The adoption of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) has moved further and further into the mainstream sphere. However, research from Visa shows that 2022 has even more in store for mass adoption of cryptocurrencies. As many as 25% of small businesses in 9 different countries want to start accepting crypto payments this year.
Industries that accept cryptocurrency payments through BitPay in 2020 and 2021
BitPay payment count worldwide in 2020 and 2021, by industry
The industry that has seen the sharpest increase to the highest total of merchants accepting crypto payments includes the sale of prepaid cards and gift cards, rising to a total of 41.15 percent in March of last year.
One of the primary factors motivating businesses to accept crypto is the potential to unlock new demographic groups. This study suggests as many as 40% of customers paying in crypto are new customers of the business, while the size of their transactions are over twice as big as consumers using conventional methods of payment. This makes sense, given crypto acceptance is still relatively niche. The industry at large still has a core cult following of users, who often tend to be highly enthusiastic when it’s possible to utilize crypto for transactions.
Of course, certain industries lead others. Gift cards unsurprisingly top the ranks, for the same reasons just outlined – a passionate crypto enthusiast presents as the perfect recipient for a crypto gift card. It is also logistically easy to instil, given gift cards are simply a form of credit to be spent in as many locations as possible. Other industries have higher barriers to entry; financial services present as one example, the regulation in the space significantly higher than industries, meaning adoption is slower and more cumbersome.
Crypto is at its heart a novel form of technology, dwelling virtually on the Internet. Tech industries therefore also expectedly finish towards the top – VPN/hosting and Internet companies coming in as the second and third most adopted industries above.
Business types that offer cryptocurrency payments in the UK in 2021
Number of businesses in the United Kingdom that either have a cryptocurrency ATM or offer crypto as an in-store payment method as of March 9, 2021, by industry
Consumer electronic businesses in the United Kingdom are the type of businesses that accept payments using cryptocurrencies the most, with a total of 44 businesses across the country stating they can facilitate this kind of transactions.
Following closely are businesses that provide IT services, with currently 39 businesses across the UK offering the option of payment using cryptocurrencies to their customers, adding to a total of nearly 500 businesses nationwide that accept payments in the form of digital currencies at the time of writing.
Both these sectors are obviously quite technology-focussed, which reconciles with the previous section when we see they top the crypto-acceptance ranks.
Number of companies that accept cryptocurrency payments in 147 countries as of March 9, 2021
Number of businesses that either have a cryptocurrency ATM or offer crypto as an in-store payment method as of March 9, 2021, by country
The United States has by far the largest number of companies that accept crypto payment as of March 2021, with a total of 5968 companies being able to facilitate this kind of transactions for their customers.
Two European nations, Italy and Slovenia, come second and third in terms of the most amount of merchants accepting payment through crypto, with 1366 and 1133 companies offering crypto payments as of last year.
Of particular interest here is Slovenia, given its small population of only 2.1 million. A host of crypto companies started in Slovenia, with easy to use crypto wallet apps being especially prevalent and helping to buoy adoption in the European country. There is even a shopping centre and entertainment complex in Ljubljana called BTC City, where all businesses accept crypto.
Switzerland's place is quite highly too on a per capita basis, which will only be further buoyed by the recent announcement that the city of Lugano will accept Bitcoin, Tether and LVGA (a stablecoin launched by the city) as legal tender. The Swiss city intends to become the blockchain capital of Europe, with a CHF 100 million fund to support crypto businesses set up as part of the partnership with Tether.
The appearance of Venezuela is also particularly notable, given the history of hyperinflation in the country. The inflation hedge narrative has gained increasing prominence in recent times, with vulnerable currencies such as the Venezuelan Bolívar providing extra motive for citizens to seek alternate stores of value. Notable in the table too is Russia – while the above data is not recent enough to account for the recent invasion of Ukraine, Bitcoin hit an all-time high against the Russian ruble (which fell 20% against the dollar) as Russian citizens increasingly turn to crypto to protect their wealth.
Cryptocurrency adoption in 55 different countries worldwide 2020
Share of respondents in Statista Global Consumer Survey (GCS) who indicated they either owned or used cryptocurrencies in 55 countries worldwide in 2020
According to a survey conducted by Statista in 2020, Nigeria is the country with the highest percentage of cryptocurrency users. 31.9 percent of respondents indicated that they either own and/or use crypto.
The staggering use in the African country is partially due to pre-existing prevalence of mobile-phone based P2P payments, meaning the jump to delve into crypto is a lot smaller than in other countries. Nigeria has also been plagued by inflation, further incentivising citizens to explore virtual currencies. It can also be a challenge to obtain US dollars in the country, meaning crypto has provided an alternate route to send currencies abroad. The same reasons hold for the next two countries on the list – both based in South-East Asia – Vietnam and Philippines.
With inflation, challenging international payments and P2P payments all typical features of third world countries, it comes as no surprise to see the bulk of the top adopters in the above table are non-Western.
BitPay payments – bitpay.com/stats/
UK businesses accepting crypto payments – The figures provided have been compiled by Statista using various sources.
Crypto payments – The figures provided have been compiled by Statista using various sources.
State of crypto – Survey by Statista / Statista Global Consumer Survey (GCS)