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Small countries are punching above their weight in terms of Bitcoin gains

Chainalysis tracked total U.S. dollar gains made by Bitcoin investors in 2020. The country comparison was drawn from an analysis of web traffic on various cryptocurrency exchanges.

Emerging markets appear to be punching above their weight when it comes to Bitcoin (BTC) investment, offering further evidence of growing worldwide adoption, according to a new report from cryptocurrency analytics firm Chainalysis. 

A geographic analysis of realized Bitcoin gains revealed that investors in the United States generated $4.1 billion in returns last year, which is more than three times higher than second-ranked China, Chainalysis said. Although economic stalwarts such as Japan, the United Kingdom and Germany were near the top of the list, several countries are investing a lot more in Bitcoin relative to traditional economic metrics like gross domestic product.

In other words, GDP doesn’t seem to be a strong indicator of who is generating higher return on investment in Bitcoin. 

A standout case is Vietnam, a country that ranks 53rd in GDP but 13th when it comes to realized Bitcoin gains. The East Asian country’s sharp pivot from a centrally planned economy to one embracing market reforms has allowed it to slash its poverty rate from over 70% to below 6% since 2002, according to the World Bank.

Chainalysis also drew attention to the Czech Republic, Turkey and Spain, which rank 54th, 25th and 19th in GDP, respectively, but all fall within the top 20 in terms of realized Bitcoin gains.

The 2020–2021 Bitcoin bull market began in October of last year, as the price had increased from around $11,000 to over $29,000 by Dec. 31. Bitcoin’s price would eventually peak near $65,000 in April before undergoing a sharp correction.

Chainalysis was able to extrapolate country-specific data by analyzing location-based web traffic on various cryptocurrency exchanges. Cointelegraph asked the analytics firm how it was able to account for the potential presence of VPN usage by exchange users. While Chainalysis acknowledged the limitations, the company stood by its rigorous analysis of transaction data, stating:

The report echoes what many crypto enthusiasts have been saying all along — Bitcoin gives investors in emerging markets unfettered access to a high-performing asset. This is especially important in regions that are facing high inflation and stricter government controls over bank deposits and withdrawals.

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