Bitcoin has become the darling as well as the bane of the investing world with the introduction of the Bitcoin Lifestyle app. While traders and investors in the Middle East and Eastern countries are still debating on the level of regulations and legality of using cryptocurrencies, many countries have already imbibed the use of these decentralised currency in the truest of forms.
Blockchain as a technology is increasing in its use-cases are being implemented across countries and industries – from supply chain to trading, blockchain is expected to become the basis of most technologies including managing various Internet – of -things devices.
Bitcoins, though having withheld its own share of controversies, is now commonly accepted across various merchants readily accepting the payment through the digital currency. As of April 2018, only 4 million Bitcoins remained to be mined out of the 21 million determined tokens. The number of Bitcoin enabled ATMs have risen from 500 in 2016 to 2,500 in 2019. Bitcoin’s value can only be gauged by the fact that it will be the first cryptocurrency that cannot be produced anymore!
In the meantime, if you wish to spend the currency, let us have a look at the cities that are embracing this revolutionary currency.
Canada has taken the regulatory way to popularize the use of virtual currency. Bitcoin has a strong fan following in Canada. Approximately two dozen retailers and merchants accept payment through Bitcoin. Residents can easily buy bitcoin at 40 ATMs. The first bitcoin ATM started operations at Waves Coffee House on 29TH October 2003 in downtown Vancouver.
The largest city and the capital of Slovenia with a population of about 2,89,000. It is a prominent hotspot of Bitcoin currency. The Bitcoin exchange BITSTAMP was founded in Slovenia before starting operations in Luxembourg and London. In Ljubljana 200 merchants accept bitcoins and has four Bitcoin ATMs
The tech capital of the USA – it is like a home base to trade cryptocurrency. Platforms like Coinbase and Kraken are present in the city. Almost two dozen merchants accept bitcoin including restaurants, bakeries and two bars. In total 111 places to transact with Bitcoin from an ATM with a population of 8,80,000.
The financial capital of Tel Aviv and one of the world’s prominent hotspot for start-ups has over two dozen merchants accepting payments through Bitcoins. The city hosts two Bitcoin ATMs with an approximate population of 4,51,000. The Bitcoin meetup group of Israel is among the most active group with more than 3.800 members
Over 100 merchants and retailers in the city accept payment through Bitcoin. The city hosts 11 ATMs with a population of 2.9 million people.
A leading financial centre and most famous tourist spot in Switzerland, Zurich’s 35 businesses accept Bitcoin. The city hosts 10 ATMs to buy Bitcoins with a population of more than 4,28,000.
Amsterdam is the home to payment service provider BitPay. Approximately 30 Merchants accept payment through bitcoin which includes a bike rental, an antique ring shop, etc. The population of the city is 8,40,000 and the city hosts 12 bitcoin ATMs.
The financial hub with a population of 8.4 million. The people can utilize their bitcoin for payment at about 36 stores. The city hosts 117 ATMs with 500 businesses and 116 meetups. The city is home to the Gemini Exchange, a popular bitcoin exchange around the world owned by the Winklevoss Twins. 2015 saw The New York State Department of Financial Services launch “BitLicense” – the license for all businesses wanting to transact in the virtual currency.
The city with a population of 392,000 residents has about 48 merchants who accept payment through bitcoin. The city hosts 45 bitcoin ATMs.
London, the capital of the United Kingdom with a population of 8.9 million residents, hosts more than 130 bitcoin ATMs and approximately 104 merchants who accept payment through bitcoin. Start-up namely Coinfloor, claims to be the oldest bitcoin exchange in the United Kingdom. There are also 12 of bitcoin and cryptocurrency meetup groups in London. The London Theatre District was one of the first ticketing companies to allow the use of Bitcoin as a historic move. Elliptic – is one of the Bitcoin vaults and an exchange called Coinfloor.
Regions adapting bitcoin and cryptocurrency include Cyprus and Malta, even countries going through economic uncertainty and currency volatility such as Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
Malta – This island country is the first to regulate cryptocurrency and starting November 1, 2018, it started giving out licenses to various companies related to cryptocurrencies and blockchain. It invites companies to register on its shores and gain access to a large blockchain and cryptocurrency community. It found various ways to strengthen the blockchain engagement through the Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFAA), a landmark regulation for protecting the virtual assets participants. However, blockchain as an industry is yet to find its feet firmly as shown by the low number of companies who finally applied for a license – 26 out of 50+ odd companies operating there. The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) reported receiving applications only for these many. Malta has a rising location and friendliness and openness towards cryptocurrency operations is well known.
Impressive rate of adoption highlights that virtual currency is going to have a life changing impact on the economies. The international financial hubs have embraced Bitcoin, and the smaller towns are adapting it too embracing in the culture of openness and new technology adoption. Countries like India have finally gone ahead with regulation to allow retail trading whereas Southeast Asian countries like Singapore and Indonesia are already in the use-case scenario.