Crypto adoption skyrockets in Middle East and North Africa due to favorable economic climate

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) was the fastest growing crypto market in 2022, according to a new report by Chainalysis.

Users in the region transacted $566 billion in cryptocurrency between July 2021 and June 2022, up 48% from a year earlier, the report found. In comparison, crypto transactions rose 40% in Latin America, 36% in North America, and 35% in Central and Southern Asia. Other regions saw growth of 22% or less.

For the report, Chainalysis conducted interviews in countries to cast what it described as a “really wide net” and talked to regulators, private businesses, OTC brokers and anyone who operated in crypto across the regions, Kim Grauer, director of research at Chainalysis, told TechCrunch.

In MENA, Turkey remains the largest cryptocurrency market — its citizens used $192 billion of crypto in the period, the report said.

“Based on the data, we see a ton of activity across the board in Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE, and that’s just raw transaction value,” Grauer said.

Saudi Arabia and UAE stand out when adjusting for metrics like population size and relative purchasing power, Grauer noted. “In terms of their kind of becoming a crypto hub/hotspot, whether it’s because of regulatory initiatives to develop that market or because there’s more disposable income and [they’re] seeking alternative investments, those two areas seem to be attracting international businesses to relocate there.”