NZ crypto adoption

As you can see, we currently sit on 96 out of 154, which isn't bad, but in regards to how the rest of the world seems to actively promote crypto’s usefulness, we’re not convinced. Perhaps as Australia and other close partners become more open to the idea, we may as well. Because New Zealand tends to be a Price-Taker nation (we react to global markets, we don't impact them greatly), it isn't surprising to see we have a cautious approach to anything new that hits our shorelines.


Interesting Points

Emerging markets have adopted cryptocurrency and streamlined it directly to their countries. These countries tend to rank high on the index in large part because they have substantial transaction volumes on peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms. The interviews conducted with experts in these countries revealed that many residents use P2P crypto exchanges as their primary on-ramp into cryptocurrency, often because they don’t have access to centralised exchanges. This makes sense when you see where they are in the world; however, best not to count them out too quickly, for this could be a vital step in bringing them into the new world.


Why Is The US Not Ranked Higher?

The US and China took a dip in this year's rankings, with China going from 4th to 13th and the US going from 6th to 8th. Why? Partly due to their rankings in P2P trade volume weighted for internet-using population declining dramatically from 2020-2021. This is just because the rest of the world started to catch up on them, but they still take a hit even in regards to world totals. This has been put down to increasing professionalisation and institutionalisation of crypto trading in the United States. China’s case may be related to ongoing government crackdowns on cryptocurrency trading. Two crypto powerhouses slowly being brought back to the global median isn't necessarily a bad thing and isn't a cause for worry at all.


How Crypto Is Being Adopted Over Time?

crypto adoption over time

Arguably, the most comforting thing you'll find in this article is the rise of cryptocurrency and what that means heading into 2022.

Chainalysis's research suggests that the reasons for this increased adoption differ around the world; this makes sense due to every country reacting in its own way. In emerging markets like Vietnam, Pakistan etc., many people have turned to cryptocurrency to preserve their savings in the face of currency devaluation and to tackle other financial walls discussed earlier. In North America, Western Europe, and Eastern Asia, their adoption of crypto has been primarily driven by institutional investment over the last year.

Institutional investment has been tremendous, as businessmen, politicians, and investors turned from accusing crypto users of being fraudulent criminals to eventually siding with them and investing as well. Forbes reported an estimated 17 billion dollars worth of capital in 2021 alone. The market will only grow; crypto has outlived all sceptics and even converted them in most instances.


How Will Crypto Be Adopted In The Future?

This is a pretty vital point to consider, especially since in a year from now, I'll be writing the same article summarising this year (hopefully, it's a bit nicer to us). Growing transaction volumes in already adopted countries will continue to rise, and it’s my most fervent belief that emerging markets will stake their place in history during 2022, taking crypto to places we haven't seen before. What we must remember is that the future is not certain. As some governments attempt to disrupt the crypto network, we must implement new ways to combat them.


2021 Wrapped

As the sun sets on the rather vicious year we've had, depending on circumstances, your feelings may vary. In terms of cryptocurrency, it has been a roller coaster, but we've ended high. We’re seeing more high-profile transactions taking place every day; emerging markets in developing countries are disrupting the market and staking their claim on the pot of digital gold. Humans are so inventive in the way they adapt and overcome; we have seen cryptocurrency be used in so many different forms and, in some cases, legal tender and added to balance sheets by high profile companies. China plummeted BTC prices with bands, but the ever-resilient cryptocurrency rose to its former glory six months later and continues to increase.

At BitPrime, we've always been open to the future – it's kind of our thing. Cryptocurrency is surging in all its forms and forcing global markets to confront it - from rags to riches for some, from riches to rags for others. The reality is, as the world dives into cryptocurrency, as Vietnam continues to boom in its surgency of crypto trading, as Ukraine mines more than ever before, we are stepping forward. The best thing about this year in cryptocurrency is that the world is starting to step forward together.


About the author:

Austin Watene is a writer who has collaborated with a multitude of different partners in Business, Social Media and News Companies. He produces quality content in which he aims to resonate with viewers, or at least raise their eyebrows to the new opportunities of tomorrow.


The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. Do not take this as personalised financial advice or investment advice. The views expressed by the author do not necessarily represent the opinion of BitPrime.

Last updated: 21/01/2022

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