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U.S. lags 5x behind Nigeria in crypto penetration but tops 2020 Bitcoin trading volume

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Last year was an incredible year for cryptocurrencies laying the foundation for Bitcoin’s current rally as more people learned about digital assets.

According to data researched by Trading Platforms UK, only 6% of Americans owned or used cryptocurrencies in 2020. The figure is at least five times less compared to top-ranking Nigeria at 32%.

Vietnam ranked second at 21%, followed by the Philippines at 20% while Turkey is fourth at 16%. Peru is sixth with 16% of people having owned or used cryptocurrencies last year. Other countries with high digital asset usage include Switzerland (11%), China (6%), Germany (5%), and Japan (4%).

The U.S. leads in Bitcoin trading volume 

The report also estimates Bitcoin transaction volume on online exchanges across 2020 where the United States tops at $1.52 billion, followed by Russia at $421.38 million. Nigeria ranks third at $400 million. Europe (rest of) is fourth at $204.4 million with the United Kingdom capping the top five at $193 million.

Other countries that recorded a significant number of Bitcoin trading volume include Colombia ($147.49 million), Kenya ($91.96 million), South Africa ($87 million) and Canada ($65.56 million)

The analysis explains some of the driving factors behind the Bitcoin trading volume. According to the research report:

“Following the economic crisis that resulted from the pandemic, with the stock market collapsing during Q1 2020,  most investors turned to Bitcoin. During the year, the asset largely remained resilient even as the stock market collapsed globally. Developing countries like Nigeria also recorded a significant Bitcoin trading volume mainly motivated by the fact that these countries witnessed a devaluation of their local currencies compared to the dollar.”

Over the years, more people have become aware of the asset, with regulators making efforts to define the crypto sector clearly. Worth mentioning is that some countries have recorded a significant cryptocurrency awareness, but the legal topic remains a challenge.

Factors propelling Nigeria’s crypto awareness

Nigeria’s rise in cryptocurrency usage in 2020 is linked to several factors like the country’s economic situation alongside the high cost of remitting money. Following the COVID-19 pandemic and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) devaluation of the local currency, more people actively considered cryptocurrencies as a form of storing wealth.

Additionally, Nigeria’s protests condemning police brutality also saw most people turn to cryptocurrencies. This is after the government targeted bank accounts of protestors and banned them while Nigerians living in the diaspora sent support to the protestors through cryptocurrencies.

One important aspect to note is the ownership and use of cryptocurrencies in Nigeria remains behind the scenes. Most crypto holders in Nigeria are not eager to publicize digital assets due to the region’s shaky regulatory framework. Interestingly, the country has several local platforms that support purchases and sales of cryptos with the national currency.

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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