There is no greater delight for many crypto enthusiasts than to see the real world application of the boundless possibilities that come with crypto adoption. Truth be told, there is a thrill in knowing that Bitcoin is here to stay, and that, despite the many hurdles along the way, the world will eventually fully embrace the use of crypto.
For the majority of people, it was difficult to envision a world in which we no longer need traditional fiat currencies, but then the world witnessed the adoption of Bitcoin as a legal tender in El Salvador in September, 2021.
Since then, the world has been undergoing a revolution; an increasing number of countries are now becoming more tolerant towards the adoption of cryptocurrencies and crypto payments alike. Just recently, the Central African Republic stormed past regional cryptocurrency front-runners Kenya and Nigeria to become the first African country to officially adopt Bitcoin as a legal tender.
Interestingly, while only two nations have recognized Bitcoin as legal tender to date, there are many other regions and local municipalities which, although they have not yet recognized them officially, have become hotspots for cryptocurrency payments.
In this article, we have carefully curated a list of the top 10 cities in the world where crypto payments are widely accepted. Without further ado, here are our top picks for major cities that are hotspots for crypto payments.
10. Lisbon (Portugal)
If you are headed to Europe with a digital wallet filled with cryptocurrency, then Portugal is the place to be. Arguably one of the most Bitcoin-friendly countries on the continent, Portugal has no specific regulations in place for crypto, enabling businesses and individuals to transact cryptocurrency based on personal preference.
Notably, the crypto-friendly country views cryptocurrencies as a form of payment, rather than as assets—hence why there are no taxes on crypto transactions in the country. As a result, many have hailed Portugal as a “crypto tax haven”, with individuals and businesses alike taking advantage of the opportunity.
In February, Didi Taihuttu and his family, popularly known as the “Bitcoin Family” relocated to Lisbon in an attempt to evade crypto taxes. Portugal, and all of its cities, is one of the last places in Europe to have a 0% tax rate on bitcoin.
The lack of regulation within the country makes it easy for visitors, as much as citizens and residents, to benefit from the country’s openness.
As the most visited city in Portugal, Lisbon has benefited greatly from the country’s relaxed approach to crypto payments, as such, there has been a growing record of crypto activities in the capital. According to Cointelegraph, citing Coinmap, over 50 merchants and retailers in the Lisbon area now accept bitcoin.
Interestingly, since there has recently been more awareness about the region as a “crypto haven” it would not be unexpected to see an upward trend in the number of businesses that accept crypto payments, and the same goes for crypto investments.
9. Paris (France)
Paris, widely considered one of the most romantic cities in the world, was one of the first in the region to start flirting with crypto payments. In November 2016, 25 shops in Passage du Grand Cerf, a hotspot for tourists, announced that they would start accepting payments in Bitcoin. This ultimately marked the beginning of mainstream adoption in the city—fast forward to today, and a wide range of businesses in Paris now officially support crypto payments.
8. Prague (The Czech Republic)
Prague is known for its old town square, the heart of its historic core, and has earned its spot on this list by virtue of the numerous Bitcoin vendors available there. Even in the country’s rural areas, there is a high density of businesses that accept bitcoin.
Zatec is a town in the county district of the Usti nad Labem region of the Czech republic. With over nineteen thousand inhabitants, it boasts more than one hundred businesses that accept BTC, including, but not limited to, cafes, bars, restaurants, online retailers, and hotels.
Prague, as just one of its many crypto-related achievements, is also home to Paralelni Polis, a crypto hub and the first institute of cryptoanarchy and Bitcoin cafes. The project combines art, social sciences and modern technology to form a coworking space located in the Holesovice district.
7. London (United Kingdom)
London, the capital of the United Kingdom and home to over 8 million people, is another well-known crypto payments hotspot. There is no doubt that London is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, so it was only a matter of time until cryptocurrency gained traction as a preferred means of payment for tourists.
Besides being a tourist hotspot, London, like Lisbon, does not have any specific cryptocurrency laws, but neither are crypto assets considered to be legal tender. On the other hand, the U.K. has recognized crypto assets as property, implying that they can be owned and taxed within the jurisdiction.
The benefit to this is that businesses and individuals can transact using crypto as a payment alternative without being penalized. Currently, the capital, home to the Queen, offers over 550 crypto-friendly businesses, and nearly 100 operational Bitcoin ATMs.
6. Vancouver (Canada)
In the heart of Canada, we find another crypto hotspot gem. Unlike some of the other entries on the list so far, Vancouver has been actively working to embrace virtual currencies, and is famous for the installation of the first operational Bitcoin ATM.
The city, with a population of nearly 700,000 people, was home to the infamous, now defunct, crypto exchange QuadrigaCX, which reportedly bailed with client funds worth over $180 million.
Nevertheless, considering that Quadriga’s parent company – Quadriga fintech solutions – was founded in 2013, it is clear that the citizens of Vancouver were some of the first to be introduced and exposed to crypto payment solutions.
Currently, there are more than fifty merchants that accept crypto payments in the city and its surrounding suburbs, with no fewer than 221 locations in which to buy bitcoin. It is also important to note that Vancouver, alongside Toronto, is one of Canada’s leading cities in terms of businesses that accepted cryptocurrency payments in 2021.
5. Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Amsterdam is a unique case in Europe and seems eager to facilitate the growth and adoption of crypto in the region, perhaps more than any other. The green city features a special location known as the Bitcoin Embassy, which acts as a community hotspot for Bitcoiners and newbies who want to share their business ideas and develop crypto startups.
Essentially, Amsterdam offers one of the biggest platforms upon which to grow crypto initiatives, providing businesses in the sector with ample opportunities to flourish. These forums are only made possible thanks to the lack of regulations explicitly prohibiting the use or trading of cryptocurrencies in the Netherlands.
It is for this reason that Amsterdam is considered by many to be a Bitcoin haven, and a great destination not only for tourists looking to spend their cryptocurrency, but for crypto event organizers and businesses alike.
The city has historically attracted high-profile Bitcoin events, dating as far back as the world’s first ‘Bitcoin Boulevard’ in March 2014.
2014 was also when the team behind Dutch startup BitStraat partnered with BitPay as part of an initiative aiming to make Amsterdam the capital city of cryptocurrency. The joint operation saw the installation of no fewer than 100 dedicated bitcoin payment terminals in brick and mortar stores in the city.
Today, there are 70 Blockchain in Financial Services startups in Amsterdam, as well as numerous other crypto businesses, and hundreds of Bitcoin ATMs, making it a top destination for crypto payments.
4. New York City (United States)
With roughly 20% of its population owning cryptocurrency in some capacity, the United States is certainly one of the biggest crypto payment hubs in the world. As a financial and tech hub of approximately 8.4 million people, it is only natural that New York would attract the interest of crypto enthusiasts and businesses alike.
Currently, there are hundreds of crypto businesses operating in the Big Apple, providing plenty of opportunities for people to spend their crypto at any one of the multitude of merchants stationed in the metro area. Notable destinations here include Bitcoin Stores in Lower Manhattan, and CryptoART in Morningside Heights.
Aside from being a hotspot for crypto enthusiasts, New York City is home to major crypto media establishments and brands like CoinDesk, CoinTelegraph, Decrypto, and many others.
The financial hub is also a key destination for some of the largest annual events in the crypto world, playing host to the likes of ‘Digital Asset Week (DAS)’, ‘New York Blockchain Week’, and ‘NFT.NYC’, among several others.
3. Madrid (Spain)
Madrid is known worldwide for many crypto attractions, one of which is the ‘Crypto Plaza’, a crypto technology startup incubator which offers co-working spaces, as well as technical infrastructure for applications running on the blockchain network environment.
Spain is reportedly home to over 1,200 companies devoted to creating alternative digital currencies, most of which are based in Madrid. Moreover, there are hundreds of businesses in Spain where crypto payments are officially accepted, and that’s not to mention the prevalence of Bitcoin ATMs throughout the region.
2. San Francisco (United State)
San Francisco stands beside New York as a prominent crypto leader in the United States. Of course, this is hardly surprising considering that the city is the capital of technology in the United States, so it is only natural that the city is home to prominent crypto exchanges like Coinbase and Kraken.
With its status as one of the most vibrant technology hubs in the world, San Francisco is home to over 100 crypto vendors such as restaurants, bars, and resort centers. The city also plays host to notable events like the ‘Fintech & Crypto Summit’, ‘ETH SF’, and many more.
San Francisco, with its population of around 880,000 people, boasts 65 Bitcoin ATMs, ranking it among the cities with the most globally.
1. San Salvador (El Salvador)
El Salvador is perhaps best known in crypto circles for adopting bitcoin as a legal tender, thereby making it a major hotspot and popular destination for all manner of cryptocurrency lovers. San Salvador, being the capital city of El Salvador, is naturally the most popular destination for tourists, making it a worthy addition to this list.
El Salvador has plans to establish a ‘Bitcoin City’ in the La Union region of the country, and, based on what has been revealed so far, Bitcoin City will be much more than just an exaggerated name for a simple retail mall; the Latin American country will be constructing a robust residential region, complete with homes, museums, entertainment infrastructure, bars, train stations, and even an airport.
San Salvador is a paradise for digital nomads and visitors who want to buy food, gasoline, and everyday shopping with bitcoin—in fact, nowadays it is nigh impossible to spend time in El Salvador without using bitcoin.