Individuals in the MENA region received US$566 billion in cryptocurrency from July 2021 to June 2022, representing a 48% increase over the previous year. This is according to the 2022 Geography of Cryptocurrency report from Chainalysis, the blockchain data platform. While the previous edition of the report found that the MENA accounted for 7% of global cryptocurrency transactions, this year, the figure has risen to 9.2%, making the region the fastest growing crypto market in the world.
Focusing on the UAE, Chainalysis’ researchers found that over the period of the study, the country had US$38 billion in activity, a sizable increase of 36% over transaction volumes in the previous year (US$28 billion). This makes the country the fifth largest crypto market in the region, behind Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.
Commenting on the findings, Kim Grauer, Director of Research at Chainalysis said, “In recent years, we have seen the UAE government introduce pioneering regulations that are helping accelerate the adoption and utilisation of cryptocurrencies in the country. Dubai has become a hub for crypto companies that serve customers not just in the Middle East, but all across Asia and Africa.”
Kim’s sentiments are echoed by Akos Erzse, Head of Public Policy at the Dubai-based crypto exchange BitOasis, who said, “When you look at markets in the GCC, we take the view that this adoption is driven by young, tech-savvy early adopters with relatively high disposable incomes that are searching for investment options, and have a conviction in crypto right now.” Moreover, adoption is “not just on the retail or customer side, but also in the ecosystem, with financial institutions and banks beginning to work with businesses like us.” Erzse also emphasised the role that recent inflation has played in pushing cryptocurrency adoption.
Other key findings for the period of July 2021 to June 2022 include:
- Turkey remains the largest cryptocurrency market in the region, with its citizens having received US$192 billion. This, however, represents slower YoY growth of 10.5% compared to other countries in the region.
- Cryptocurrency transaction volume in Egypt tripled compared to the preceding year.
- Saudi Arabia shows a strong potential for cryptocurrency adoption as cryptocurrency transaction volumes in the Kingdom grew by a staggering 195%.
The blog with full findings from the MENA focused section of Chainalysis’ 2022 Geography of Cryptocurrency report can be found here.