The countries leaning in to crypto

The countries leaning in to crypto

Dubai aims to become one of the world's top-10 cities for the metaverse economy, the emirate’s Crown Prince announced last month. [Image via ZQ Lee]

There’s never a dull moment on the blockchain. Here’s what you need to know this week:

Global crypto adoption is on the rise. From Latin America to Africa, we’re visiting emerging crypto hubs.

Key cryptoverse quotes. Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin sounds off on the metaverse and people react to Solana’s new IRL shop.

Noteworthy numbers. How much you’ll need to shell out to turn your CryptoPunk into an IRL Tiffany pendant, and other key stats to know this week.


From Brazil to Nigeria, global crypto adoption is on the rise despite market uncertainty

One of the hallmarks of a crypto downturn is a steady drip (or deluge) of negative headlines, and this summer’s seen plenty already, from crypto prices plummeting to overextended crypto firms with liquidity issues. But this means promising developments, including the gradual rise of global crypto adoption, often fly under the radar. A new report from Boston Consulting Group indicated that one billion people could be crypto users by 2030; and for the past several months, countries in Africa, South America, and the Middle East have increasingly explored crypto tech. Let’s take a closer look at some key developments around the world.

  • Europe and Africa saw an increase in crypto venture deals in Q2, bucking a 22% global decline in venture funding last quarter. While Africa saw a 189% jump to $280 million in fundraises, Europe recorded a 25% spike to $1.8 billion, led by investors including Animoca Brands, Coinbase Ventures, and Polygon Studios, per The Block. The U.S., meanwhile, saw a 24% decline, but still led overall with $5.4 billion raised. (Check out Coinbase Ventures’ full Q2 recap.)

  • Honduras, Brazil, and Paraguay are expanding Latin America’s crypto footprint, nearly a year after El Salvador legalized Bitcoin. Paraguay’s senate passed a bill in mid-July that creates regulatory frameworks for crypto exchanges and miners (it now awaits the president’s signature). The bill could play a major role in attracting mining firms to Paraguay, which boasts cheap and renewable hydroelectric power. Meanwhile, Brazil’s largest crypto exchange, Mercado Bitcoin, is looking to expand operations in Mexico in the second half of the year as regulatory talks enter their final stages. And Honduras is experimenting with “crypto tourism” by turning the town of Santa Lucia into “Bitcoin Valley,” with 60 local merchants planning to accept crypto payments.

  • Africa, home to some of the world’s highest-inflation countries, has seen a flurry of crypto developments in recent months. Nigeria, which has the continent’s largest economy, has seen its citizens pile into crypto to shield wealth as they continue to lose confidence in the weakening Naira. Since becoming the second country after El Salvador to legalize Bitcoin this May, the Central African Republic last week launched Sango Coin, a national digital currency meant to attract foreign investment and boost the country’s mining sector (so far the token has had a slow start). Meanwhile in Kenya — which ranks fifth-highest globally in digital currency ownership — a climate activist sold NFTs to fund a 30-foot sculpture made from recycled plastics.

  • In the Middle East, Dubai announced a “Metaverse Strategy” which aims to add $4 billion to its economy over the next five years by quintupling the number of metaverse and blockchain companies and supporting 40,000 virtual jobs. The metaverse is also having a moment at global academic institutions. The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School is launching an online course called “Business in the Metaverse Economy;” The University of Tokyo will also begin offering similar courses; and The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology plans to build digital replicas of its campuses in the metaverse.

Why it matters… Just like it’s wise not to be overly optimistic during the frenzied hype of a bull market, it’s also important not to be excessively pessimistic during bearish downturns. In fact, smart investors will tell you that bear markets are inevitable — and are often when fortunes are built. During June’s crypto market crash, “Shark Tank” investor and crypto convert Kevin O’Leary remained bullish about the sector’s long-term future. One of the main reasons?  “Look at an MIT graduating class of engineers,” O’Leary told Markets Insider. “The smartest people want to work on the [block]chain.”


Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin sounds off on the metaverse and other key quotes from the week

Meta VS… “The ‘metaverse’ is going to happen but I don't think any of the existing corporate attempts to intentionally create the metaverse are going anywhere,” was the headline-making tweet from Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin, who went on to specifically mention “Facebook” (now known, of course, as Meta) as a company bound to “misfire” in its efforts to create a metaverse for mass adoption. For Buterin, the issue is that what we mean by the metaverse remains too undefined, and “it's far too early to know what people actually want.” 

Wed3… Meanwhile, Singapore’s Second Minister for Law, Edwin Tong, sees a clear use case for the metaverse: “It would not be unthinkable that, besides registration of marriages, other government services can soon be accessed online via the metaverse,” Tong said at this year’s TechLaw Fest conference. No word on if the metaverse could jazz up visits to the DMV though.

Block and mortar... “I honestly found it to be a pretty cool spot,” was the reaction of Fortune’s Taylor Locke following a visit to the brand new Solana Spaces retail store in Manhattan. The shop, funded by the Solana Foundation, is dedicated to highlighting its blockchain’s ecosystem, from NFTs to wallets to its new web3 smartphone. And, of course, you can pay for the store’s goods with crypto.

BTC central… “We aren’t going to have results overnight. We can’t go to bed poor and wake up millionaires,” El Salvador’s finance minister, Alejandro Zelaya, told Bloomberg as part of a discussion on why he remains optimistic about the long-term prospects of the country’s efforts to adopt Bitcoin as a national currency, which has come under increased pressure, and criticism, amid the current crypto bear market.


$190 million

Amount stolen in an exploit on Nomad, a cross-chain bridge that allows users to send tokens across different blockchains like Avalanche and Ethereum. A bug in an upgrade left funds vulnerable for one of the biggest hacks since Axie Infinity’s Ronin Network lost $625 million in April. As the crypto ecosystem continues to evolve, bridges are becoming a major component, and because their code has to be compatible with multiple blockchains, they’re especially tricky to build. So what can users do? Make sure that the smart contracts you interact with have been audited, and brush up on crypto security tips.


Approximate price (30 ETH) CryptoPunks NFT holders can pay to turn their pixelated avatars “into a bespoke pendant handcrafted by Tiffany & Co. artisans,” the iconic jeweler says about its new NFTiff series, which will enable punks owners to buy gemstone-based medallion versions of their NFTs and receive digital NFT versions of the jewelry as well. The offering has a limited supply of 250 and goes on sale this Friday.


Number of NFTs the city of Miami is planning to release in December in partnership with Time Magazine’s publisher, Mastercard, and Salesforce. The latest web3 initiative from Miami’s crypto-boosting mayor, Francis Suarez, will feature art from 56 local Miami artists, representing the city’s 56 square miles. The NFTs are meant to raise money for the city while giving holders exclusive benefits like private cultural tours and special event access at restaurants.


The percentage of U.S. retailers that reported plans to accept cryptocurrency or stablecoin payments in the next two years, according to a new survey by Deloitte titled “Merchants getting ready for crypto.” The consulting firm polled a sample of 2,000 senior executives from industries including cosmetics, hospitality, electronics, and fashion.


Max value of any crypto transaction that would be tax-free under a newly introduced bill from senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). Earlier this year, the Responsible Financial Innovation Act from senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) proposed a $200 ceiling on tax-exempt crypto transactions. Right now, many types of crypto transactions are taxable events, meaning even small, everyday purchases might incur capital gains taxes.


Learn how crypto is impacting the sports world

If you’re a sports fan that’s curious about crypto, then you might want to step up your crypto game by checking out the five-lesson “Crypto in Sports Essentials” series. The educational course, created by Coinbase and Front Office Sports, covers the fundamentals of blockchain tech and how crypto is impacting the sports world, featuring discussions with pro athletes like the Seattle Storm’s Jewell Lloyd and business leaders from the Chicago Bulls and the world of esports. It’s fun, informative, and best of all, free. Plus, you can even earn a shiny LinkedIn badge for completing it.


Which of the following is an example of a dapp?






DeFi Kingdoms


All of the above

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Trivia Answer


All of the above