From South Africa to Latin America, developing countries currently top cryptocurrency usage

NEW DELHI: The rallying cry for using cryptocurrency in the West and Europe could well be about investing in the most lucrative and stable digital asset for long-term investment.
But in developing countries, with a shifting economy, people resort to cryptocurrency in dire economic conditions, for sending diaspora remittances or seeking financial relief from spiralling unemployment.
Separate surveys – conducted by Statista in March 2021 and Finder and Chainalysis in August 2021 – on cryptocurrency ownership, adoption and usage ranked such developing countries among the top 20.
Nigeria in South Africa, Vietnam and Philippines in SouthEast Asia and Venezuela and Argentina in Latin America were key names thrown up by the survey.
Here are their stories:
Nigeria:
This country had the highest cryptocurrency usage at 32 percent according to the Statista global survey in March 2021.
Stiff regulations and high fees charged on inflowing remittances, made cryptocurrency the obvious choice of Nigerian expatriates for sending money across borders to their families.
Strangely, Nigeria’s official records showed a consistent and sharp decline in the remittances inflow from $2.5 billion in January 2021 to $54.4 million in September 2021.
However, remittances kept coming in through the private cryptocurrency services. Currently the government plans to launch its own e-naira for replacing cryptocurrency.
Vietnam:
The economic crisis of this country pales into insignificance in comparison to its indomitable zeal for prospering through cryptocurrency services. It was ranked top in the Chainalysis Adoption Index.
Earlier Vietnam’s cryptocurrency usage was dominated by the need to send remittances to families for support, while now it’s being diverted for future investment.
In September 2021, Vietnam saw a resurgence of crypto mining activity and demand for mining rigs with the price rises of altcoins and Bitcoin. However, crypto mining is still not a regulated activity in Vietnam.
Philippines:
The Philippines is among the top five countries in the world to receive remittances from overseas according to the World Bank, with an annual remittance of $32.5 billion.
Acknowledging the impact of cryptocurrencies in revolutionizing the country’s diaspora remittances and fundraising opportunities, the Central Bank of Philippines approved several crypto exchanges to operate as remittance and transfer companies in the country. The cryptocurrency adoption increased here for both investment and income generation.
Fillipinos also constitute 40 percent of over 1 million Axie Infinity gamers. In the face of rampant unemployment post-pandemic, many locals looked up to this as an economic opportunity. Axie Infinity, a crypto-based play-to-earn game, provided relief to the jobless in the Philippines, Brazil and Venezuela.
Venezuela:
Sky-rocketing inflation in 2020, below $10 minimum wage, and cheap electricity of Venezuela have collectively propelled the crypto boom in this country.
Cryptocurrencies are an easy and affordable way for the 5 million Venezuelan diaspora to send remittances home.
Cheap power has ushered in flourishing crypto mining activity. Crypto mining has been a regulated activity in Venezuela since November 2020. For those who cannot purchase costly mining machines, getting into the Axie Infinity crypto game through scholarships is another route.
Argentina:
This Latin American country languishing in 45 percent inflation, 42 percent poverty and 9.9 per cent GDP contraction in 2020, gained 2 million cryptocurrency users by May 2021. Argentinians have sought refuge in cryptocurrency services and trading from these economic woes.
Colombia at 11th and Brazil at 14th in the Chainalysis cryptocurrency adoption index have also geared up for cryptocurrency usage, hedging against various economic problems in these countries.
(For the latest crypto news, investment tips and real-time price updates, follow our Cryptocurrency page.)

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