Developed as a principally decentralised means of exchange, cryptocurrencies continue to edge towards mainstream consumption, thanks, in no small part, to the global coverage the Bitcoin boom – when the value of the industry’s best-known digital currently exploded exponentially, minting a whole new demographic of millionaires almost overnight.
Once the plaything of those with deep pockets or niche computing knowledge, cryptocurrency trading has, for better or worse, become accessible to the everyman thanks to the emergence of smart trading software like Bitcoin Profit.
In 2018, the overall market capitalisation of cryptocurrency was estimated to be just shy of $250bn. If traditional consumer, retail and luxury sectors were not paying attention to the blockchain experiment early doors, they certainly are now, as crypto has edged further and further into the mainstream.
Much like early investors, industries and cultures which were quick to spot the potential of cryptocurrency are now beginning to reap the rewards. We identify some of the world’s most crypto-friendly cities, where local businesses are ready and waiting to exchange goods and services for your digital currency.
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Known as being one of the more progressive cities in Europe, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the picturesque city of Amsterdam makes our list.
Littered between canal routes and bicycles, nearly 100 merchants in the Dutch capital accept cryptocurrency as a means of payment, a number of them located on ‘Bitcoin Boulevard’.
The ‘Boulevard’ comprises of two canal-side streets of Bierkade and Groenewegje, with every outlet in the vicinity agreeing to begin accepting cryptocurrency at the same time back in 2014 – including several restaurants and an art gallery.
Amsterdam is also home to the Bitcoin Embassy – a networking group for the cryptocurrency community to club together in an attempt to advance the crypto cause. It seems to be working, as the city is well-known as a hub for start-up projects.
An affluent island city-state located in South East Asia, Singapore has benefited significantly from its less stringent regulations compared with its neighbours, and its local economy continues to grow. In fact, it is ranked fourth in the world for GDP per capita – behind only Qatar, Macao, and Luxembourg.
It should come as no surprise, then, that the local economy was a swift adopter of cryptocurrency – and its strategic and geographic position was bolstered when China banned initial coin offerings (ICOs) in 2017 – resulting in a number of crypto companies moving to the Lion City.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Towards the other end of the affluence scale, Buenos Aires, the capital city of South American country Argentina, turned to cryptocurrency as a necessity, as inflationary rates affected the country’s fiat currency, the Argentinian peso.
The result of the nation’s shift towards the relative stability of their cryptocurrency assets has seen the city’s local businesses and vendors swiftly adopt cryptocurrency transactions, with well over 120 merchants accepting Bitcoin as a regular means of exchange.
It has become a success story for the region and attracted investment and industry interest from outside of South America, which is vital for the local economy. The city hosted Latin America’s first Bitcoin conference – called ‘Bitcoin Day’ – and Athena Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency ATM vendor, has committed to supplying the city.
By some distance the smallest city on this list, with a population of just over 30,000, the Swiss settlement of Zug bats way above its average in the cryptocurrency community.
The city, which is located a little over 30km from Zurich, is a low-tax area, which has attracted tremendous investment from large fintech companies – particularly those with crypto interest.
Zug has become known colloquially as Crypto Valley as a result of its growing base of cryptocurrency businesses within the city – which include Ethereum, Dfinity, Bitmain and Libra.
The city has begun accepting cryptocurrency as a means of settling tax bills, as well as payment for government services.
San Francisco, United States of America
From Crypto Valley to Silicon Valley. Technological innovation rarely happens without influence from San Francisco, and cryptocurrency is no different.
Arguably the world’s leading digital innovation region, San Francisco is home to Coinbase – the English-speaking world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange platform, along with dozens of other companies which specialise in blockchain technologies – including Ripple, Chronicled, and ZenSoft.
The city boasts well over 50 ATMs which process cryptocurrency transactions, and nearly 200 retailers which accept crypto payments as standard.