I’ve been making a few internal lists of countries that appreciate and use bitcoin, for all types of different reasons. Of course this list will continue to grow!
via Bitcoin.com, Merkle, LiveBitcoinNews
Here are some of my notes currently:
Bitcoin Wallet: Surprisingly Popular in the Netherlands
This is a country that might be a contender for one of the most Bitcoin-friendly countries in the world. This is a country where people could literally pay for gas, medical care, and transportation using Bitcoin wallet currency, which is certainly not a privilege that people are going to be able to enjoy in even some of the other countries that love Bitcoin. Bitcoin merchants are plentiful in the Netherlands, particularly in the city of Arnhem. There are Bitcoin conferences, Bitcoin meet-ups, Bitcoin events, and nearly everything else related to Bitcoin in the Netherlands. People can really find a lot of like-minded people in the Netherlands when it comes to crypt-currency like Bitcoin, which will not be regulated there.
The United States
A lot of people are surprised to hear that the United States has jumped on the Bitcoin bandwagon, but this is certainly a society that has an eye for emerging trends. There are more crypto-currency users in the United States than there are anywhere else in the world. Bitcoin trading volumes are extensive in the United States. In certain parts of this vast country, such as Silicon Valley, there are even Bitcoin ATM’s. People who travel to the United States from other countries may be surprised at the Bitcoin wallet friendliness that they will be able to find there.
Ethereum in Canada
Many of the trends associated with the United States are also going to be associated with its neighbor to the North, Canada. Canada is ahead of the United States when it comes to some tech trends, such as online gambling. However, when it comes to Bitcoin and Ethereum, both of these countries are prospering. Canada is a good place for cryptocurrency investors, since there are lots of Bitcoin ATM’s and startups in Canada. Don’t forget, Vitalik Buterin created Ethereum and is from Canada. Vancouver and Toronto are great areas for digital currency users in particular. The crypto-currency community is thriving in Canada, and there are all sorts of different Bitcoin conferences being held in Toronto and other areas. The acceptance of Bitcoin merchants and Ethereum wallet users are on the rise as well.
South Korea is one of the technology capitals of the world. Mobile device penetration has been potent and powerful there, and lots of South Koreans choose to make mobile payments. This is very much an environment where something like Bitcoin would flourish, and this has already been happening there. Investing in Bitcoin is common in South Korea and lots of people are using it casually over the course of currency exchange. There are no laws in South Korea regarding Bitcoin use. Seoul holds Bitcoin conferences, and it looks like South Korea might be a pioneer when it comes to creating a society where a lot of people are going to have BTC packages of their own.
Australia is a world leader in online gambling, and people should be able to pay for some of their online gambling adventures using their Bitcoin wallet features. Double taxation on Bitcoin used to be a thing in Australia, but that has changed recently. Bitcoin itself is still unregulated in Australia. There are lots of Bitcoin exchanges all throughout Australia. The volume of Local Bitcoins has been on the rise for some time. Australia has always been a country that prioritized freedom, and the freedom associated with a Bitcoin wallet is going to appeal to a lot of the people of Australia.
The Scandinavian countries sometimes get stereotyped as being hostile to crypto-currency, but in fact, they are actually leaders when it comes to the development of a society that treats crypto-currency as normal. In spite of the fact that Finland is not exactly a hugely populated area, this is a country that has a lot of Bitcoin ATM devices. This is a country where some of the most expensive Bitcoin purchases have taken place, and it is clear that this is a trend that is on the rise there. Finland is certainly a great area for the people who are interested in making Bitcoin part of their lives, and not just as an investment. Sweden and Denmark are also very friendly to Bitcoin currency in a very real way, and this should make it easier for the people who plan to live in these areas. Norway isn’t quite on the level of Sweden, Denmark, or Finland, but Scandinavia is doing a good job of adapting to this new world overall. It’s a good area for a Bitcoin wallet.
The United Kingdom
There are going to be plenty of Bitcoin startups and Bitcoin ATM’s in the United Kingdom, which is one of the biggest financial hubs in the world and which certainly has a lot to offer the people who are interested in becoming part of a Bitcoin community. People are starting to buy coffee with BTC and Ethereum. The United Kingdom is actually taking the long view when it comes to Bitcoin, which is impressive and which is fitting for a society with so much history behind it. They are aware of the fact that Bitcoin and crypto-currency are going to become part of the new global society and they are aware of the fact that this is a currency that is going to become important in the context of every day transactions. They are trying to get ahead of the curve, and it seems that this is the case for them. A Bitcoin wallet can be good for United Kingdom visitors and residents, and it will be useful within their borders.
Hardly anyone will be surprised to find out South Africa is showing great interest in bitcoin right now. Although the country is doing “ok-ish” financially, there is always a need for innovative and digital payments. With access to bank accounts and credit cards still somewhat limited in the country, Bitcoin makes for a fine alternative. The LocalBitcoins chart does not show a massive spike in Bitcoin trades for now, but it still generates some decent volume.
It is somewhat interesting to see Eastern European countries grow an interest tin Bitcoin. Countries such as Slovenia are in rough shape right now, and it looks like things will not improve financially anytime soon. An interest in Bitcoin makes a lot of sense in this regard, that much is certain. Unfortunately, currently there is no LocalBitcoins chart of Slovenia available, making it a bit harder to gauge if there has been any recent trading volume spikes in recent months.
Another Eastern European country looking into Bitcoin is none other than Estonia. The country has been somewhat keen on embracing blockchain technology as of late, which could explain the increased demand for Bitcoin as well. It is evident the Bitcoin trading volume on LocalBitcoins across all of Europe has increased over the past few weeks. It is difficult to tell how much of this volume comes from Estonia, but it is a positive development regardless.
No one is surprised to see Ghana in the list of countries where Bitcoin demand is surging. Not only is the financial situation rather dire in that part of the world, but service like Bitpesa have also successfully gained market share in Ghana. This means Bitcoin is “advertised” prominently in the country, and a lot of people are aware of what this cryptocurrency can do for them.
Ghana does not have an individual LocalBitcoins chart either, although it is safe to say Bitcoin is quite prominent in the region. It will be interesting to see if this is the situation will change in the coming years. More countries are trying to introduce some form of Bitcoin legislation, which helps “validate” the cryptocurrency in the eyes of the general population.
There was no doubt Nigeria is the first region on the list where Bitcoin is in high demand. It is unclear if this is due to positive reasons, though. The MMM Global Ponzi scheme only accepts bitcoin deposits in Nigeria to avoid scrutiny by the government. This fact will drive up demand for Bitcoin, even if it is for the wrong reasons altogether. Then again, the popularity of Bitcoin in Nigeria can be turned into something positive moving forward.
Denmark is not only one of the most developed countries in the world in terms of living standards and technology, but it’s also at the forefront of the push towards eliminating cash in favor of 100% digital currency. Therefore, wide-scale adoption of digital currency is not a question of if, but when. But whether Bitcoin will be used as a means of exchange or an alternative to the central banking monopoly or both, remains to be seen.
What’s more is that the Danish Central Bank declared Bitcoin not a currency, stating that it will not regulate its use in the country. Denmark is home to a number of Bitcoin startups and exchanges such as CCEDK, which has been a prolific innovator in the crypto-space with recent releases of Bitcoin “3.0” technology and decentralized exchange.
Similar to Denmark, Sweden is also out in front in the race to eliminate cash. When factoring in the recent introduction of negative interest rates by the Swedish Riksbank, a surge in demand for bitcoins could become a reality in the not too distance future as citizens scramble to for safe haven to store their wealth.
The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen) have legitimized the fast growing industry in the country by publicly declaring Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) as a means of payment. Though certain businesses interacting with fiat (mainly exchanges) must file for a license in accordance with AML/CTF and KYC regulations.
Sweden is home to numerous Bitcoin startups including the Safello bitcoin exchange and Stockholm-based KnCMiner, a well-known mining hardware developer that has been producing cutting-edge ASIC miners since 2013. The LocalBitcoins volume has reflected continued growth in cryptocurrency demand.