Development in the ongoing saga of Bitcoin and its many competitors and copycats in the $2.22 trillion global cryptocurrency market seems to never stop. Even so, just a tiny fraction of Americans actually have any practical and personal experience with it. Only single-digit percentages of people in the U.S. — like those in so many other rich, powerful, industrialized countries — owned or used cryptocurrency in 2020. Across the world, however, it’s catching on much more quickly.
Here’s a look at the countries whose populations are on their way to making cryptocurrency the rule, not the exception, in their national economies.
The Top Crypto Countries Are Not in America’s Neighborhood
Some of the most complete data on the subject come from Statista, which combined 55 different research reports from the Statista Global Consumer Survey to identify the countries where Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are most popular. The results reveal a clear trend. People from countries in Africa, Asia and South America are much more likely to own or use cryptocurrency than those in Europe, North America or Australia.
One Country Stands Out Above All the Rest
Africa’s largest economy is the king of cryptocurrency. In Nigeria, 32% of respondents — nearly 1 in 3 — report having used or owned one type of crypto or another in 2020. By comparison, just 6% of Americans reported the same.
According to Bitcoin.com, Nigeria’s unique culture and circumstances are fueling the trend. One of the biggest influencers is poverty, a condition suffered by 87 million of Nigeria’s 200 million people — and crypto transactions are cheap. Another reason for the trend is that Nigerians are much more likely to make payments and send money using their phones. Finally, double-digit inflation is the rule, not the exception, in Nigeria, and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which are capped to a finite number of coins, serve as a hedge against inflation.
A Look at the World’s Top 10 Crypto Countries
Nigerians are the most open to crypto trading and spending, but the country is hardly alone in its rapid adoption of what was a mostly unfamiliar novelty until very recently. Southeast Asia makes a strong showing and one country from Latin America breaks the top five, but the world’s most powerful countries with the biggest economies fall on the bottom half of the list. The world’s top 10 crypto countries, according to the Statista data, are:
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The US Is the World Headquarters of Bitcoin
Bitcoin is not currently the hottest cryptocurrency. The original and still-biggest digital coin grew by 113% in the first quarter of 2021, which should sound great to investors. That, however, is small potatoes compared to:
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Despite the current spotlight on the hottest-trending altcoins, America is the undisputed champion of the world when it comes to Bitcoin specifically. More than $1.52 billion worth of Bitcoin was traded on U.S. crypto exchanges in 2020, according to Statista. That’s more than three times more than the No. 2 country, Russia, where the equivalent of $421.38 million in trading volume took place. Nigeria wasn’t far behind with a little over $400 million. After that, it dropped way off to a little over $200 million in Europe.
Hundreds of Millions of People and Tens of Thousands of Businesses Use It
Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology company TripleA estimates that there are now more than 300 million cryptocurrency users across the world. The average crypto ownership rate by country is 3.9% and more than 18,000 businesses worldwide now accept some form of cryptocurrency as payment. About three crypto users in five are male, and no matter the country, users are more likely to be young and educated.
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Last updated: June 28, 2021
This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Which Countries Are Using Cryptocurrency the Most?