UK emerges as Europe's top crypto hub with $170bn of deals

·3-min read
Representation of cryptocurrencies are seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on September 28, 2021. (Photo illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Global cryptocurrency adoption rose around the world, growing by over 2300% since the third quarter of 2019 and over 881% in the last year. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The UK has become the leading country in Europe for cryptocurrency transactions, with $170bn (£123bn) worth of deals.

According to a report from blockchain data platform Chainalysis, central, northern, and western Europe (CNWE) had the biggest cryptocurrency economy in the world, receiving more than $1tn worth of the digital coins over the last year.

CNWE transaction volume grew significantly across virtually all cryptocurrencies and service types, but especially on decentralised finance (DeFi) protocols, the data found.

The region also became the biggest crypto trading partner for every other area, sending at least 25% of all value received by other regions, including 34% of value received by North America.

This was largely driven by a significant increase in institutional transactions which grew from $1.4bn in July last year, to $46.3bn in June 2021.

The research, which is made up of three metrics, includes data on North America, Europe, Eastern Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, focusing on geographic trends in crypto adoption, usage, and regulation.

The three metrics are on-chain cryptocurrency value received, on-chain retail value received, and peer-to-peer exchange trade volume.

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“Our research suggests that the reasons for this increased adoption differ around the world,” Chainalysis said.

“In emerging markets, many turn to cryptocurrency to preserve their savings in the face of currency devaluation, send and receive remittances, and carry out business transactions; in North America, Western Europe, and Eastern Asia, by contrast, adoption over the last year has been driven largely by institutional investment.”

Chainalysis highlighted that the UK beat the likes of France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, which made up the rest of the top five in the region.

The United Kingdom ranked first in Europe's cryptocurrency value received by country. Chart:
The United Kingdom ranked first in Europe's cryptocurrency value received by country. Chart:

Bitcoin (BTC-USD), the world’s largest cryptocurrency, made up 27% of the UK’s transaction value, while ethereum (ETH-USD) and wrapped ethereum (wETH) made up 40%. WETH is an ERC-20 token of equivalent value to Ethereum commonly used in DeFi protocols.

The second-largest cryptocurrency economy in the world was North America, receiving more than $750bn in the period. This accounted for 18.4% of global activity, with the United States accounting for the majority.

However, North America was the biggest target for ransomware attackers, with users sending $131m worth of cryptocurrency in the 12 months to June, more than double that of Western Europe.

When analysed country by country overall, Vietnam made out on top, followed by India, Pakistan, and the Ukraine.

It came as global cryptocurrency adoption rose around the world, growing by over 2300% since the third quarter of 2019 and over 881% in the last year.

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Last week, bitcoin ended the week on a high note, inching closer to its all-time high, as investors become confident that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will approve the launch of an exchange-traded fund (ETF) based on the crypto’s futures contracts.

There has been much speculation on the SEC approving bitcoin ETFs.

It has not made any comment, but investors were given hope by a tweet posted by the SEC's investor education office on Thursday that said “before investing in a fund that holds Bitcoin futures contracts, make sure you carefully weigh the potential risks and benefits".

Watch: What are the risks of investing in cryptocurrency?

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