Cryptocurrency has seen its fair share of growth in recent years—growth in price, growth in terms of the sheer number of cryptocurrencies popping up, and most importantly, growth in world adoption. Countries all over the world are starting to recognize that cryptocurrency is a legitimate financial tool and despite some people being late to the party, their attendance is duly noted.
According to a report done by Statista, the number of Blockchain wallets has increased to 35 million (as of Q1 of 2019). This study only refers to Bitcoin wallets—it doesn’t even count the other cryptocurrency wallets that are being used.
Cryptocurrency users from unlikely places
When the idea of “cryptocurrency adoption” is thrown around, one immediately thinks about tech-forward countries like South Korea, Japan or even the United States. Believe it or not, none of these choices are in the top 5 countries in which cryptocurrency adoption is most common. There was a study done by Statista in which around 1,000 respondents per country were surveyed to see how many of them have used or owned cryptocurrencies in their lifetime. According to that study, these are the top 5 countries that lead the way in cryptocurrency adoption:
At first glance, Turkey taking the number one is a bit surprising. When you delve into the possible reasons, it isn’t that surprising that Turkey takes 20% of cryptocurrency adoption around the world.
In countries like Turkey—where the government and bank trust are low, where its fiat currency is subject to inflation, and its rulers not having a not-so-good relationship with the United States—cryptocurrencies are seen as an escape route. With their ruler being a dictator who sends his opponents to jail and censors content, it isn’t surprising at all that cryptocurrency adoption is high.
Just like Turkey, there is a battle with the banks and a corrupt government in Brazil. Although its economy isn’t totally falling apart, it did suffer its highest inflation rate in four years (in April). At the same time, Brazil recorded trades worth 100,000 bitcoins within 24 hours (a record that is worth about $500 million USD).
Brazil accounts for 18% of the world’s cryptocurrency adoption.
Tied in 2nd place with 18% of the world’s cryptocurrency adoption is Columbia. The country is home to over a million Venezuelan refugees. It also has a bitcoin-friendly government. Just like Brazil, most of the people of Columbia are using bitcoin as a means of wealth preservation—a way for them to shield their wealth from the extreme inflation that the country is experiencing. But that’s not all of them—people are also using it to run businesses as well as means of investment.
Argentina, also, is no stranger to its citizens using cryptocurrency as a means to preserve their wealth. This, in turn, has made cryptocurrency very popular across the country—making it a regular at the top when it comes to Bitcoin Google searches. Some public means of transportation even allow payment in cryptocurrency.
Argentina currently sits in third place with 16% of the world’s cryptocurrency adoption.
5. South Africa
Tied in third place with 16% as well is South Africa. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since cryptocurrency work in Africa has been recognized many times before. The crypto scene there has continued to grow immensely over the years and despite regulatory clampdowns, the interest in cryptocurrency has not dwindled over time—in fact, it has continued to grow stronger. Not only do they use cryptocurrency as a means of wealth preservation, but they also use it as an investment tool as well as an easier way of sending payments abroad. One of the biggest real-use cases for cryptocurrency in Africa is sending out remittances. In that case, the use of cryptocurrencies makes it cheaper and more efficient.
It can be seen among the top 5 countries that crypto is mostly used—for the lack of a better term—as an “escape” from corrupt governments and hyperinflating fiat currencies. Seeing it happen in the top 5 crypto-adopting countries in the world shows the true power of cryptocurrency. It’s more than just an investment tool. It has multiple real-life uses that can help the everyday lives of people around the world.
If the world knew what kind of real-life uses cryptocurrencies had, it could increase the possibility of mass adoption and as cryptocurrency enthusiasts, this is something we all want.