Crypto Updates

Crypto Has an Unrealized Opportunity in Asia

Crypto-Friendly Does Not Mean Crypto-Easy

In the crypto world, plenty of time and attention has been focused on the United States and the actions of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This has been especially true since the approval of spotbitcoin exchangetraded funds (ETF) — for good reason.

Abel Seow is director of APAC sales at BitGo.

U.S. policies and its economy have a profound effect on the rest of the world and, whether we agree with those policies or not, given the breadth and depth of its capital markets, it will continue to play a key role in institutional crypto adoption and growth.

What’s going on in Asia, while at times less reported on, appears to be advancing institutional adoption alongside greater use cases of crypto in people’s lives and can serve as the blueprint for other jurisdictions for a more inclusive financial system.

Institutional adoption in Asia is expanding

From the standpoint of investment, user engagement, product expansion and government action, Asia is proving itself to be a hub for crypto innovation and adoption. For example, in Bhutan, $500 million was recently invested to expand bitcoin mining facilities. In Singapore, 75% of institutional investors say they plan to increase allocations to digital assets in 2024. In Hong Kong, the likes of Harvest Funds and VSFG have announced their intentions to submit applications for a spot bitcoin ETF.

On the regulatory side, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea have all taken steps toward clarifying rules around security token offerings. Additionally, financial institutions like DBS Bank in Singapore, Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and Hana Bank in South Korea have all taken pro-crypto actions.

See also: Crypto Hubs 2023

Asian adoption and day-to-day usage of crypto

According to an excerpt from “The 2023 Geography of Cryptocurrency Report” by Chainalysis, Central & Southern Asia and Oceania (CSAO) is the location of a burgeoning crypto market — one of the world’s most dynamic. When looking at raw transaction volume, CSAO is in third-place just behind the leaders of North America and Central, Northern & Western Europe (CNWE).

Take just decentralized finance (DeFi) in Asia as an example, where it accounted for 55.8% of transaction volume in CSAO from July 2022 through June 2022 as compared to 35.3% the previous…

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