- In a study conducted by Chainalysis, Eastern Europe leads the charge among European Union countries in terms of Bitcoin adoption
- Between July 2019 and June 2020, Eastern Europe accounted for 12% of global cryptocurrency activity
- Ukraine and Russia ranked first and second in crypto adoption in Europe
- Regardless of differing crypto regulations in individual countries, the European Commission and European Central Bank have joined forces to create a digital Euro
The European Union contributes about 22% of all economic activity and 15% of the GDP of the globe, making it a key region for economic activity; naturally, this includes Bitcoin. As the price and popularity of Bitcoin rises, so has the adoption of the crypto. Understanding the impact this has on the economic powerhouse that is the European market, is essential.
European Countries Ranked in Bitcoin Adoption
According to data from Chainalysis, Ukraine and Russia rank first and second in Bitcoin adoption in Europe; Eastern Europe leads the region in Bitcoin adoption.
The data notes that between July 2019 and June 2020, Eastern Europe accounted for 12% of global cryptocurrency activity. Although the study was not limited to Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency accounts for a majority of all transactions.
During the 12 month period, $8.2 billion worth of cryptos was spent while $8 billion worth of cryptos was received in Ukraine. When adjusted on a population basis (not the total amount of transactions conducted) Russia ranked second, sending $16.8 billion and receiving $16.6 billion worth of cryptocurrency.
France, another leading country in Europe has taken an alternative route to Bitcoin. Although the region has largely adopted the use of Bitcoin, under French Law Bitcoin and other cryptos are not regarded as financial instruments. While these currencies are not legal tender, the ownership of such currencies isn’t illegal.
Conversely, countries like Germany and Ireland do qualify Bitcoin and other digital currencies as financial instruments. Italy has adopted the same stance, exempting crypto exchanges from VAT. The Maltese government sees Bitcoin and blockchain as an opportunity to bring investment and innovation to Malta, and has been vocal in its support of cryptocurrency.
Reasons for the High Adoption of Cryptos in These Regions
A study entitled “Trust in Russia’s Banking System” noted that 56% of Russians don’t trust banks, with much of the negative sentiment stemming from the nation’s economic crises in the 1990s. A similar result has been recorded in Ukraine.
The distrust of banks and/or government financial policies are some of the major reasons fueling Bitcoin adoption in these regions.
On the Flipside
- Regardless of the predominantly positive stance in Europe, some countries have taken a negative stance towards Bitcoin
- The Republic of North Macedonia has banned the use of Bitcoin
- North Macedonia is the only major European country that prohibits the use of cryptocurrencies
The Future of Cryptos in Europe
Cumulatively, the EU is regarded as the second-largest economy in the world, second only to the Asian economy. The future of Bitcoin and the entire crypto industry in Europe largely depends on shared regulations.
In January, DailyCoin reported that the European Commission and European Central Bank have joined forces to create policies, legal structures, and technical questions emerging from a possible introduction of a digital euro.