Crypto Adoption in Latin America: A Tool Against Economic Woes and Authoritarianism

Latin America is carving a unique narrative in the global cryptocurrency landscape, with Venezuela and Argentina standing out due to their distinct socio-economic and political contexts. According to a report by Chainalysis, Latin America ranks seventh in the global crypto economy hierarchy, just ahead of Sub-Saharan Africa. The region’s preference for centralized exchanges (CEXs) over decentralized exchanges (DEXs) is notable, contrasting with global trends. However, the core attraction lies in how cryptocurrency is morphing into a tool against economic adversities in Argentina and a shield against authoritarianism in Venezuela.

Argentina: Crypto as Economic Safeguard

Argentina’s long-standing economic turmoil, accentuated by a 51.6% devaluation of the Argentine peso up till July 2023, has spurred crypto adoption as a defensive mechanism. In this period, the nation led Latin America in raw transaction volume, with an estimated $85.4 billion in value received, showcasing a strong grassroots adoption. Alfonso Martel Seward, Head of Compliance & AML at Argentina-based cryptocurrency exchange Lemon Cash, elucidates that crypto, particularly stablecoins, has become a vital alternative for savings amidst stringent foreign currency acquisition restrictions. This trend is visually evident in the spike of crypto purchasing as the peso devalued, especially around mid-April when Argentina’s inflation rate hit 100% for the first time in three decades.

Lemon Cash has capitalized on this situation, offering a debit card feature enabling users to transact with crypto at local retailers, thus alleviating day-to-day commerce challenges induced by currency instability. The rise of Lemon Cash, amid an active crypto market where about 5 million out of 45.8 million people use crypto, epitomizes the asset class’s capacity to buffer against economic hardships.

Venezuela: Crypto as a Pillar of Resistance

Venezuela’s narrative diverges from Argentina primarily due to its authoritarian governance under Nicolás Maduro. The nation’s economic woes, marked by hyperinflation rates surpassing 1 million percent, have driven many towards crypto, especially stablecoins, to preserve their savings. The crypto adoption trend in Venezuela also extends to enabling remittances, which have burgeoned due to a significant populace exodus since 2014.

A notable dimension is how crypto is fostering resistance against authoritarianism. Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López shared an instance where crypto facilitated direct aid to healthcare workers during the Covid-19 crisis in 2020, bypassing the repressive governmental controls. This initiative, which benefited 65,000 medical professionals directly and impacted hundreds of thousands indirectly, underscores crypto’s potential as a humanitarian aid conduit amidst political repression.

Furthermore, López emphasized that cryptocurrency’s value in supporting democracy movements could be fully realized when the off-ramping process is independent of autocratic regimes, indicating a path towards leveraging crypto for broader societal change.

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Decoding Paradigm’s Vision: Cryptocurrency as the Next Tech Revolution

Key Takeaways

Paradigm’s recent article discusses the growing adoption and potential of cryptocurrency.

Matt Huang, co-founder of Paradigm, uses the metaphor of a “new planet” to describe the crypto landscape.

Crypto KOL Splin Teron offers an analysis of Paradigm’s perspective on cryptocurrency.

Paradigm’s View on Cryptocurrency

Paradigm, a leading crypto-focused investment firm, recently published an article that has garnered attention in the crypto community. The article explores the adoption and potential of cryptocurrency, a subject that has been gaining increasing attention, according to crypto KOL Splin Teron.

Matt Huang’s Metaphor: “Crypto as a New Planet”

Matt Huang, co-founder of Paradigm, contributed to the discourse with a tweet on September 21. He likened the crypto space to a “new planet that’s being settled,” capturing the essence of both skepticism and optimism surrounding the technology.

Splin Teron: A Crypto KOL Weighs In

Splin Teron, a key opinion leader (KOL) in the cryptocurrency community, recently analyzed Paradigm’s stance on the future of cryptocurrency. On September 26, Teron took to Twitter to discuss how cryptocurrency is poised to be the next technological revolution, akin to the internet’s transformative impact.

Influencers to Watch

In his Twitter thread, Splin Teron also recommended a list of crypto influencers to follow for diverse insights into the crypto ecosystem. These influencers range from @0xGGreen to @eli5_defi and are known for their expertise and contributions to the field.

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Binance Survey: Institutional Investors Bullish on Crypto’s Long-Term Prospects

Binance Research, in collaboration with Binance VIP & Institutional, has recently unveiled the results of their Institutional Crypto Outlook Survey. The study reveals a strong positive sentiment towards cryptocurrencies among institutional investors, with 63.5% expressing optimism for the next year and a striking 88% displaying a positive outlook for the next decade.

The survey, which ran from March 31 to May 15, 2023, gathered responses from 208 Binance VIP and Institutional users. It aimed to explore the demographics, attitudes, preferences, and motivations of these investors towards cryptocurrency investments.

Key findings from the survey indicate that despite market fluctuations over the past year, 47.1% of investors have maintained their crypto allocation, while 35.6% have increased their allocation. Only a minority, 17.3%, have decreased their crypto allocation. Looking forward, the majority of respondents expect to either increase (50.0%) or maintain (45.7%) their allocation over the next 12 months.

The study also highlights that institutional investors believe that the adoption of cryptocurrencies will be driven more by real-world use cases (26.9%) and improvements in regulatory clarity (25.3%) rather than higher prices (3.4%). This suggests that institutional participation in the crypto market is taking on a longer-time horizon, less reactive to short-term market cycles.

Interestingly, the survey reveals a more positive perception of Bitcoin compared to the broader crypto sector. While perceptions of Bitcoin and crypto remained largely unchanged over the past year (47.8% and 44.7% respectively), a larger proportion of respondents have turned more positive on Bitcoin (47.3% vs. 33.2%).

When it comes to investment motivation, 42.8% of investors cited the potential for large investment returns as the most compelling reason for investing in cryptocurrencies. This was followed by 37.5% of investors who see gaining long-term exposure to an emerging technology as the primary motivation.

Centralized Exchanges remain the most popular platform for institutional trading (90.5%) and custody activities (58.2%). The top three criteria for selecting a trading platform were liquidity (28.0%), security (26.0%), and reputation (22.5%).

Catherine Chen, Head of Binance VIP and Institutional, commented on the findings, “Institutions typically take a long-term horizon when they enter a new market, and our survey indicates that is likewise for crypto assets. These findings match the healthy rate of institutional account growth on Binance, which has increased 89% since the height of the bull market in Q4 2021.”

The results of this survey underscore the growing institutional interest and confidence in the long-term potential of cryptocurrencies. 


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Nigeria’s Foreign Investment and Crypto Adoption Dilemma

Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa, has been facing a severe shortage of dollars, leading to a decline in foreign direct investment (FDI). The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that FDI dropped by 33% in 2021, decreasing from $698 million in the previous year to $468 million. The situation is worrying as FDI has decreased by 90% since its peak in 2008, reaching a new low in 2021. The scarcity of foreign investment in the country has led to a significant setback for the growth of the economy.

Despite the decline in FDI, the adoption of cryptocurrencies in Nigeria has grown exponentially. Many Nigerians prefer to store their money in digital currencies rather than the national currency, the naira, due to its constant devaluation. In fact, Nigeria ranked eighth in the world in terms of crypto adoption and usage rate in Chainalysis’ 2020 Cryptocurrency Geography Report. This exponential growth in crypto adoption rate in Nigeria was expected to encourage more foreign investment in the country. However, the shortage of dollars has discouraged foreign crypto companies from investing in Nigeria.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) banned cryptocurrency transactions in February 2021, directing all commercial banks to close accounts belonging to crypto exchanges and other businesses that deal with cryptocurrencies. The ban has further discouraged foreign investors from entering the market.

Despite the challenges, Olumide Adesina, a certified investment trader, tweeted that no state in Nigeria has taken the initiative to attract foreign investors in the fintech, entertainment, and crypto industries, despite the fact that Nigerians “love” these sectors. In another tweet, Adesina highlighted that building a real tech and crypto community like Silicon Valley in Lagos state would create thousands of direct jobs.

In response, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, announced proposals for crypto adoption in the state, according to local media reports. The initiatives proposed by Sanwo-Olu include establishing a dedicated sandbox regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, creating a crypto-focused innovation hub, and providing incentives for businesses that accept crypto payments. These initiatives are expected to encourage foreign investors to enter the Nigerian market and to boost the growth of the economy.

In conclusion, Nigeria’s dilemma is that while the adoption of cryptocurrencies has grown exponentially, the country is facing a severe shortage of foreign direct investment. The shortage of dollars has discouraged foreign investors, including crypto companies, from investing in the country. Therefore, it is essential for the government to take the necessary measures to attract foreign investors, particularly in the fintech, entertainment, and crypto industries. By doing so, Nigeria will not only stimulate its economy but will also establish itself as a hub for innovation and technology in Africa.


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Nigerian Crypto Community Affected by Paxful Shutdown

The worldwide user community of Paxful, which was a prominent peer-to-peer bitcoin marketplace, has been left looking for alternatives after the platform’s collapse. However, it has a big effect on the crypto community in Nigeria, where the platform has a huge influence on the acceptance and use of cryptocurrencies. This has led to a considerable impact.

According to the blog written by Paxful’s founder and CEO Ray Youssef, the company made the announcement on April 4 that it will be ceasing its activities because of “key staff departures” and the regulatory climate. A great number of Nigerians who conduct their financial dealings using the platform’s services are now feeling uneasy as a result of this statement.

According to Chainalysis’s “The 2020 Geography of Cryptocurrency Report,” out of the 154 nations that were analyzed for the report, Nigeria placed ninth in terms of the acceptance and use of cryptocurrencies. This highlights the importance of the cryptocurrency business to the nation. The innovative application of peer-to-peer technology in Nigeria that was pioneered by Paxful has contributed to the growth of the business, which has resulted in more Nigerians having access to cryptocurrencies.

A data analyst by the name of Obinna Uzoije, a member of the Paxful Nigerian community, recently told his story of utilizing the platform while he was just starting out in his professional life. Paxful was the platform that he used in order to convert the dollars that he had been given by his employers as payment into naira. Skrill, an online payment network, was used in order to transfer money to independent contractors working in Nigeria for multinational corporations. Because some Paxful users accepted the money, it became much simpler for independent contractors to trade them in for Bitcoin or hard currency. Many crypto aficionados in Nigeria are now left wondering what the future holds for cryptocurrency markets as a result of the closure of Paxful, which occurred recently.

Over-the-counter (OTC) vendor Akeem Abdullahi said that Paxful’s escrow service has given rise to a new generation of OTC vendors. Gift cards might be purchased from people who intended to sell them but lacked the computer literacy required to utilize the platform by the merchants. Many Nigerians gained a greater feeling of financial autonomy and an entrepreneurial spirit as a direct result of this development.

On Twitter, several members of the Nigerian cryptocurrency community voiced their fears regarding the possibility of individuals regaining access to the monies that they had lost. However, Youssef has reassured users in a tweet that the Paxful team is working on clearing users’ send-outs, which indicates that users’ cash would be secure. This information was shared by Youssef.

In conclusion, the termination of Paxful has had a substantial negative effect on the cryptocurrency community in Nigeria, where the platform played an essential part in the development of the cryptocurrency business. Given the unpredictability of the future of cryptocurrency markets, many people in Nigeria are forced to look for alternatives to Paxful while simultaneously fretting about the safety of their assets.


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Seychelles Crypto Exchange OKX to Expand Services to Australia

In a statement released on March 29, OKX announced its intention to expand its crypto services to Australia, citing the country’s strong adoption of cryptocurrency. The exchange, which provides services to over 100 countries, has already expanded its operations into Malta in August 2018 and secured a provisional license in Dubai in July 2020.

OKX sees Australia as an indispensable part of its growth strategy and a key growth market, stating that it aims to build a strong local office. The exchange’s move into the Australian market is fueled by the high demand for cryptocurrency among Australian retail investors.

According to Jay Hao, CEO of OKX, Australian retail investors have shown a massive appetite for exploring crypto as an investment vehicle and for trading. He noted that since he came to OKX, the web traffic from Australia and the number of people trying to explore OKX services from Australia has been significant.

The exchange’s Head of Global Operations, Grant Rafique, believes that Australians are ahead of the curve in terms of crypto education, which he hopes will make OKX’s move into the market even smoother.

Australia’s cryptocurrency industry has been growing steadily, with an increasing number of Australians investing in digital assets. A report by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance revealed that Australia’s cryptocurrency sector grew by 20% in 2020, with the number of active crypto users doubling in the last 12 months.

The expansion into the Australian market is part of OKX’s broader strategy to become a global leader in the crypto industry. By expanding its services to more countries, the exchange hopes to provide more people with access to digital assets and facilitate the adoption of cryptocurrency worldwide.

Overall, OKX’s move to expand its services to Australia is a significant development in the country’s crypto industry, as it is likely to bring more competition and further increase the adoption of digital assets among Australians.


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Bahrain-Based Crypto Platform to Enable Real Estate Acquisition Using Crypto

CoinMena, a Bahrain-based crypto asset service provider, has teamed up with Carlton Real Estate to facilitate real estate purchases using cryptocurrencies

Ali Adnan Mahmood, Carlton Real Estate’s deputy managing director, pointed out:

“We are proud to be the first real estate brokerage company in the kingdom to accept crypto asset transactions for property purchases and other real estate services through our partnership with CoinMena – the crypto asset service provider licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain.” 

By incorporating crypto into its payment options, Carlton Real Estate believes this will propel its management, financing, and brokerage objectives. CoinMena enables institutional and retail investors to easily access digital asset investments directly from their bank accounts for frictionless and quick money transfers.

In a joint statement, CoinMena founders Dina Sam’an and Talal Tabbaa stated:

“As adoption continues to grow in the region, we see significant opportunities to use cryptocurrencies to purchase real-world assets. Crucially, this Carlton partnership also signals to the market that cryptocurrencies are maturing and gaining mainstream acceptance as a viable medium of exchange, they said in a joint statement.”

They added that Bahrain has been scrutinizing the crypto/blockchain space based on the adoption of various regulations.

For instance, the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) undertook a crypto payment trial with Onyx, JPMorgan’s cryptocurrency and blockchain unit. 

Furthermore, Binance received a Category 4 license as a crypto asset service provider (CASP) from the CBB. This license was to permit Binance Bahrain to offer a full range of crypto trading services to consumers under the supervision of the Bahrain regulators, Blockchain.News reported. 

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Per the announcement:

“Initially available to US residents, users can spend their crypto or cash within their Wallet without fees and earn 1% back in crypto anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.” Visa Card seeks to make crypto usage easier, given that it leverages Marqeta’s latest card issuing platform and Visa’s payments network. 

Peter Smith, the co-founder and CEO of, pointed out:

“As one of the crypto industry’s oldest and most trusted platforms, we’re excited to roll out the natural next step to make crypto easy to use in the real world and accessible to as many people as possible.” 

He added that the Visa Card would play an instrumental role in shaping the future of mainstream finance. 

Based on Marqeta’s notable Just-in-Time Funding feature, users will have the chance to seamlessly transact in fiat from their available crypto balances. 

This will be made possible because each Visa card will be linked to an approved Wallet account.

Simon Khalaf, Marqeta’s chief product officer, stated:

“ has built up a massive user base, and we’re proud that our platform can make it possible for their customers to spend against their cryptocurrency wallet at the point of sale, using the magic of Just-in-Time funding.” 

With Marqeta’s 2022 State of Money Movement survey disclosing that 38% of US consumers are crypto owners, it highlighted the surging need for crypto usage in daily scenarios.

Cuy Sheffield, the head of crypto at Visa, noted:

“At Visa, we believe for crypto adoption to grow, it’s critical for it to be easily accepted everywhere. We’re excited to partner with leading crypto wallets and exchanges like to unlock more ways consumers can use their crypto for everyday purchases.”

Meanwhile, Mastercard recently inked a deal with BitOasis to establish a series of crypto card programs aimed at boosting daily cryptocurrency usage in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region, Blockchain.News reported. 

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Nigeria Tops in Global Crypto Ownership, With Nearly Half of the Population Being Crypto Users or Owners

With cryptocurrencies being one of the technological innovations taking the world by storm, Nigeria takes the lead in terms of crypto ownership, according to Statista Global Consumer Survey. 

Per the report:

“Nigeria leads in global crypto ownership, where 45% of the population, or almost every second person, uses or owns cryptocurrency.”

The survey interviewed consumers from nations in South America, Asia, and Africa. The study added:

“Thailand ranked in second place, with 44% of the population that used or owned cryptos in the last two years. Turkey follows with 40%, and Argentina and United Arab Emirates round the top five list, with 35% and 34%, respectively.”

Even though the crypto owners in the United States are three times more than those in Nigeria, this represents 16% of the entire population. As a result, the US comes twenty-fifth in terms of crypto ownership.

On the other hand, India has 134 million crypto users, which is the highest globally. Statista recently estimated that there were 257.2 million crypto users globally, denoting 3.2% of the world’s population. This figure is expected to jump to 293.6 million in 2023.

Nigeria has been gaining the spotlight in crypto due to the trends being witnessed.

For instance, a study by Jack Dorsey-owned Block, Inc. revealed that the nation took the helm regarding Bitcoin optimism levels at 60%, Blockchain.News reported. 

Furthermore, a KuCoin study showed that high inflation rates and the lack of affordable financial services drove crypto adoption on Nigerian soil. 

The KuCoin survey suggested cryptocurrencies were filling the gap in the traditional currency-based market because Nigerians were using them as an alternative for storing and transferring assets.

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MENA Region Emerges as The Fastest Growing Crypto Market: Chainalysis Report

US blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis released its latest report Wednesday, indicating that the region of the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) enjoys the fastest growing tendency in terms of cryptocurrency adoption despite it is viewed as one of the smaller crypto markets in the global adoption index.

According to the report, users in the MENA region obtained $566 billion in cryptocurrency from July 2021 to June 2022 – an increase of 48% from what they received the year before.

The report further identified MENA as the home to three of the top thirty countries in this year’s index: Turkey (12), Egypt (14), and Morocco (24). The research identified the key drivers of such adoption in these nations include savings preservation, remittance payments, and increasingly permissive crypto regulations.

In Turkey and Egypt, rapid fiat currency devaluations have strengthened the appeal of cryptocurrency for savings preservation among users. As of August, Turkish inflation hit 80.5%, while the Egyptian Pound weakened by 13.5%.

Between July 2021 and June 2022, the report showed that the crypto transaction volume in Egypt tripled compared to the previous year. Turkey remains the largest crypto market in the region, with its users receiving $192 billion during the same period, per the document.

The report further identified that Morocco’s inflation rates have reached a more manageable level of 5.3%. However, the North African country’s significant levels of crypto adoption appear to be tied to the government’s newly permissive crypto stance. In 2017, the central bank of Morocco declared penalties and fines for users found transacting cryptocurrencies within the country. But earlier this year, the central bank formed a partnership deal with the IMF and the World Bank to create crypto regulations that emphasize innovation and consumer protection.

The report further acknowledged that while the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman – rarely make it to the top of the crypto adoption index, their role in the crypto ecosystem can never be underestimated.

The Chainalysis report identified Saudi Arabia as the third-largest crypto market in all of MENA, and UAE is the fifth. These Arab states have deep ties to the global crypto markets. For instance, Dubai has become a hub for crypto firms that serve customers all across Asia and Africa, not just in the Middle East.

According to the report, Afghanistan, one of the former MENA leaders in grassroots crypto adoption, is currently experiencing a major downturn. In Chainalysis’ 2021 crypto adoption index, Afghanistan was number 20 on the list. But since the Taliban’s takeover of the regime last August, the country has fallen to the bottom of this year’s list. Under the Taliban’s rule, cryptocurrency is equated to gambling and declared haram. And so far, several crypto dealers have been arrested in the country.

Last month, Chainalysis published a similar report showing that despite the global cryptocurrency adoption slowing down due to the impacts of the crypto winter, emerging nations continued dominating the adoption index this year as they did the year before.

Emerging markets have appeared to be on top in terms of adoption as they surpass high-income nations. According to the report, the top ten nations with the highest crypto adoption across the world are (1) Vietnam, (2) the Philippines, (3) Ukraine, (4) India, (5) the United States, (6) Pakistan, (7) Brazil, (8) Thailand, (9) Russia, and (10) China. As can be seen in the list, the US is the only representative of high-income countries within the index. China, Russia, and Brazil are upper-middle-income countries.

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