CoinJournal conducted a global study intending to highlight the world’s most successful crypto countries, ranking South Africa 10th overall.
The study ranked the countries based on their number of crypto startups, investment companies involved in crypto, estimated realised gains, and the number of crypto owners from the latest data available as of November 2022.
Cryptocurrency has been one of the fastest-growing industries over the last decade, from a simple form of electronic cash to a regulated global currency – including in South Africa as of 19 December 2022.
According to a survey conducted by global exchange platform TripleA, crypto awareness in South Africa is rising rapidly, with 86% of adults having heard of cryptocurrencies – increasing by 20% compared to 66% in 2021.
The survey also found that most South African cryptocurrency owners are in the 18 to 44 age group (83%). Only 7% of them are 55 and above. This suggests that South African millennials primarily own cryptocurrencies.
Of those that own cryptocurrencies in South Africa, the survey highlighted that 46% own more than R10,000 in crypto assets, while a considerable 12% own more than R100,000.
Bitcoin is the dominant cryptocurrency owned by South Africans (79%), followed by Ethereum (45.28%) and Ripple (28.30%), said TripleA.
Interestingly, the majority (52%) of South African respondents said that they are already using cryptocurrency for purchases, suggesting that cryptocurrency is increasingly becoming a mainstream form of payment.
The attitude towards crypto in South Africa is highly optimistic. However, the survey noted the critical inhibiting factor to mass adoption in the country is a lack of knowledge – with 68% of respondents citing this as the reason for not investing a lot in the currency.
CoinJournal’s most successful crypto countries in the world study rank the nations by giving each country a score out of ten based on the abovementioned indicators.
Unsurprisingly, the United States is ranked the No.1 crypto country in the world, with a perfect score of 10.
The US scored highly for almost all factors, including 1,992 cryptocurrency startups and an estimated realised crypto gains of $46.9 billion, said CoinJournal.
It also operates the most investment companies, with over 4,600 involved with crypto, with an estimated 46 million Americans who own cryptocurrency (13.74%).
The United Kingdom scored in second place for the most successful crypto countries, scoring 9.21.
According to CoinJournal, The UK currently has 886 active crypto startup companies and the highest realised gains in cryptocurrency behind the US, of $8.16 billion.
The UK currently has 617 cryptocurrency companies operating in the country and is continuously building its crypto trade, with several crypto startups launching in London, said CoinJournal.
Germany is the world’s third most successful crypto country, scoring 8.6 out of ten. Startups play an essential role in developing new technologies, and Germany still has a way to go regarding crypto startups, said CoinJournal.
However, recent research showed that Germany needs to provide a competitive startup environment in which blockchain startups can grow, added Coin Journal.
Germany currently has 404 crypto startups and 148 crypto companies operating in the country. Germany realised $5 billion in cryptocurrency gains, falling behind the US and the UK by a substantial margin.
The top three are followed by France in 4th, Vietnam, Australia, Canada, South Korea, Japan, and South Africa in 10th place.
CoinJournal scored South Africa 7.26 out of ten, with 67 crypto startups and 59 investment companies currently trading crypto.
Despite ranking last overall, South Africa ranks 5th regarding the most crypto owners by country. According to CoinJournal’s study, South Africa has 7.7 million crypto owners – representing 12.45% of the population.
Given the popularity of cryptocurrency in South Africa, Finance minister Enoch Godongwana amended the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) annexure, designating crypto asset service providers as “accountable institutions”, which took effect on 19 December 2022, reported MyBraodband.
As accountable institutions, service providers are required “to FICA” customers. Elsewhere in the world, this is called “know your customer” (KYC), said MyBraodband.
Basic FICA / KYC requires that accountable institutions collect and verify copies of customer identity documents and proof of address, like a utility bill.
South Africa’s FICA legislation also includes monitoring provisions to help prevent and prosecute criminal activity, added MyBroadband.
These are important controls for countries to have in place, as South Africa learned in the third quarter of 2022 when the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) warned that we could be greylisted over weaknesses in our systems.
The tables below show the top 10 most successful crypto countries worldwide and the top 10 most crypto owners by country, sourced from CoinJournal.