Be it paying directly with crypto or cashing in some profits with peace of mind, there are numerous cities around the world welcoming cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Let’s go over the most prominent examples and explore the benefits and advantages of each one.
The Old World
The smallest countries, both in terms of size and population, seem to be where most innovation and forward-thinking is happening.
Remarkable examples include Gibraltar — the first jurisdiction to regulate ICOs — or Valletta, the capital of the small nation of Malta which recently introduced three bills aiming to provide a strong blockchain oriented framework. Others worth mentioning include Tallinn, Estonia, Liechtenstein and Georgia are further proof that small jurisdictions have an edge on crypto innovation — and efficiently implementing — new legislation.
But it is Ljubljana in Slovenia that stands out as perhaps the most crypto-friendly city in the world, at least considering its population-size/adoption ratio. More than 300 merchants currently accept cryptocurrencies and there’s quite a few ATM machines too, quite a lot for a city with less than 300k habitants.
One of the major european cryptocurrency hubs is Switzerland, starting from the “Crypto Valley” itself, the canton of Zug. Its early crypto-progressive thinking laws and approach earned the now world famous nickname, and it is now home to both multiple startups and established companies alike. Just recently, another swiss municipality, in this case Zermatt announced it will start accepting Bitcoin for tax payments. With plenty of point of sale spots (and +50 Bitcoin friendly businesses in Zurich alone), Bitcoin and crypto adoption in Switzerland keeps pushing forward.
Bigger nations also have their fair share of crypto-friendly cities. London for example has the largest Bitcoin meetup group in the world, along with more than 100 merchants accepting Bitcoin. Berlin on the other hand is home for many blockchain developers and related projects headquarters, including Lisk, IOTA and EOS.
On the eastern front, Seoul and Tokyo can’t be overlooked considering how much focus they gave to cryptocurrency regulations early on, especially Japan, where many big retailers have been accepting Bitcoin for a few years already, after the country approved crypto assets as legal tender.
But it is perhaps Hong Kong the city with the most prominent track record, in part due to its nature of being a long established financial hub in Asia, but also due to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies being exempt from capital gains and VAT taxes. Not only have many big blockchain related companies chosen Hong Kong to establish their main offices and conduct business from, the city also has a rich history of holding many high profile crypto conferences and summits.
Two lesser known candidates are Tel Aviv and Singapore. Tel Aviv has become one of the leading tech cities of the world in recent years, with many traditional and crypto startups emerging from Israel in the last decade. Singapore, one of the freest economies in the world has obviously a very hand-off approach in terms of cryptocurrency regulations, where it is exempt from capital gains taxes (as any other similar asset) along with other very business-friendly laws.
Lastly, Lagos in Nigeria and Cape Town, South Africa lead the way in a continent that may hold the biggest promise for massive adoption moving forward.
The New World
From North to South, the Americas remain intriguing with endless potential, but still lacking a clear framework overall. Cities like San Francisco, New York in the US have an obvious strong base. Financial, tech companies and startups are abundant, making both Silicon Valley and Wall Street a match made in heaven for such emerging technology. It’s easy to find plenty of local and even retail stores accepting cryptocurrency. Indirectly the option to buy gift cards with cryptocurrency exponentially increase available options. Vancouver stands out in the north west, as Canada is one of the first countries introducing cryptocurrency regulations. There’s a robust scene with quite a few ATM machines and local exchanges.
On a smaller scale, Delaware, with its business-first oriented approach, San Juan capital of Puerto Rico and Hamilton, Bermuda, providing tax relief and lax regulations are also worth mentioning.
Buenos Aires — the capital of Argentina — deserves a special mention, spouting long ties going back to the birth of Bitcoin, as many companies, talents and projects have emerged from this big and vibrant city over the years, mostly due to the historical instability of the Argentine Peso. Bitcoin, while not massively adopted yet, is accepted in many merchants such as local coffee shops and small stores.
Buenos Aires has also been the host of many Bitcoin and Devcon gatherings and conferences. While extensive regulation (like in the rest of the Americas) remains vague, there’s a good amount of long established, local fiat exchanges and services to allow the possibility to pay many bills with crypto, making the “Paris of South America” the true Bitcoin leading city of the southern hemisphere.
You can check your local city for ATMs and merchants accepting cryptocurrencies here.