Digital transformation is rapidly shaping the global financial landscape, and bitcoin, the pioneering decentralized cryptocurrency, stands tall as a symbol of this revolution. A recent survey conducted by Jack Dorsey’s Block, Inc., in conjunction with Wakefield Research, highlights an emerging trend: developing nations are displaying a burgeoning optimism around bitcoin.
The survey covered 15 nations and collected insights from 6,600 individuals, providing a snapshot of evolving perceptions about bitcoin. Between 2022 and 2023, bitcoin experienced significant price fluctuations. However, optimism about bitcoin’s future remained higher than skepticism on average. Vietnam, Brazil, China, and Mexico led the way with the most significant increases in optimism. In contrast, Nigeria, India, and Argentina saw a slight decrease in optimism, but their levels still remained well above average.
One of bitcoin’s primary appeals has been its potential as a lucrative investment. However, the data suggests that while countries with established banking systems are slowly recalibrating their investment views on bitcoin, developing nations are increasingly viewing it as more than just a speculative asset. For these countries, bitcoin represents financial freedom, a hedge against economic instability, and an opportunity to bypass traditional banking constraints.
Felipe Chacon, an economist at Block who designed the survey, stated that people in areas with less developed financial infrastructure and exposure to global financial system frictions were more likely to express interest in the more utility-oriented use cases for bitcoin. He emphasized the growing attention bitcoin is receiving and its potential to serve as a global payments network.
A significant aspect of the survey focused on the relationship between remittances, optimism, and bitcoin engagement. Traditional remittance channels, often characterized by high fees and cumbersome processes, seem to highlight bitcoin’s value proposition as a neutral cross-border monetary network.
This recognition is leading to an increased acknowledgment of bitcoin as an effective tool for international remittances in developing countries.
Governmental regulations play a crucial role in shaping a country’s cryptocurrency landscape. While developed nations grapple with regulatory ambiguities, the narrative is different in developing countries. For instance, despite regulatory uncertainties, India has the highest bitcoin ownership rate among surveyed nations. Interestingly, a larger percentage of Indian women own bitcoin than men, signaling a socio-economic shift where women are actively seeking financial empowerment.
On the other hand, countries like China, with a stricter regulatory stance against cryptocurrencies, present a contrast. Although many in China claim to know bitcoin owners, very few said they possess bitcoin themselves. This divergence underscores the pivotal role of governmental regulations in shaping citizens’ public stance on their relationship to bitcoin.
Argentina and Brazil, two South American giants, are also showcasing a growing affinity for bitcoin. Both countries show ownership rates higher than most countries in the survey and are more optimistic about bitcoin than average.
In Argentina, where inflationary pressures persist, bitcoin is increasingly being perceived as a protective shield against economic volatility. Brazil, meanwhile, recognizes bitcoin’s multifaceted potential, from diversifying investment portfolios to its utility in procuring goods and services.