Cryptocurrency has grown massively in popularity over the past few years, with more and more people choosing to invest in the digital currency. As of 2021, there were an estimated 300 million crypto users around the world.
And not just individual users, either – in fact, many businesses are starting to integrate cryptocurrencies into their operation. Improvements in crypto technology and its growing popularity mean that more companies are starting to use it for transactions, and it is now possible to purchase a variety of items using crypto payments.
With this in mind, Merchant Machine decided to conduct research into the global adoption of cryptocurrency by investigating which countries and cities have the highest growth in cryptocurrency use, as well as which types of businesses are accepting crypto as a method of payment via card payment machines or other online payment systems options.
USA, Ukraine and UK use the most crypto
Merchant Machine’s analysis considered several factors to calculate which countries around the world use the most cryptocurrency. For each country we looked at the number of crypto owners, the number of businesses that accept crypto payments, the number of Bitcoin ATMs available, and average search volume for a range of cryptocurrency-related keywords.
We also included data from the Global Decentralised Finance Index created by Chainanalysis, which demonstrates the growth in DeFi (decentralised finance) around the world. DeFi is a class of decentralised cryptocurrency platforms that are able to run autonomously, and are built on top of contract-enriched blockchains. DeFi is one of the most rapidly developing sectors of the crypto economy, so growth in DeFi adoption can tell us a lot about overall cryptocurrency usage.
Below is the full list of countries around the world that were analysed to calculate their crypto use, ranked from highest to lowest use based on an overall index score.
|C||City||Total number of crypto owners||Number of crypto owners|
(Percentage of the population)
|Global Decentralised Finance Adoption Index||Number of businesses that accept crypto payments - Cafe, shops, sports, transport, lodging||Number of Bitcoin ATMs||Monthly search volume of cryptocurrency terms||Overall Score (out of 10)|
Our research revealed the USA, Ukraine and the United Kingdom as the countries with the highest overall crypto use out of all those analysed.
The USA is one of the most powerful economies in the world, so it’s not surprising to see it top the list when it comes to cryptocurrency use. According to Chainalysis, “more Americans are devoting a higher share of their purchasing power to cryptocurrency than in nearly every other country.”
Ukraine has a far less powerful economy in comparison to the USA. It is ranked as the poorest country in Europe in terms of GDP per capita.
Ukraine’s emerging market may explain its high crypto use, especially when it comes to DeFi. Many emerging markets struggle with currency devaluation, which may push residents to invest in crypto as a way to preserve their savings. Residents of these countries may also be limited in the amount of money they are allowed to send out of the country, and cryptocurrency could allow them to overcome this and carry out international transactions.
Ukraine also ranks in the top three countries for number of crypto users, along with Russia and Venezuela. Venezuela has a very unstable currency thanks to the country’s socioeconomic crisis causing hyperinflation, which could definitely explain why so many of its residents are turning to cryptocurrency instead.
Crypto use to increase by 14.9% across the world by 2030
By investigating the percentage of people who either owned or used cryptocurrencies over the past three years in 50 different countries, we were able to predict the percentage who would be using crypto over the next three years.
Below is the list of countries, with the countries with the highest percentage of crypto users predicted for 2030 at the top.
|Percentage of people who either owned or used cryptocurrencies (%)||Prediction Data (%)|
|United Arab Emirates||20||10||13||4||-3||-21|
Nigeria is at the top of the list, with an estimated 100% by 2030. This means that if crypto use continues to grow at its current rate, the entire population of Nigeria will be using cryptocurrencies!
The popularity of cryptocurrency could be explained by the country’s poor economy making alternative currencies appealing. The devaluation of Nigeria’s currency, the naira, will likely continue to drive more and more Nigerian natives to invest in cryptocurrency instead.
The Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and India make up the rest of the top five, with rapidly growing use of cryptocurrency. These Asian countries are emerging markets, which may again explain the increased use of cryptocurrency.
Which companies allow purchases using crypto?
Many well known companies currently accept cryptocurrencies as a payment method, including Microsoft, Whole Foods, Lush, AT&T, Twitch and ExpressVPN.
Crypto users can also make luxury purchases such as jewellery and expensive watches. Online crypto luxury marketplace BitDials is a retailer of jewellery and watches that exclusively accepts crypto payments – the first of its kind.
Number of businesses accepting crypto around the world
We researched 26 countries to discover how many businesses offering different services – lodging, shopping, sports, transport and cafes/food – in the country’s capital city currently accept crypto as a method of payment.
The results are shown in the table below.
|Types + number of businesses accepting crypto payments|
|Country||City||Lodging||Shopping||Sports||Transport||Cafes + food||Total number|
|United States||Washington D.C.||0||1||2||0||3||6|
The capitals of Colombia, Venezuela and South Korea came out on top for the number of businesses accepting crypto payments.
In Bogotà, Colombia, an impressive total of 86 businesses accept crypto payments. Caracas, Venezuela came just behind at 58, and Seoul, South Korea totalled 47.
Shopping, cafes and food were by far the most common type of business offering cryptocurrencies as a payment method, with transport being the least common.
How to adapt to the changing payment landscape
The best way to adapt your business to the current crypto climate is to start accepting crypto payments from consumers. Using an online crypto payment service provider like Coinbase or Bitpay is the best way to go about this. Here are the benefits of adopting crypto payments for your business:
- Attracts a wider audience – Accepting cryptocurrency payments will attract crypto users to your business, potentially increasing your customer base.
- Faster transactions – Cryptocurrency transactions are processed much faster than traditional payment methods, so your business will receive funds more quickly. There are also no limits to the number of withdrawals you can make from your account.
- Removes the threat of fraud – Cryptocurrency is decentralised, which removes the threat of fraud or malicious activity as nothing tangible is being exchanged.
A potential drawback is that cryptocurrency payments are not easily implemented – it’s likely that you will need to hire someone with the technical knowledge to set this up for your business. However, given the growth in popularity of crypto payments, this could definitely be a worthwhile investment.
Sources and methodology
Bitcoin ATMs per country: https://coinatmradar.com/countries/
Number of businesses accepting crypto by city: https://coinmap.org/
Accommodations accepting crypto by city: https://www.travala.com/payment/bitcoin-btc
Percentage of people who owned or used crypto: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1202468/global-cryptocurrency-ownership/