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The Chief Executive Officer of cryptocurrency exchange Bitmex, Alex Hoeptner, predicts that by the end of next year, at least five countries will have accepted Bitcoin as legal tender just like El Salvador. He said last week:
“My prediction is that by the end of next year, we’ll have at least five countries that accept bitcoin as legal tender. All of them will be developing countries. Here’s why I think developing countries will jump into crypto in 2022.”
Hoeptner cited three main contributors that drive the adoption of bitcoin in developing countries.
A first factor is remittances. Hoeptner pointed that remittances made up 23% of El Salvador’s GDP in 2020 and that low and middle-income countries receive about 75% of total global remittances. In addition, $540 billion in remittances reached low and middle income countries in 2020. The CEO said:
“This money has got to find a way home somehow. But the current system of remittances – led by money service providers like Western Union – is ripping people off by charging them an average of 10% just to send money home the next business day.”
Inflation will become another key reason for countries to officially recognize Bitcoin. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecasted inflation for developed countries in 2021 at 2.4% and 5.4% for developing countries.
In times like this, where inflation spikes, Hoeptner said, people look for alternatives to fiat currencies:
“As inflation climbed well above 15% this year in Turkey, crypto adoption surged. Turkey responded by quickly banning the use of crypto for goods and services, but inflation is now at 19.25%.”
“Bitcoin fixes this, with its capped supply of 21 million. And developed countries, and their people. are noticing.”
The third deciding factor is politics. Many politicians “are skilled and savvy, and have an interest in positioning themselves as progressive, populist, and new age thinkers,” he continued.
“Over the next year, and as El Salvador works out the kinks in its rollout, savvy politicians will be thinking of how they can take a similar path, and how it might benefit both them and their constituents. What El Salvador did is take the first leap of faith, making similar moves by other countries much easier to consider.”
It is not all blue skies and sunshine though, the Bitmex CEO concluded: “Any failings by these leaders in the implementation phase may hurt wider adoption of cryptocurrencies in general. That’s the dangerous dilemma that lies ahead.”
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Author: Peter Siu