From Brazil to Nigeria, global crypto adoption is on the rise despite market uncertainty
One of the hallmarks of a crypto downturn is a steady drip (or deluge) of negative headlines, and this summer’s seen plenty already, from crypto prices plummeting to overextended crypto firms with liquidity issues. But this means promising developments, including the gradual rise of global crypto adoption, often fly under the radar. A new report from Boston Consulting Group indicated that one billion people could be crypto users by 2030; and for the past several months, countries in Africa, South America, and the Middle East have increasingly explored crypto tech. Let’s take a closer look at some key developments around the world.
Europe and Africa saw an increase in crypto venture deals in Q2, bucking a 22% global decline in venture funding last quarter. While Africa saw a 189% jump to $280 million in fundraises, Europe recorded a 25% spike to $1.8 billion, led by investors including Animoca Brands, Coinbase Ventures, and Polygon Studios, per The Block. The U.S., meanwhile, saw a 24% decline, but still led overall with $5.4 billion raised. (Check out Coinbase Ventures’ full Q2 recap.)
Honduras, Brazil, and Paraguay are expanding Latin America’s crypto footprint, nearly a year after El Salvador legalized Bitcoin. Paraguay’s senate passed a bill in mid-July that creates regulatory frameworks for crypto exchanges and miners (it now awaits the president’s signature). The bill could play a major role in attracting mining firms to Paraguay, which boasts cheap and renewable hydroelectric power. Meanwhile, Brazil’s largest crypto exchange, Mercado Bitcoin, is looking to expand operations in Mexico in the second half of the year as regulatory talks enter their final stages. And Honduras is experimenting with “crypto tourism” by turning the town of Santa Lucia into “Bitcoin Valley,” with 60 local merchants planning to accept crypto payments.
Africa, home to some of the world’s highest-inflation countries, has seen a flurry of crypto developments in recent months. Nigeria, which has the continent’s largest economy, has seen its citizens pile into crypto to shield wealth as they continue to lose confidence in the weakening Naira. Since becoming the second country after El Salvador to legalize Bitcoin this May, the Central African Republic last week launched Sango Coin, a national digital currency meant to attract foreign investment and boost the country’s mining sector (so far the token has had a slow start). Meanwhile in Kenya — which ranks fifth-highest globally in digital currency ownership — a climate activist sold NFTs to fund a 30-foot sculpture made from recycled plastics.
In the Middle East, Dubai announced a “Metaverse Strategy” which aims to add $4 billion to its economy over the next five years by quintupling the number of metaverse and blockchain companies and supporting 40,000 virtual jobs. The metaverse is also having a moment at global academic institutions. The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School is launching an online course called “Business in the Metaverse Economy;” The University of Tokyo will also begin offering similar courses; and The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology plans to build digital replicas of its campuses in the metaverse.
Why it matters… Just like it’s wise not to be overly optimistic during the frenzied hype of a bull market, it’s also important not to be excessively pessimistic during bearish downturns. In fact, smart investors will tell you that bear markets are inevitable — and are often when fortunes are built. During June’s crypto market crash, “Shark Tank” investor and crypto convert Kevin O’Leary remained bullish about the sector’s long-term future. One of the main reasons? “Look at an MIT graduating class of engineers,” O’Leary told Markets Insider. “The smartest people want to work on the [block]chain.”Coinbase Bytes: The countries leaning in to crypto