The past two years have been an indisputable era of prosperity for cryptocurrency. From the 2021 crypto bull run to the exponential popularity of NFTs, it seems that every month there’s a new headline drawing eyes, scrutiny and investments alike.
With so many different opinions, it’s easy to see uncertainty in Bitcoin’s future. In spite of the recent crypto corrections that have brought Bitcoin to as low as $37,000 in February 2022, big players like Goldman Sachs and Nasdaq maintain their confidence in Bitcoin reaching the long-coveted $100,000 valuation mark by 2025. Among the cryptocurrency community’s highest hopes is the 4th Bitcoin halving cycle in 2024 in which the rewards generated by Bitcoin miners are cut in half, theoretically driving up demand and resulting in a surge in value. Although past performance doesn’t necessarily equate to future results, predictions surrounding the halving cycle have proven shockingly accurate for years. It’s no coincidence that the greatest bull runs in Bitcoin history have all occurred within a year of the halving cycle.
So, does the latest batch of fear, uncertainty and doubt surrounding Bitcoin truly hold water?
The future may be uncertain, as it always is, but developments in the cryptocurrency and international community alike seem to suggest that the world is preparing for a future where Decentralized Finance (DeFi) holds greater sway on our lives, money and society as a whole, particularly as inflation devalues the US dollar. Countries, cities and even unrecognized micronations from all corners of the planet have adopted new measures to use cryptocurrency over the last few years, but where could these developments take us in the next few?
Bitcoin, and by extension most of the altcoins and related cryptocurrencies, have a long history of volatility, even though Bitcoin has grown by nearly 8,000,000% since its debut in 2009. Yet, as more and more people and countries make use of cryptocurrency and equitable regulations are implemented, Bitcoin has the potential to become less of a speculative asset and more of an actual currency. This is important, as few people would be willing to allow widespread adoption of a currency marred by notorious instability. No one wants to buy a loaf of bread from a store if yesterday’s buying power is suddenly cut in half overnight.
The growing adoption of cryptocurrency has come in many forms, from government mining and investment encouragement to adopting Bitcoin as national currency and, as these developments spread, the future looks that much brighter for cryptocurrency.
Such rapid adoption begs the question: where are the most crypto-friendly places? And can you invest in them too? Whether you’re a longtime investor looking to diversify your portfolio, or just a curious beginner looking to learn where to stock your future moonshot gains, this article is sure to give you an idea of the most crypto-friendly places in the world.
Following the Chinese crackdown on Bitcoin mining, there was a lot of room on the Blockchain for new players to pick up the slack. As cryptocurrency popularity grew in the United States, ranking 8th on the 2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index, Texas has proven itself to be among the most crypto-friendly places in the country.
With a fast growing tech industry drawing talent, capital and ideas to many of its major cities such as Austin and Houston, opportunity and crypto-friendly ideals have settled soundly in the Lone Star State. Historically business-friendly, Texas has no state income tax, making it all the more appealing for entrepreneurs and investors to join in on the Southern Migration.
Related Article: Investing in High Growth Sunbelt States
Texas also supports its own private, state-controlled electrical grids, granting Bitcoin miners a healthy stream of power from the energy capital of the world to maintain their operations. Two of the largest Bitcoin mining companies in the world, Bitdeer and Riot Blockchain, are located in humble Rockdale, Texas, taking advantage of the state’s crypto-friendly market.
Miami, Florida, USA
Brickell Avenue Bridge over the Miami River in the Morning
Photo by Michael Flight all rights reserved
If sunny beaches and a vibrant nightlife aren’t enough for you, perhaps a rising and ambitious cryptocurrency industry can fill the part. While New York may be the financial hub of the world, Miami is seeking to brand itself as the cryptocurrency equivalent. The city has taken such substantial measures as creating their own unique cryptocurrency “citycoin,” appropriately called MiamiCoin, and heavily encouraging crypto companies to settle into the city.
The current mayor Francis Suarez has been an active proponent of these plans, to the point of hosting Bitcoin conferences to educate the public and build excitement around Miami’s DeFi future.
Palacio Nacional de El Salvador & Plaza Cívica San Salvador, El Salvador
Photo by Mauricio Cuéllar on Unsplash
A Central American country of ancient Mayan ruins and dense jungles, El Salvador is quickly becoming a new cryptocurrency hotspot. From businesses to real estate, El Salvador is positioning itself for a world based on the blockchain. The country has even gone so far as to adopt Bitcoin as their national currency.
Related Article: How Blockchain Will Revolutionize the Future of Commercial Real Estate
Unlike many other places on this list, El Salvador’s Bitcoin economy has a strong basis in tourism. Real world locations such as their El Zonte beach are developing infrastructure and businesses funded with Bitcoin, and President Nayib Bukele announced as early as June 2021 plans to build a bitcoin mining facility at the base of a volcano, powered by its clean geothermal energy. It doesn’t get much more dedicated than that.
Chapel of the Transfiguration, Grand Teton National Park, Moose, Wyoming
Photo by Michael Flight all rights reserved
Not to mention, Wyoming, like Texas, also has no state income tax!
Countries and cities aren’t the only entities preparing for what seems to be an inevitable march toward a DeFi future. The nation of Liberland, which occupies an island in the middle of the Danube, between the borders of Croatia and Serbia. More than 1,00,000 million people have applied for residency and a path to citizenship making it one of the most successful startup countries in the world! Liberland’s founders have kept busy with implementing crypto-friendly policies and voluntary tax payments, creating its own cryptocurrency called Merit (LLM), and even running its entire government on the EOS blockchain.
Liberland, as the name suggests, is built around the core idea of personal and economic freedom, and has hopes to be the number one choice for blockchain entrepreneurs who are looking for a fitting place to plant their flag.
Liberland is the original blockchain real estate play by starting your own country!ionally been a stable asset class to invest in thanks to both appreciation and cash-flow.
View Of Avenida Balboa in Panama City, Panamá
Photo by Luis Aleman on Unsplash
El Salvador isn’t the only Central American country making moves in the crypto space. Panama has also shown interest in wider adoption and more equitable regulation for Bitcoin. The Panamanian president, Gabriel Silva, introduced a bill in September 2021 that would follow in El Salvador’s path by making Bitcoin legal tender within the country. 50 new Bitcoin ATMs are scheduled for construction in early 2022 as well, funded by Santo Blockchain, a cryptocurrency company headquartered in Miami, Florida, with another 250 on the way over the coming years.
Both countries have established themselves as cryptocurrency trend-setters in the international community, and are at the forefront of a wave of interest in the blockchain rippling across Central and South America. Fueled by a fervent desire for financial inclusion and empowerment for their citizens, these countries are betting big on Bitcoin, and may be examples to follow for yet more countries in the future. If that’s the case, then watching and supporting these countries’ cryptocurrency infrastructure may be a worthwhile investment.
Front Street along Hamilton Harbor in Bermuda
Photo by Reilly Durfy on Unsplash
Famous for its pink-sand beaches and sunken ships, the British Island territory of Bermuda is less known for its pioneering cryptocurrency regulations. With its 2018 Digital Asset Business Act, Bermuda has spearheaded an effort to promote innovation and grant licenses to businesses operating in crypto, from banks to insurance, the latter of which Bermuda is particularly well known for.
Marina Bay, Singapore
Photo by Meriç Dağlı on Unsplash
The sovereign city-state of Singapore tops the list as well thanks to its “high rate of cryptocurrency adoption,” as financial tech startup Coincub praised last December, ranking Singapore as one of the world’s most crypto-friendly economies. The city-state also boasts a 0% gains tax specifically on cryptocurrency, and is home to a wide variety of innovative fintech startups such as Huobi, an Asian market leader in Bitcoin real estate investment, CoinGecko, Algorand Foundation, Monero, VeChain, Zilliqa, Cosmos, Oasis Foundation, InvestaX & IXswap
The Monetary Authority of Singapore has created some of the most forward thinking laws for blockchain technology development.
Photo by Diane Turnbull
Portugal also supports a booming real estate market, providing plenty of opportunities for Bitcoin and blockchain real estate transactions. Fancy becoming an EU citizen while keeping your DeFi rights? Then Portugal may just be the perfect fit.
Sunset view of Kuala Lumpur City Centre and Petronas Towers from Trader’s Hotel
Photo by Esmonde Yong on Unsplash
Despite drawing headlines for literally steamrolling criminal mining rigs last year, Malaysia is still an honorable addition to the list of the world’s most crypto-friendly places. Stern but fair, Malaysia offers stringent laws around power usage and bitcoin mining in exchange for 0% capital gains taxes on cryptocurrency. Not a bad trade, so long as you’re not siphoning public electricity, in which case you can expect to face up to 5 years in prison.
But for those of us who aren’t criminals, Malaysia also offers generous deals on citizenship, allowing foreigners the right to stay if they can open a bank account with $135,000 and sustain a regular monthly income of $3000. Land, condos, and houses are all purchasable in Bitcoin, granting anyone with the means the chance to own a piece of paradise.
United Arab Emirates
Burj Al Arab Hotel and Jumeirah City Market in Dubai, UAE
“Photo by Michael Flight all rights reserved”
Black gold isn’t the only commodity that the UAE is harnessing. Cryptocurrency has found its way to the Arabian Peninsula as well, in the form of widespread blockchain adoption and investment encouragement.
In a bid to attract cryptocurrency investors and entrepreneurs, the glamorous city of Dubai has not only expressed open arms for blockchain real estate, but also opened its very own crypto valley in the heart of the city. There, both corporate and personal income tax has been waived, and the city hopes to foster the incubation of new startups with a focus on cryptocurrency. Combine this with heavy penalties for crypto scammers, the United Arab Emirates and Dubai in particular are leading the Middle-East’s charge to diversify their economies away from petroleum. And as with all change, there is opportunity for the savvy investor to seize.
Tbilisi Georgia along the riverbank of the Kura (Mtkvari, in Georgian) is surrounded by mountains and home to beautiful architecture.
Photo by mostafa meraji on Unsplash
An unlikely but unsurprising crypto-friendly candidate, Georgia, like its nearby neighbors Russia and Ukraine, have jumped in on the crypto economy by taking advantage of their cheap electricity, bringing employment to swathes of literally power-hungry Bitcoin miners. Ranked 3rd in the world for its mining and 5th for its Bitcoin trading activity, Georgia has among the hottest crypto markets in Europe, though it has been cracking down on overuse of electricity.
With its laissez-faire attitude toward business and culture of personal freedom and responsibility, Georgia sells itself as a crypto-lover’s dream. And with rolling green hills like that, it can be anyone’s fantasy made reality.
Walls of Dubrovnik and Dubrovnik west harbor in Dubrovnik, Croatia
Photo by Matthias Mullie on Unsplash
Bordering both the lovely Adriatic Sea and the Danube River next to Liberland, Croatia has followed in its younger neighbor’s footsteps to adopt cryptocurrency on a greater scale.
Boasting 8 Bitcoin ATMs and a booming property market, Croatia’s growing tourism industry (in no small part thanks to the popularity of the HBO television show Game of Thrones, which shot many of its scenes in the country’s famous medieval cities and ruins) draws thousands of foreigners a year to its beautiful coastlines, where some of the largest supermarkets offer transactions in multiple cryptocurrencies. Nomad digital residencies have also begun to pop up throughout the country, granting space for digital communities to enjoy.
However, it’s worth noting that unlike many of the other entries in this list, Croatia has a capital gains tax on Bitcoin of 12%.
Wengen Lauterbrunnen Switzerland With A View Of The Swiss Alps
Photo by Yura Lytkin on Unsplash
Switzerland is divided into 26 cantons, akin to states in the US, that have a broad spectrum of autonomy and is known to be one of the most crypto-friendly countries worldwide. The Swiss banking system has been praised for decades by high net worth individuals who choose to store their assets here because of its renowned security and privacy, and now with crypto taking the world by storm, Switzerland aims to carry their reputation into digital finance, as well.
Across the country, there is widespread acceptance of crypto networks with prominent regulatory structures in place and popular exchanges, like Kraken and Coinbase. The city of Zug is a prime example of the country’s support for the blockchain tech; Zug residents have been able to pay taxes and fines using Bitcoin since 2016 and even other high-worth items such as Swiss property can be paid for with crypto.
The Swiss parliament has passed progressive legislation favoring crypo, including Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) laws in 2020, and the decree in 2019 that crypto trading is subject to the same regulations as traditional currencies, not to mention the impending 2022 legislation designed to allow retail payments in crypto and extend consumer protection for these transactions. Switzerland is your friend if you want to live a completely crypto life.
Independence Monument (Maidan Nezalezhnosti) overlooking Kyiv Ukraine
Photo by Gleb Albovsky on Unsplash
Ukraine has been attempting to position itself as the world-leader in DeFi for years, and with impressive results, yet given its sensitive position in the divide between the EU and Russia, investment here is recommended to be done cautiously.
Iririki Vanuatu Resort Hotel Huts overlooking Vila Bay in Iririki, Vanuatu
Photo by Monika MG on Unsplash
Last but not least, the South-Pacific island nation of Vanuatu rounds our list with its citizen-friendly Bitcoin policies. Anyone can become a lifelong citizen with a donation of 2.8 Bitcoin, alongside gaining the ability to purchase properties with crypto as part of the nation’s Real Estate Option (REO) Program.
Ever wanted to take your hard-earned crypto gains and settle down on the beach? Buying your way to islander citizenship has never been easier.
Central African Republic
Sunrise over Dzanga-Sangha National Park in Central African Republic
Photo by Greg Bulla on Unsplash
Just like El Salvador, the Central African Republic (CAR) has also realized the strength of the Blockchain, becoming the second nation worldwide to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender with a unanimous vote by its lawmakers in April 2022. Now, the CAR operates on BTC and the region’s Central African CFA franc, and though it’s one of the poorest countries in the world, CAR has a rich supply of natural resources, including gold, diamonds, uranium and other precious metals.
The CAR’s adoption of Bitcoin has also raised some controversy since only 11% of the country has the internet and BTC is a purely digital system. Some speculate that crypto is a way to digitally attract more payments to the country and enhance the economy. However, others believe the adoption of BTC helps the CAR as a Russian ally to bolster more support from Russian mercenaries who have aided the country’s government before. Carefully review the political climate before diving into investments here.
Civic Towers, Lekki, Lagos Nigeria
Photo by Nupo Deyon Daniel on Unsplash
Despite the Central Bank sanction that forbids banks facilitating cryptocurrency transactions, Nigeria is exponentially growing their presence in the digital marketplace and even ranks 6th on the 2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index. With little to no access to centralized exchanges, Nigeria has large transaction volumes on peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms due to legislation that makes it difficult to use your bank account to send money to crypto businesses.
The cracking down of Nigeria’s government on cryptocurrency has actually bolstered the country’s investments in crypto, having the highest proportion of crypto ownership in the world with 32% of it’s people digitally transacting in this market in 2020. Suffering from serious inflation and aforeign currency shortage, Nigerians have found solace in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as stores of value with reliable mediums of exchange in economic downturn.
It’s a big, wide world out there, with opportunities for investment at every corner of it. These crypto-friendly places represent the most forward-thinking regions in the world when it comes to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, and if they have their way, they might just be leading the tip of a $3 trillion spear.
And now that you understand the potential that these places have, you too can enter the 2022 crypto market with hopes higher than the moon.
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