Today, the cryptocurrency industry is undoubtedly huge. Over the past decade, crypto has become immensely popular as an investment option and alternative currency. But the use of cryptocurrency isn’t the same across the world. Some countries don’t allow crypto at all, while others have built a huge industry from it. So, which countries are currently using crypto the most?
1. The USA
The USA’s cryptocurrency market is currently one of the biggest globally, and it is legal to buy, sell, and spend cryptocurrency in the USA. So it’s no surprise that the market is growing each year.
A Pew Research study found that 16% of Americans say that they have invested in, used, or traded some form of cryptocurrency, while Gemini’s 2021 State of Crypto report puts that number at around 14%. While there is no exact figure, it’s believed between 30-50 million US citizens have engaged with crypto in some form, but there’s no knowing whether or not this number will double, triple, or halve over the next decade.
Perhaps most interestingly, Gemini’s research also found a huge number of “crypto-curious” US citizens. Some 63% of respondents indicated they hadn’t invested in crypto yet but were curious to learn more and plan to buy soon.
Though India’s relationship with cryptocurrency has been rocky over the past few years, with a total ban set in 2018 and struck down in 2020, its crypto market has grown massively to become one of the biggest in the world.
At the time of writing in 2021, the Indian cryptocurrency market is worth an estimated $5.39 billion, with the estimates on the number of crypto users ranging from lows of 15 million to 20 million to as many as 100 million users.
However, the Indian government is again reconsidering the presence of cryptocurrency across the country and believes it is a threat to India’s national currency, the rupee (and a potential Indian CBDC). As a result, there are now fears that a total ban on cryptocurrency will be reinstated on a country-wide level, but officials have not yet confirmed this.
Japan’s crypto market grew exponentially throughout 2021, with the amount of crypto being traded in the country increasing almost six times over between Autumn of 2020 and Winter of 2021. In the same year, it was found that only around 4% of Japanese residents have interacted with cryptocurrency in some way. However, this still amounts to around 6.29 million people, which is by no means an insignificant number.
While you could certainly say the rapid growth of Japan’s crypto market is impressive, some are now speculating that it may not always be this way. The tough regulations placed on crypto managers and the stability of the country’s national currency both play a role in the possible stunt of its crypto market’s growth. There’s no knowing how things will turn out in a few years, but it seems the Japanese government is keen on keeping its crypto industry contained.
Nigeria and cryptocurrency aren’t exactly the best of friends. The country’s government has placed bans on using crypto for banks and other financial institutions and released a statement [PDF] in early 2021 indicating that the use of cryptocurrency across Nigeria would be banned.
But this didn’t stop Nigerian residents from getting involved in the crypto industry. Nigerian online searches for “Bitcoin” and “Crypto” are so common that their frequency is now number one in the world.
Nigeria’s shocking inflation rates and the population’s general disdain for its government’s repressive attitude have contributed to this continued growth within its crypto market. In fact, the Nigerian cryptocurrency market has become one of the fastest-growing in the world.
Ukraine is certainly becoming a player to watch out for when it comes to the crypto game. Currently, over 5.5 million people within the country own cryptocurrency. That’s a shocking 12.7% of the total population and one of the highest rates of ownership worldwide.
The country is now even opening crypto mining plants, with a plan to open a facility near its Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and one near the Rivne nuclear plant in the west. The Ukrainian government certainly seems to be embracing the crypto market (even though it still isn’t legal to actually pay for goods or services using crypto within the country).
6. El Salvador
El Salvador takes the cake for its commitment to cryptocurrency among all others on this list. Its government has recently invested millions in Bitcoin after announcing it will now be accepted as legal tender.
The country’s president, Nayib Bukele, has announced that this decision has been made to alleviate the country’s citizens from having to pay high transaction fees when sending currency internationally to friends and family, which is pretty commonplace in El Salvador.
Additionally, given that almost three-quarters of El Salvadorians don’t have a bank account, conducting transactions using cryptocurrency should make things considerably easier for them.
Peru’s residents are certainly showing a keen interest in cryptocurrency, with 3.7% of the population claiming to currently own some assets (amounting to around 1.2 million people). What’s more, the country saw an 18.3% increase in crypto wallet use between June and July of 2020.
However, Peru’s government isn’t planning on letting things carry on without a little bit of intervention. Authorities have announced that investigations into cryptocurrency are currently being carried out for the appropriate laws and regulations to be put in place. This may spell trouble for Peruvian crypto owners, given that many believe crypto should remain unregulated.
8. The UK
The British cryptocurrency market is currently on the rise, with almost a million people claiming to own some kind of crypto asset. This ownership rate has risen six times over the past three years, indicating that more and more UK residents are interested in the crypto world. Given that crypto is totally legal in the UK, there are a lot of British citizens now looking to crypto as a solid investment. It’s no surprise that things are on the up for this particular market.
Currently, Vietnam has the second-highest rate of cryptocurrency use globally, despite crypto being made illegal throughout the country. Considerable fines and imprisonment are currently imposed for the use or trade of cryptocurrency, so it’s surprising that 6.1% of Vietnamese residents own some form of it.
There’s also a lot of online Vietnamese traffic on crypto sites, so much so that Vietnam currently ranks fifth in the world for accessing crypto-related online platforms. With almost 60% of Vietnamese individuals showing an interest in owning cryptocurrency, it seems its crypto market will be continuing to grow in the future.
Though cryptocurrency has been totally banned in China, residents aren’t willing to get with the program. Nevertheless, Chinese residents are continuing to invest in cryptocurrency, despite the government making constant efforts to remove its presence from the country entirely in an effort to keep the economy under state control.
However, this isn’t to say that investors keep their precious crypto funds within the country. Billions of dollars in crypto are being moved out of China so that investors can keep their money safe from the government. And, not all of these international crypto transactions are legal, with some exceeding the maximum amount allowed to be moved. Time will tell how this ban will play out for both the Chinese government and civilians.
Who Knows What Country Will See a Crypto Boom Next
With more and more countries seeing an increase in cryptocurrency ownership and usage, there’s no telling which country will rise in the crypto ranks next. It seems that even bans and restrictions aren’t stopping people from buying and selling crypto, so it’s anyone’s guess who the market giants will be in a few years from now. Crypto, by nature, is unpredictable after all!