Asia is leading global cryptocurrency adoption among retail investors, with Vietnam, India, and Pakistan seeing the highest growth driven by peer-to-peer monetary systems, according to a new study by Chainalysis, a crypto analytics firm.
Worldwide, global crypto adoption has risen by more than 881% in the past year for various reasons, the study found.
For emerging markets, the growth was been spurred by the number of people turning to cryptocurrencies to preserve their savings amid a surge in inflation and to send and receive remittances from relatives overseas, the study said.
For more mature markets such as North America, Western Europe, and East Asia, the increasing adoption has been powered largely by institutional investors, the study added.
“In a year when cryptocurrency prices rose dramatically, each region’s respective reasons to embrace the asset class seem to have proven compelling,” the study said.
The 2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index of Chainalysis analyzed 154 countries and ranked them based on three metrics: on-chain cryptocurrency value received, on-chain retail value transferred, and peer-to-peer exchange trade volume. Each country was weighted to avoid skewing the results towards larger countries.
The top 20 countries were dominated by emerging markets in Asia and Africa such as Tanzania, Togo, Afghanistan, and the Philippines. The US and China slipped in ranking this year mainly due to a decline in peer-to-peer trade volume.
Peer-to-peer exchange, unlike the on-chain metrics, isn’t expressed on blockchains, the study said, but still makes up a significant percentage of all cryptocurrency activity. This is why the study ranked countries by their peer-to-peer trade volume to favor countries with lower purchasing power parity per capita and fewer internet users.
Often, countries with no centralized cryptocurrency exchanges use peer-to-peer platforms such as LocalBitcoins and Paxful, the study said, which is why many emerging markets made it to the list due to huge transaction volumes on those platforms.
“P2P platforms have a greater share of total transaction volume made up of smaller, retail-sized payments under $10,000 worth of cryptocurrency,” the study said.
The study eliminated one metric they used in 2020: the number of deposits by country weighted by the number of internet users. Chainalysis found this metric skewed rankings toward countries with comparatively more DeFi users.