There are millions of people around the world using cryptocurrencies. Some of them have simply acquired some Bitcoin years ago and have never done anything else with it than holding. Some of them have been actively trading and working hard to acquire more and more cryptocurrencies. Some of them have been using cryptocurrencies as a form of payment. One thing that most of these people have in common, they believe in alternatives to the financial systems that we’re used to believing in. It’s a fact that the revolution has already started years ago and the widespread adoption is slowly occurring. In some countries, the financial systems are simply way better and developed than elsewhere. This can be seen in the graphic below. In June 2019, these numbers were published on how common the use of cryptocurrencies are around the world. We’ll have a look at why these specific countries and what is happening in their industries.
5. South Africa
On the number five spots on popularity regarding cryptocurrency use in the world, there is South Africa. It’s the country that’s the most south in the African continent. Africa counts 54 countries and is next to Asia, the most populated and biggest continent out there. When most western people think about Africa, a picture is painted of an undeveloped continent where tribes are still a common thing. Little is true about this, Africa is a truly emerging continent with loads of entrepreneurs coming from this area. The GDP is set to grow more than the annual growth of the world, with 3.6% in comparison to 3.3% worldwide. This shows how Africa as an entire continent is growing and how much opportunity there is.
South-Africa is the second-largest economy in Africa, slightly coming in second place after Nigeria. Where the Nigerian economy has been focused more towards the energy market, South-Africa has an emerging tech & finance sector that’s on the verge of breaking out. Parts of this sector will dedicate its resources towards developing more and more on the cryptocurrency front. The South-African Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, has announced that South-Africa is officially researching blockchain and cryptocurrency. They have established a working group to explore the opportunities and see how cryptocurrencies can help the country.
In Argentina, the fourth on the list in terms of popularity, it’s a little harder to see why cryptocurrencies are playing a bigger role in the country. Going back years, we have seen the decrease of their national currency, the Argentinian Peso. As an alternative to this, people started looking for alternatives and have found so in the US dollar, but also in cryptocurrency. In August, the currency dropped by more than 30 percent in one day, the same day that prices went up for Bitcoin in the country. You might wonder, how did no one notice outside of Argentina? Well, especially the volume on LocalBitcoins jumped up, the place where you can meet up with people to acquire Bitcoin, instead of having to deal with online exchanges.
One of the reasons for this is the resistance by central banks. The biggest banks in Argentina announced that they will block the possibility to perform bank transfers to purchase cryptocurrency with bank- or credit cards. This is one of the reasons the Bitcoin ATMs have seen a big increase in popularity in Argentina.
On the third spot, we find Colombia, a country that has seen many controversy over the years. It’s a country that is widely known for their culture, warm people but also the horrible acts of drug-lord Pablo Escobar. The reason for bringing this up is the fact that his brother, Roberto Escobar attempts to create his own version of Bitcoin. He is not the only person that is interested. Numbers have shown a strong increase in popularity for cryptocurrency in Colombia. One of the reasons is the search for short-term liquid investment options, says Montoya, a Colombian economist. The other option could be, the black market that is still present in Colombia and playing their part in the surge in cryptocurrencies.
Besides the use of companies and customers, the authorities in Colombia have expressed their interest in the technology. It’s the perfect way of battling against the corruption that has been surrounding the country for many years and could just be a selling point in upcoming elections. Blockchain technology can bring a lot of transparency to a country that has been under the control of central organizations for years, that might be one of the reasons there is so much demand for cryptocurrency.
As the biggest country of Latin-America, it also has the people living in the country. There are 212 million inhabitants spread across one of the largest countries in the world. One thing that is very interesting, the average age in Brazil is 32, which is extremely young in comparison to some other countries. As we’ve seen in surveys before, cryptocurrencies are far more popular with young people than with the older, often more conservative, people. One thing young people love these days are mobile phones. The mobile usage in Brazil is one of the biggest in the world and that’s one of the reasons we see a big increase in mobile solutions to the banking problem. There are tons of people in Brazil that do not have bank accounts, but they do have mobile phones. With mobile phones, it can be easy to download a wallet application, the application for an exchange or take part in airdrops for example.
Some statistics about brazil and cryptocurrency;
- 40% of the people owning cryptocurrency earn below the minimum wage
- 92% of the crypto users are male
- 40% of crypto holders are 20–25 years old
- Bitcoin trade volume has exceeded the gold trading volume
Turkey might be the biggest surprise on this list. We have seen many news reports on many different countries using cryptocurrency, but Turkey has not been one of them. In reality however, this popularity in cryptocurrency use is not out of nothing. In 2015, a survey was done by ING and 45% of Turkish people had shown their belief in digital currencies in being the future of payment. Combine this with the fact that the Turkish lira has devalued multiple times in the past, you can understand that the Turkish inhabitants are looking for alternatives. There was one blockage however, the government. First, the government expressed their thoughts on Bitcoin, stating it is not in line with Islam and should be forbidden. However, the Turkish government has been a controversy for many years with several attempts of coups and an authoritarian leader like Erdogan.
This year though, the minister of industry and Technology announced his plans to establish a national blockchain. The blockchain will be the host of many decentralized applications in order to promote transparency and innovation in Turkey. The goal here is to make Istanbul one of the financial capitals of the world. When you think of finance, you should be thinking of Istanbul.
As you can see, cryptocurrency is alive all over the world. We still have a long way to go, but the developments and recognition by all of these countries is incredible. Curious to find out what is happening in your country in terms of regulation and development, go ahead and find out! It’s always important to be aware of your situation and see what you should be doing.
Originally published at https://changenow.io on December 14, 2019.