South Africa, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam Lead World in Cryptocurrency Ownership

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According to Hootsuite and We Are Social’s Global Digital Yearbook for 2019, a few unexpected countries are leading the world in cryptocurrency ownership.



Keeping track of the percentage of internet users own cryptocurrencies is a good way to gauge where the industry is going. A chart released by Hootsuite and We Are Social has been making the rounds recently for its unexpected conclusions.

The study was conducted during the second and third quarters of 2018. Here is what it found.



Cryptocurrency Ownership By Country

Among internet users, South Africa leads the world with a staggering 10.7 percent of its online population owning some form of cryptocurrency. To put that in perspective, this is a country with one of the worst cases of income inequality in the world. Could there perhaps be a connection?

Trailing South Africa are a few Asian countries, including Thailand (9.9 percent), Indonesia (9.5 percent), and Vietnam (9.3 percent).

It is interesting how cryptocurrency ownership among online users tends to concentrate in developing nations. For example, Japan is well behind the leading nations with just 4.3 percent. The USA is slightly better with cryptocurrency ownership of 5.3 percent but still sits below the global average.

Overall, the study found that the average rate of ownership among online users is around 5.5 percent.

Ownership and Usership

Although these numbers demonstrate that sizeable portions of the online world population own cryptocurrencies, it also indicates that their use-case is very limited for the time being. If use-cases were realized, perhaps cryptocurrencies would be more embedded in the existing digital infrastructure of developed nations; instead, we see the exact opposite.

It is therefore quite surprising that the leading nations in cryptocurrency ownership are not the most technologically developed. Instead, it is the ones with the highest level of income inequality which tend to have higher rates of cryptocurrency ownership.

What this could also tell us is that the cryptocurrency market has made investors out of a whole new group of people. In turn, many see it as a possible hedge against growing inequality within their national economies which provides most people with little class mobility.

What do you think of these ownership findings? Do they surprise you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! 


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Raised in the U.S, Lucian graduated with a BA in economic history. An accomplished freelance journalist, he specializes in writing about the cryptocurrency space and the digital '4th industrial revolution' we find ourselves in.

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