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By Ciaran Ryan

Moneyweb: Journalist & Host of Moneyweb Crypto Podcast

The world’s most crypto-friendly destinations

Ljubljana in Europe and New York in the US – based on the growing number of bitcoin ATMs and retailers accepting crypto as payment.

Silicon Valley may not have as many places to eat and shop as Los Angeles, but it understands what its populations needs and wants: hundreds of bitcoin ATMs. There are 437 bitcoin ATMs in the Bay area, with 65 dotted around the city of San Francisco, according to a recent study by Fast Private Jet.

The US has the highest number of crypto ATMs in the world, now numbering just short of 31 000, followed by Canada (2 273) and El Salvador (205) which last year started accepting bitcoin (BTC) as legal tender.

It’s not just the availability of bitcoin ATMs that makes a city crypto-friendly.

Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana comes out tops in the rankings of the world’s most crypto-friendly destinations, followed by Prague in the Czech Republic, Buenos Aires in Argentina and Tokyo in Japan.

In the US, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco are the most crypto-friendly cities because of the number of retail venues and restaurants accepting cryptos.

Slovenia has a high concentration of blockchain enterprises, and now faces new legislation around cryptocurrency to determine how crypto holdings and transactions are going to be taxed. The government proposes a 10% flat tax for people exchanging cryptocurrency for fiat money, which would also apply for purchases made with crypto.

Prague came out as the second best crypto-friendly destination in Europe. The city has one of the world’s first bitcoin-only coffee houses, Paralelní Polis.

Prague residents can also use crypto for shopping, seeing a film and even paying rent.

Interestingly, forex-challenged countries like Argentina and Venezuela appear high on the list of crypto-friendly destinations.

The least crypto-friendly destinations

Among the least crypto-friendly destinations are China and Qatar. China imposed multiple bans on crypto, starting with a prohibition on financial institutions interacting with crypto, to an outright ban. China later launched its own government-approved digital currency, the digital Yuan, which was widely used during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Other countries include Oman, ​​Egypt, Qatar, Algeria, Iraq, Morocco, Tunisia and Bangladesh, which have all banned cryptocurrency for different reasons.

An additional 42 other countries, including Algeria, Bahrain and Bolivia, have implicitly banned crypto by restricting the ability for banks handling digital currencies, or have straight up prohibited the exchange of any cryptocurrencies, says the study.

Until the end of 2021 crypto exchanges in Argentina did not incur taxes because they were part of an exemption. However, due to the increase of cryptocurrency purchases in the region, at the end of 2021 Argentinian officials announced a plan to tax crypto exchanges.

Surprisingly, jet-setting locales like Luxembourg and Monaco are way down the list of crypto-friendly destinations.

“These destinations are sought after luxury holiday destinations – with Luxembourg being the wealthiest nation in Europe and Monaco known to be a favourite destination of the rich and famous. Due to the audience these destinations attract, we expect to see more crypto-friendly spots appear in these metropolises in the near future,” says the study.

Tokyo in Japan scores highly for being a crypto-friendly destination based on the number of eateries and shops available in the country, but this is not matched by the number of crypto ATMs – the country has just the one crypto ATM recorded in Tokyo.

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