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Bitcoin ATM Study: U.S. Most Ready for Broad Crypto Adoption

In brief

  • The U.S., Cyprus, and Singapore are the top three countries for cryptocurrency adoption, according to a new survey.
  • Researchers examined the number of ATMs, legal policy, and Google searches for crypto, among other metrics.

The U.S. has come first in a new study that examines how prepared countries are to adopt Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. 

The research, by educational platform Crypto Head, looked at 200 countries and analyzed their readiness to accept cryptocurrencies using metrics including the number of crypto ATMs in each country and their accessibility; governmental legal stance on the ownership of cryptocurrencies; whether or not crypto assets are accepted by banks and the number of online searches for cryptocurrencies.

The data, published on Thursday, covers the period May 2020 to April 2021, combining the scores for all of the categories to emerge with a ‘crypto-ready score’ (out of ten.) 

The countries covered include territories, such as Hong Kong. Data from CoinATMRadar was used to arrive at ATM figures, and countries were awarded a maximum of two points for their legislative policies, one when crypto use was allowed by individuals, and another when it was accepted by banks. 

The 10 most crypto-friendly countries. Image: Coin Head.

The U.S came a definitive first in the rankings, with a crypto-ready score of 7.13. Particularly in the proliferation of crypto ATMs—which now number over 19,000—the US is leading the way. US law also allows for ownership of Bitcoin and its use in banks. The study also found that there has been a 140% increase in searches for cryptocurrency in the past year.

The next most crypto-ready country was Cyprus, which scored 6.47. The Mediterranean island saw crypto searches soar—around a third of its population has performed a crypto-related search over the past year. The study found that 33,941 people out of 100,000 searched for cryptocurrencies—the highest level of interest in the world.

Singapore comes third, scoring 6.3. The nation was bested by Cyprus, but also has over 30,000  crypto searches per 100,000 people. And, while there are only crypto ATMs in Singapore, because it’s so small, that equates to an ATM every 28 square miles.

But Hong Kong’s score, at 6.27 is not far behind. With a population of 7.5 million crammed into 500 square miles, it’s one of the most densely populated places in the world, and so also has a high concentration of crypto ATMs. 

However, while it may be crypto-friendly now, Hong Kong is increasingly seeing China assert its control over the territory—and the Chinese government is currently cracking down on crypto. And, since the research was conducted, regulators in the UK, the fifth most crypto-ready country surveyed, have turned up the heat on crypto firms. And in the U.S., regulators are “sprinting” to build out comprehensive crypto regulations.

Studies are finding it hard to stay in step with the rapidly shifting regulatory tides in this nascent asset class.

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