Europe has emerged as the world’s biggest cryptocurrency economy, receiving over €870 billion in digital currencies in 2020. According to an analysis by Chainalysis, central, northern, and western Europe (CNWE) accounted for 25% of all global cryptocurrency activity. The region’s new position in the top spot is the result of tremendous growth starting in July 2020. This is also attributed to a noted decline in activity in Eastern Asia.
The proliferation of institutional investment, signaled by large transactions drove much of the growth, the report says. It described CNWE as the biggest cryptocurrency trading partner for every other region, sending at least 25% of all value received by other regions, including North America at 34%. Supporting data shows that over the last 12 months, the majority of large institutional-sized transfers went to DeFi platforms.
The United Kingdom leads by a wide margin at $170 billion, 49% of which is from value sent to DeFi protocols. France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland make up the top five. DeFi’s share, as per the report, of all activity is relatively uniform across all countries in the CNWE.
The majority of the transfers were made in Ethereum and wrapped Ethereum (wETH). Stablecoin usage is consistently between 25% and 30% of all transactions volume for most countries. In Monaco, stablecoins account for 39% of activity. Altcoin usage is similarly consistent at 8-11% for most regions. Combined, Ethereum and wETH are the most popular cryptocurrency in nearly every country.
The report highlighted that DeFi protocols represent three to four of the top five services in most months – with Uniswap, Instadapp, and dydx making frequent appearances. Binance and Coinbase remain the most popular centralized exchanges.
Moreover, Chainalysis believes CNWE is a key source of liquidity to cryptocurrency investors around the world. The region’s status as a global hub becomes clearer when we look at the overlap of the services most used in CNWE and the rest of the world, the report said.