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Top 8 Crypto & Blockchain Countries

I’ve always been fascinated by how some call Bitcoin a bubble and a sham, while others say it will reach over $40,000.

The war over decentralized blockchain and centralized uses of technology that promote wealth inequality and authoritarian control of populations is also very real. Institutions and even Big Tech hype up “blockchain”, while “crypto” remains somewhat maligned.

Nowhere is this more prevalent in how cryptocurrencies have been banned, ICOs have been outlawed and various countries have approached regulation of crypto and the move of fiat currency to the blockchain with different approaches, speeds and legalization. Crypto and the war on crypto’s very reputation is an example of how our global economic order is monetized by the few, while exploiting the many.

While cybersecurity, fraud and even crypto exchanges do get hacked, manipulation and criminal activities exist everywhere.

While it’s a complex topic, it’s always fun to wonder about which countries are the most progressive with regards to the business opportunities of cryptocurrencies, crypto exchanges and decentralized public blockchains in general. It’s hard to separate blockchain adoption with openness to cryptocurrencies in the real world. So as mid 2018, here are my top picks.

1. Malta

Malta is known as “blockchain island”, and have taken legal steps to show it. Malta for example is the first place where a decentralized bank and stock exchange will likely take place. On July 4, 2018, that the Parliament of Malta approved a regulatory framework for blockchain technology, making Malta one of the most ‘blockchain-friendly’ countries in the world.

2. Switzerland

Zug in Switzerland is known as “Crypto Valley”, that’s not by accident. Switzerland is known as a crypto-friendly nation due to both its establishment of a virtual currency hub, “crypto valley,” in Zug and its status as a tax-free haven for crypto investors. DFINITY have a team there in their attempt to marry Silicon and Crypto Valley to take on Ethereum to build a next-gen world-computer.

3. Estonia

Smaller countries have a distinct advantage to adapt rapidly to a changing world, and Estonia is a perfect example with blockchain. Estonia has been making strides to encourage blockchain technology that interweaves with its economy and citizens in a remarkable way. After becoming the first country in the world to establish e-residency, Estonia announced that it would become a leading country in blockchain innovation.

4. Japan

Japan has always been months if not years ahead of most places in Bitcoin and crypto adoption. Japan is among the largest Bitcoin traders and some of its retail stores already accept Bitcoin. According to a Nikkei report cited in a note by Masao Muraki, a global financial strategist at Deutsche Bank, around 40% of bitcoin trading in Q4 2017 was conducted in yen. It’s not by accident that the pseudonym of “Satoshi Nakamoto” is Japanese. Japan is a Bitcoin-native country unlike any other.

5.China

Don’t let the crypto ban and crypto mining ban fool you, China is among the most forward-thinking countries with regards to the Government’s own adoption via its Central Bank of fiat to blockchain. China is also known for having thousands of blockchain based startups. Banking consortiums in China are also starting to rally around blockchain. On top of this, Government is very pro blockchain and AI; and actively supports its own top cryptocurrency and smart contract platforms such as NEO, VeChain, Qtum, TRON and others.

6. Singapore

Singapore has an incredibly high number of successful blockchain startups many of whom are among the biggest cryptocurrencies by market cap. Its proximity to both China and Japan makes it a unique place for a blockchain startup to have its HQ and to attract top financial talent. Many top blockchain startups in Singapore achieve active partnerships with the likes of the Chinese Government.

7. Denmark

Denmark has an on again off again relationship with cryptocurrencies. It has been arguably one of the most crypto-friendly nations worldwide, boasting a highly attractive 0% tax on cryptocurrencies, yet Denmark’s biggest banks banned trades in cryptocurrencies in late May, 2018.

8. South Korea

With such a density of cryptocurrency exchanges, South Korea is truly in a unique position. South Korea is a nexus of high education, fast internet speeds and technological innovation that few other countries can compare with. South Koreans themselves are among the most progressive with regards to cryptocurrency adoption and are increasingly holding blockchain events such as the fastly growing Korea blockchain week can attest to.

There are many other countries that should get honorable mentions for different aspects. Russia for blockchain and cryptocurrency integration in education and University courses. The U.S. for cryptocurrency exchanges going after brokerage and regulatory compliance to get larger Wall St. type investors. Canada for blockchain adoption in government, health and blockchain research and innovation in academia.

There are many aspects of cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption related to both startups, ICOs, cryptocurrency exchanges, and even adoption among enterprise level companies, banks and banking consortiums. Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are in their infancy, but those countries that invest in being agile to them can benefit greatly economically and in business by doing so.