Forbes Surveys Top Bitcoin Cities
Despite the presence of hundreds of altcoins on the quickly-growing market of cryptocurrency trade, Bitcoin remains the leader of the cryptocurrencies by a sizable margin. This is evident both from the price of the currency and the relative trade volume per day, which is much higher in Bitcoin than even the closest-following cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash. Despite this, it is still very hard for a holder of Bitcoin to translate the currency into real-world spending power.
This is clearly a problem for mass adoption. If the cryptocurrency community wants to see more average people adopting the cryptocurrency over fiat money, it is necessary that regular businesses and merchants also begin accepting the alternative form of payment. Though the benefits for businesses include lower transaction rates and the possibility of profit from growing prices, a number of obstacles make it harder for some municipalities’ businesses to adopt BTC as an official accepted way to pay.
Despite these obstacles, some places in the world are still much better for those who own Bitcoin than others. Some countries and jurisdictions make it much easier to use the popular cryptocurrencies, while others work to strangle the presence of the alternative digital currency within their area. The decision for Bitcoin owners is a relatively important one; the wrong place to live may render their preferred currency useless and open them up to a host of hassles in day to day life.
Forbes recently conducted a study to try to find the most embracing cities in the world for Bitcoin. Their comprehensive list finds the ten highest-usage cities in the world for Bitcoin, and then goes on to make some interesting conclusions about the way the currency is being used.
While the global mass adoption of cryptocurrencies may be far off, even for Bitcoin, the cities on this list are some of the most embracing towards Bitcoin, providing the most opportunities to spend, use, and trade the currency within their borders.
It isn’t easy to conclude which countries are objectively the best to owners of Bitcoin. But in order to come up with this list, Forbes recorded the total number of Bitcoin-accepting businesses. While this is not a perfect system, it should provide some helpful insights into how Bitcoin is growing in acceptance, as well as what parts of the world continue to establish themselves as hot spots for Bitcoin.
Top Hot Spots
Almost surprisingly, Prague within the Czech Republic takes the top spot for having the most companies within its city that accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. Czech companies are very interested in accepting Bitcoin, and the government has been largely accepting of cryptocurrency ventures within the country, a trend which has helped to spur enormous growth in the past year.
South America was another relative surprise on the list, with several countries on the continent boasting heavy involvement with cryptocurrencies within the private sector. Buenos Aires is the city from South America which did the best, taking the second spot on the list of cities with the most Bitcoin-accepting vendors. The Argentinian country has a massive number of hot spots accepting Bitcoin as a way to pay.
San Francisco was third on this Bitcoin list, which is pretty unsurprising given the heavy influence of technology within the economy of the city. San Fran has consistently been at the forefront of technological trends and innovations, so it was expected that the city would be very accepting of the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
The final two cities in the top five list were Madrid in Spain and New York City within the U.S. These two economic powerhouse cities were shoe-ins for this particular list, especially given the prominence of their private sector and their willingness to engage in the adoption of new and exciting financial technologies.
One notable takeaway from the top ten list is that it did not include any countries from the Middle East, Asia, or Africa. This could be due in part to stricter laws regarding the possession and use of cryptocurrencies, but it is interesting given the heavy presence of startup companies on the blockchain in India and China. Their absence on this list suggests that perhaps there is little correlation between startup progress and individual acceptance of cryptocurrency technologies.
There could also be a logistical and governmental cause for the discrepancy. This is evidenced by the trends from some countries like Switzerland. While regulators have opened their country to cryptocurrency businesses in the past year, local governments remain disinterested in making things easier for their citizens to use the currency in their day-to-day lives. This means that, while Switzerland remains a hub of financial activity for new blockchain startups and cryptocurrency trading, Swiss citizens are less likely to be able to use their currencies to purchase daily items.
Another interesting takeaway from the study was that there seems to be an unexpected level of Bitcoin involvement in the rural areas of hot spots. Though one would expect that urban areas would dominate, this study actually found that many places have similar levels of Bitcoin acceptance in rural and small-town areas as compared to bigger, urban parts of the city.
An Alternative to Inflation
Another thing to note from the study is that countries that are experiencing heavy inflation and associated economic problems are more likely to look to the adoption of Bitcoin as a potential solution to their financial issues. Notable examples of this trend include Zimbabwe, Argentina, and Venezuela, all of which continue to embrace the cryptocurrency as a way to protect against quickly-inflating currencies.
A Truly Global Currency
The largest conclusion to be drawn from this study and list is the global presence of the currency. In nearly every country of the world, there is now at least one place that an owner of Bitcoin can use their alternative currency to contribute to the overall economy of their jurisdiction. This was not always the case for Bitcoin. Though the currency is the largest alternative currency in the world, this kind of global acceptance is largely new.
This study should reignite the dream of mass adoption for the optimistic cryptocurrency investor or community participant. Rife with adoption all over the world for a variety of reasons, Bitcoin is on the way up—and truly a global currency.