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Crypto adoption around the world in 2023

January 3, 2023

The world of cryptocurrencies is definitely a fascinating one. While for some this fascination comes from the possibility of immense financial gains with little to no effort in a short amount of time, others tend to look at things from a different perspective. If you think about it, fiat currency has been around for many generations, ever since we switched from gold payments. And things stayed pretty much the same until a little over a decade ago when a completely new financial system started to take shape. 

If we take a step back and start looking at the big picture, we will soon realize that we live in historical times. For the first time in centuries, the fiat currency financial system is being challenged and personally, I cannot wait to see how things will evolve in the coming years. 

Crypto Products & Services

As you would expect, the success or failure of the crypto financial system relies on its applicability in the real world and its adoption rate. If more than a decade ago when the first bitcoin transaction took place (the famous 10,000 bitcoin payment for a pizza), things were a little complicated, it is a whole lot easier to make crypto payments today. 

Back in the day, owning and using crypto was reserved for the most tech-savvy of us and the process was challenging to say the least. Slowly, things started to change. Probably the most notable moment in the history of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, in general, was the launch of the first crypto exchange back in 2010. Bitcoinmarket.com has since been shut down, but its impact on the crypto world was huge. It was the first time average users were able to purchase Bitcoin without any technical knowledge. 

Of course, as time went by, more and more crypto exchanges were launched and businesses like Binance took everything to a whole new level by introducing crypto-dedicated cards which allowed holders to actually use their coins in the real world without having to convert them to fiat manually. 

Today, the adoption of crypto seems to be on an exponentially upward trend and more and more businesses started accepting payments using Bitcoin, Ethereum, and many other established coins. 

Major Companies That Accept Crypto Payments in 2023

To better understand what a huge leap ahead cryptocurrencies have made in the last couple of years, here are some of the biggest companies in the world that officially accept crypto payments for their services or products.

  • Paypal

  • Microsoft

  • Starbucks

  • Whole Foods

  • Etsy

  • Overstock

  • Rakuten

  • NewEgg

  • Home Depot

  • Twitch

  • AMC Theatres

  • Dish Network

  • Pizza Hut

While the companies on the list above are clearly the most impressive ones for their choice to adopt crypto as a payment method, there are thousands of other smaller ones that can make your life significantly easier. From online casinos to streaming services, online services, currency exchanges, and alternative payment methods like Revolut, there is a huge variety of useful ways for you to spend your cryptocurrencies without having to exchange them for fiat. 

That doesn’t only save you a fortune in fees, but also stands as a testament to cryptocurrencies’ applicability and universal adoption. We’ve certainly come a long way from the initial stages where transactions were made by transferring encrypted files from one computer to another as a form of crypto payments.

Banks & Governments

Of course, with a current market cap of 320-something billion dollars (down from over a trillion last year), banks and governments couldn’t simply ignore the crypto market as they did for the better part of the last decade. In the past couple of years, more banks and governments have started taking the crypto phenomenon seriously. 

How are banks adapting to crypto?

Banks are probably the institutions that had the most trouble with the crypto world from the very beginning. That’s because crypto actually stands against everything that banks have to offer: crypto is decentralized, anonymous, cheap, and doesn’t rely on any outside influence for its price fluctuations. 

The banks didn’t give any time of day to cryptocurrencies for more than half a decade, completely ignoring their potential and obvious benefits. As soon as the market value increased and it became obvious that Bitcoin is not just a passing trend, banks started getting aggressive, attacking the concept crypto is based on. Bank officials have warned the population about the risks of investing in cryptocurrencies, made ridiculous claims about the complete lack of potential and applicability of this new financial system, and tried to keep people as far away from it as possible. The reason is simple: crypto is actually stealing revenue and power from banks all over the world. 

Once it became obvious that there is no stopping people from joining the crypto revolution, banks changed their strategy to more of an “if you can’t beat them, join them” attitude. As of now, 23 banks have made significant investments in crypto. Here are some of the most important ones:

  • Morgan Stanley

  • Goldman Sachs

  • BNY Mellon

  • Commonwealth Bank

  • Citi

  • HSBC

  • Wells Fargo

How are governments dealing with crypto?

Governments all over the world had (and mostly still have) the same kind of love-hate relationship with cryptocurrencies. While some countries ban the use of crypto completely, others have a much friendlier approach.

The countries where cryptocurrencies have been completely banned are:

  • China

  • Algeria

  • Egypt

  • Iraq

  • Morocco

  • Nepal

  • Tunisia

  • Bangladesh

While each country has its own reasoning and justification for the crypto ban, the one thing they seem to have in common is a fear of losing control of how their population invests and uses their money. 

On the other end of the spectrum, we find countries with a very friendly approach to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. These are countries that support the adoption of cryptocurrencies and actually take active steps to implement measures, legislation, and adoption policies. 

These are the most crypto-friendly countries in the world:

While all the countries on the list above accept crypto as a viable payment method and support its use and development, a special shoutout should go to El Salvador, the first country in the world that adopted Bitcoin as a legal tender. Back in 2021, El Salvador adopted the “Bitcoin Law”, developed a volcanic geothermal energy-powered Bitcoin mining facility, and made the boldest economical move we’ve seen in centuries. Moreover, there is a plan for El Salvador to establish the first-ever Bitcoin city, funded by Bitcoin bonds.

Needless to say, very few of us expected Bitcoin and the crypto universe to reach the level we see today. But with banks and governments slowly starting to understand and accept the fact that this phenomenon will not be stopped and will actually continue growing, there is nothing left for us to do other than to join in and reap the benefits. 

How are crypto earnings taxed?

Being a relatively new concept, crypto is taxed rather differently around the world. As a matter of fact, only a relatively small number of countries actually have dedicated legislation and adapted their fiscal codes to integrate crypto earnings. Some of the most relevant countries where crypto is recognized as an asset and taxed accordingly are:

The way each country taxes crypto holding or earnings differs depending on a number of factors. For example, countries like the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom see cryptocurrency as property, and not actual currency and tax it accordingly. 

Switzerland considers crypto to be a private wealth asset and instead of taxing it as capital gains, it goes for a wealth tax approach. In Austria, crypto is taxed as an intangible asset. In France, as a movable asset. In Spain, as a commodity. In Germany, as a private asset. 

As you can see, even though the adoption of crypto has undoubtedly begun, we are still in the very early stages of the process. Countries are still figuring out how to perceive it and how to adapt to it. Banks are not too far ahead either. But the undeniable fact is that the crypto revolution is happening and it is happening now, right before our eyes. 

Final thoughts on cryptocurrency adoption in 2023

From its very beginning in 2008, when Bitcoin was nothing else than an idea and a couple of random bits of information in a digital file, until now, things have changed at a breathtaking speed. 

Even though there have been a lot of hiccups along the way like the Chinese crypto ban from 2013 when the whole market and the whole concept of crypto seemed to have taken a tremendously dangerous hit that rocked the market volatility until late in 2014, things have kept moving ahead.

If we look at things from a macro perspective and take into account how everything started no longer than 15 years ago and where we are today when governments and banks are slowly starting to invest and take an interest in cryptocurrencies, it’s hard to even fathom how things are going to evolve over the course of another 15 years.

One thing is certain: those who believed in crypto and stayed true to their investments without allowing themselves to get detoured from their objectives have definitely been rewarded.