With around 300 million users as of 2021, crypto is more ubiquitous than ever. That being said, there’s still plenty of room for crypto to grow and spread worldwide; despite the growing numbers, 300 million crypto users is only 4% of the world’s population.
In a recent survey that evaluated dozens of countries according to crypto usage, five countries stood out with at least 16% adoption.
One key factor in driving mass adoption of crypto is the availability of stablecoins such as BUSD that act as a bridge between fiat and crypto.
When the history books get written in the next several years, there’s a good chance that most of them will identify the year 2021 as the inflection point towards the global adoption of cryptocurrencies. As of this year, around 300 million people worldwide have owned or used crypto at some point in their lives, according to a recent estimate from blockchain technology company TripleA.
What Changed in 2021?
This year, we saw several catalysts that drove crypto adoption and recognition to its recent heights.
1. All-Time Highs for Bitcoin and Altcoins
In 2020, Bitcoin experienced a pandemic-fueled flash crash that cut its price to below $4,000, before recovering and breaking past a -$20,000 high to close out the year. The record high of 2020 was, however, just a prelude to a swift rally that elevated BTC’s price to above $60,000 in May. This recent boom has fueled similar levels of growth for other altcoins, driving and motivating more people to the world of crypto. 2. Crypto Innovations: DeFi, NFT, and More
Adding to the momentum that Bitcoin created, more people were attracted to crypto because of the new innovations that were introduced, such as blockchain-fueled solutions like DeFi (decentralized finance), NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and more, opening new avenues within the crypto industry.
3. Institutional Adoption
The prominent presence of institutional investors is the key difference between this year’s rise in popularity and the short-lived crypto boom of 2017. Several companies, like Tesla, Square, and MicroStrategy began declaring Bitcoin reserves, while payment and fintech companies began incorporating crypto into their services. At least one country, El Salvador, has begun adopting Bitcoin as legal tender.
4. General Adoption
Ultimately, the crypto industry owes its rise to the growing number of people who started trading, buying and using crypto in their everyday lives. According to TripleA, more than 18,000 businesses worldwide have accepted crypto payments at one point, from mom-and-pop shops to global companies like Tesla, further emphasizing how demand for crypto creates further adoption.
Is This The Peak Or The Start of Things to Come?
While the presence of 300 million global crypto users seems like an impressive feat, it’s still a far cry from the global monetary system that the crypto industry envisions for the world. For example, at Binance, our mission is “freedom of money,” a universal goal that sees crypto adoption reach all parts of the world.
To give further context on how 300 million is still not enough, that figure is just 3.8% of the world’s population (7.9 billion) or 5.8% of the total people on earth between the ages of 15 to 65 (5.1 billion). The good news is that crossing those percentages in terms of global usage is a significant feat that moves Bitcoin and blockchain technology past the innovation stage and into the early adoption stage.
To recap, the technology adoption curve stipulates that global adoption of new technology like blockchain happens in five stages. At the first stage, only 2.5% of people try the new technology, the innovators or pioneers. Once you cross that threshold, you begin to get early adopters or the next 13.5% of the global population. Get past that, and you have the next 34% to introduce blockchain to, in order to hit majority usage.
Once crypto hits 50% usage around the world (2.55 billion people between 15 and 65 years old), it will become one of the widest-used technologies in the world. For context, Google has nearly 4 billion users, while Facebook has almost 3 billion users.
Top Five Countries for Crypto Adoption
Beyond demographics, we can also assess crypto adoption on a per-country basis. Due to several factors existing in each country around the world, from economic to regulatory, there are countries that are more ahead of the curve in terms of crypto usage. We’ve highlighted these countries below, with rankings based on a recent survey by Statista.
1. Nigeria - 32%
Topping the list is the African nation of almost 200 million people, mainly on the younger, more tech-savvy side. With most Nigerians adept at sending money and paying through their phones, almost a third of Nigerians surveyed by Statista have used or owned crypto at some point. 2. Vietnam - 21%
This economically fast-rising Southeast Asian nation of nearly 100 million has also seen huge demand in crypto, with activities varying from trading and P2P to payments and other utilities. According to Chainalysis, crypto traders raked in $400 million in crypto earnings in 2020.
3. Philippines - 20%
Another Southeast Asian country with an economic and demographic situation similar to Vietnam’s, the island-nation has shown that it is adept at adopting crypto. The country’s central bank has provided licenses to crypto companies, while its government is distributing bonds through a blockchain app. On the grassroots level, the nation is becoming a hotspot for blockchain-based play-to-earn games.
4. Turkey - 16%
At the crossroads of Europe and Asia, in this country, crypto companies have become so big that they sponsor national football teams, while football clubs also offer blockchain-based fan tokens. Some Turkish people have gone on the record to say Bitcoin is their primary alternative for investment, which is unsurprising given that the nation recorded $300 million in Bitcoin gains last year.
5. Peru - 16%
Latin America has been a hotbed for crypto adoption, with countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela seeing major activity on the crypto front in response to their respective economic situations. While at least six Latin American countries saw crypto adoption reach percentages in the double digits, Peru is the most advanced of these nations.
BUSD: Helping The World Adopt Crypto
While increased crypto adoption in the countries highlighted above can be attributed to several factors endemic in their regions, one global factor that has become underrated is the increased convenience in converting local currencies to stablecoins and other cryptocurrencies. As a major player in this convenience factor, BUSD has helped facilitate the transition to crypto for more than a million crypto users.
BUSD is a 1:1 USD-backed stablecoin issued by Paxos and approved by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). BUSD has grown into one of the top 10 cryptocurrencies around the world, ranking No. 3 among all stablecoins , with a market cap now nearing $12 billion, less than a month after hitting its $10 billion milestone .
Here are five reasons why BUSD holds a key role in increasing crypto adoption around the world:
1. Trusted by Millions
About 1.1 million people already hold BUSD, with 63% of them holding BUSD on-chain on the Binance Smart Chain. This means that thousands of people trust BUSD as their stablecoin of choice for blockchain-based decentralized finance (DeFi) solutions, as well as several other platforms worldwide, including 30+ crypto exchanges, 20+ wallets, 400+ decentralized apps, and hundreds of use cases.
2. High Compliance Standards
As a 1:1 US dollar-backed stablecoin issued by Paxos and approved by the New York State Department of Financial Services, BUSD adheres to strict compliance standards, including monthly audits. This makes BUSD a pre-approved digital asset for custody and trading by any of the NYDFS’ virtual currency licensees, increasing users’ sense of security while using the stablecoin.
3. Banking the Unbanked
Financial inclusion is a challenge to developing nations, including the five countries we mentioned above. BUSD’s role as a bridge between traditional finance and DeFi ultimately serves Binance’s “freedom of money” mantra. As the hurdles of conventional finance continue to linger(near-zero interest on savings, inflation, etc.), stablecoins like BUSD open up new opportunities for people disconnected from the global economy to find alternative ways to earn from their assets.
4. Unlocking New Opportunities
Speaking of DeFi and earning , BUSD offers attractive APYs (annual percentage yields) for DeFi services like yield farming and liquidity pools. Through the use of BUSD, crypto users can safely record gains while protecting themselves from fiat-related uncertainties and crypto-heavy DeFi products that offer high risks alongside high rewards.
5. Zero Fees
In line with the “freedom of money” mission, Binance offers zero transaction fees on four trading pairs with BUSD, zero maker fees on all BUSD trading fees and zero fees on BUSD withdrawals using Binance Smart Chain. At Binance, we go the extra mile to ensure more users adopt crypto without worrying about additional payments.
Conclusion: Innovation and Cooperation for Global Adoption
Ultimately, mass crypto adoption will require a combination of global innovation and cooperation. At Binance, we believe in facilitating adoption in a healthy way through proactive collaboration with local regulators and leading the industry to a common destination—a safe and secure crypto experience for all users. In a recent virtual press conference, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) said, “Our view is that it's great for the regulators to be coming in... to get to 10%, 20%, 80%, 99% [crypto] adoption.”
As we help expand the use of crypto to more people, we will continue to prioritize user security, including user education and protection campaigns, heightened security measures, and a stable and regularly-maintained platform. In addition to BUSD, Binance has developed numerous innovations that facilitate further adoption, such as Binance Card and Binance Pay, and unlock new ways to use crypto and blockchain, such as Binance NFT and the community-led Binance Smart Chain.
While crypto continues to empower more individuals to take advantage of formerly unavailable financial opportunities, Binance will continue to help drive the growth of crypto, through crypto services like BUSD, into a world-changing technology as essential to the world as Facebook and Google.
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Note: This article does not endorse any cryptocurrency and should not be considered as outright investment advice, but as a jump-off point on your way to forming your own research and conclusions. Binance is not responsible for any result that emerges from your independent trading activities.