At a glance, one might be driven to believe that the crypto world is almost exclusively powered by the West. The U.S. has largely spearheaded the sector in terms of regulation and innovation, with the U.K. trailing in its attempts to introduce cryptocurrencies to the masses. Yet a recent study from blockchain project Onfo paints a somewhat different picture of crypto adoption than what market watchers might expect.
The survey included 700 participants from the U.S., Great Britain, Germany, China, Russia, Indonesia, and Brazil. The Russian category of participants encompassed the entirety of CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries from the former Soviet Bloc, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. In an attempt to understand how and where cryptocurrencies have spread throughout Q2 2020, Onfo analyzed organic crypto adoption in each of the countries through wallet creation.
As the study showed, a single crypto user from any of the CIS countries drives an average of 62 people to create their own wallet and therefore become part of the industry. Indonesia, Brazil and China had similar results, where one crypto user will “bring into the fold” 58, 56 and 53 people from the region, respectively. In quite the stark contrast, every new wallet created in the U.S., Germany and the U.K. winds up creating 17, 6 and 8 wallets, respectively.
That’s not to say Westerners’ adoption of crypto is sluggish, but it sheds light on quite a few things and perhaps dispels a few myths along the way. While one might associate a high-tech asset like cryptocurrencies with developed countries, Onfo’s study isn’t the first to show that there can be plenty of interest even in the absence of a crypto-friendly infrastructure. Previous research by CoinMarketCap showed that India, Pakistan, Colombia, Canada, and Nigeria are the countries with the biggest user growth as of late. Similarly, Arcane Research and Luno reported that several African countries consistently rank among the top 10 nations when it comes to search queries involving Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Many of these countries face deep-rooted issues with their government or their currency that drives them to seek safety and accessibility. But necessity likewise isn’t the sole driver. Slovenia, a member of the European Union whose national currency is the euro, is now home to more than 1,000 brick-and-mortar establishments that accept cryptocurrencies as a method of payment. Regardless of one’s views on how well the Russian economy is doing, it’s also worth noting that the nation has recently opened its doors to cryptocurrency investment and trading.
For some, hearing that people in developing countries are driving crypto adoption while many of the top Western merchants have yet to include a crypto payment gateway in their store might invoke a feeling of confusion. Nonetheless, the knowledge that people from all over the world understand the value and utility of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies should more than make up for it. It’s just a matter of time before the rest of the world catches up.