Middle East/North Africa Was Fastest-Growing Crypto Market Over Past 12 Months: Chainalysis

MENA-based users received $566 billion in cryptocurrency from July 2021 to June 2022

AccessTimeIconOct 5, 2022 at 11:48 a.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 3:58 a.m. UTC

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region was the fastest-growing market for crypto adoption during the 12-month period that ended on June 30, according to blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis.

MENA-based users received $566 billion in cryptocurrency between July 2021 and July 2022, a 48% increase from the previous year.

That growth compares with increases of 40% in Europe, 36% in North America and 35% in Central and Southern Asia.

The largest increase in percentage terms was in Egypt, where crypto transaction volume more than tripled. Chainalysis cited the devaluation of the Egyptian pound of 13.5% as well as the country's remittance market. Remittances account for about 8% of Egypt's gross domestic product.

Turkey accounted for $192 billion of the MENA's total of $566 billion, the largest share by one single country in the region. Chainalysis attributed that to the steep devaluation of the Turkey lira. The Middle Eastern country experienced inflation of 80.5% in the last year.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, cryptocurrency activity in Afghanistan has collapsed since last August following the Taliban's takeover there and subsequent crackdown on the industry.

Afghanistan was ranked 20th by Chainalysis for crypto adoption in 2021, with transaction volume averaging $68 million per month prior to the takeover. It now sits at less than $80,000 per month.

UPDATE (12:00 UTC, Oct. 5, 2022): Adds paragraphs on Afghanistan


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Jamie Crawley

Jamie Crawley is a CoinDesk news reporter based in London.