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Chainalysis: MENA Region Now World’s Fastest Growing Crypto Market

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Chainalysis: MENA Region Now World’s Fastest Growing Crypto Market

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region now boasts the world’s fastest-growing cryptocurrency market, according to a survey by blockchain analytics and research firm Chainalysis.

MENA Received $566bn in Crypto in 12 Months

The study, which was released on the company’s blog on Wednesday, October 5, 2022, has revealed that the volume of cryptocurrency received in that region of the world increased by 48% between June 2021 and June 2022, hitting $566 billion. 

The research is a component of Chainalysis’  global index of cryptocurrency adoption, which will go live later this month.

Impressively, while the MENA region is one of the smallest crypto markets, that rapid increase in the area compares with gains of 40% in Latin America, 36% in North America, and 35% in Central and Southern Asia.

Three MENA countries made the top 30 in Chainalysis’ 2022 Global Crypto Adoption Index, with Turkey in 12th place, Egypt in 14th spot, and Morocco in 24th.

The number of cryptocurrency transactions increased significantly in Egypt, where it more than quadrupled. Chainalysis revealed that the country is looking to integrate crypto into its remittance structure which plays a significant part in its economy.

“Remittance payments account for about 8% of Egypt’s GDP, and the country’s national bank has already begun a project to build a crypto-based remittance corridor between Egypt and the UAE, where many Egyptian natives work,” Chainalysis said.

Turkey had the highest single-country share in the $566 billion MENA combined amount, contributing $192 billion. Chainalysis linked the high adoption rate to the severe depreciation of the Turkish lira. Inflation in the Middle Eastern nation reached 80.5% over the previous twelve months.

While the major economic centers of the MENA region, like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), did not rank high in the crypto adoption index, the report stressed their significance in the global cryptocurrency space should not be “underestimated.”

“Saudi Arabia, for example, is the third-largest crypto market in all of MENA, and UAE is fifth,” the report said. “They also have deep ties to the global crypto markets: in our Sub-saharan Africa and Central & Southern Asia sections, we find that Dubai has become a hub for crypto companies that serve customers all across Asia and Africa, not just in the Middle East.”

The Taliban Wages War Against Crypto

While things are looking promising for the MENA region in crypto adoption, countries like the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan are going in the opposite direction, given the new government’s view on crypto as “equal to gambling.” 

Cryptocurrency growth has seen a sharp decline in Afghanistan since the Taliban’s subsequent crackdown on the industry, most recently shutting down 16 crypto exchanges in the country in 24 hours.

Notably, Afghanistan was ranked 20th by Chainalysis for crypto adoption in 2021, averaging $68 million per month in trading volume. It has now fallen by 99 percent at less than $80,000 per month.

At press time, the combined market cap of the crypto markets stands at $964.59 billion, with the price of Bitcoin (BTC) hovering at around $20.155.