Current crypto adoption levels across the globe

Lunar Station
9 min readMay 1, 2021


Opinion (Not financial advice)

(Not a promotion/ endorsement, purely opinionated and this opinion may not be shared by others in Lunar Station. Always do your research before investing. Every financial activity carries a risk).

Written by @BigSteak, Edited by @RealScrout

“H3y, is DOGE a g0od 8uy?”

If you’re like me, then you’ve had this question texted to you at least 17 times in the past two weeks. At the very least, you were at the gym, on leg day, and you overheard a conversation between two people who don’t know what ETH is, but one was telling the other one about a coin on Tik Tok called MoonDogeElon that did a 100000x.

And at that very moment, you wanted to drop the weight you were lifting onto your foot and frame them for it.

For long time crypto enthusiasts, this feels like the top of the 2017 bull run. I’m here to tell you it’s NOT. It’s just one more step towards mass adoption of crypto by the mass of ‘normies’ who think crypto is DOGE or that Bitcoin is used to buy MDMA from the dark web (Not an endorsement).

[1] Elon loves DOGE

The crypto sphere has come a long way from Satoshi’s paper about Bitcoin, the peer-to-peer version of electronic cash that allows online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution. As an application of blockchain technology, Bitcoin was never going to be the pinnacle of crypto, just like Friendster was never going to be the crowning achievement of social media.

It was only the beginning.

So, where are we exactly in terms of global crypto adoption in 2021?

The short answer is crypto is already utilised globally, and it isn’t going anywhere! It is estimated that 106 million people use cryptocurrencies around the world [2]. This represents a nearly 200% increase in crypto users since 2018 [3].

[4] Crypto users worldwide

Yes, 106 million people don’t seem like THAT many relative to the world’s population; but that doesn’t mean it’s not on its way to mainstream adoption. To illustrate, roughly 6% of people in the U.S. (about 20 million) use or have owned cryptocurrencies. That’s the same number of people who watch Monday Night Football. Would you say that Football is not mainstream? Of course not. Similarly, although a small percentage of U.S. residents use crypto, I’d venture to say that the vast majority of them are at least aware it exists.

In Q1 of this year, large institutional investors bought crypto assets and added them to their portfolio. Coinbase held its IPO on April 14, 2021. PayPal now allows customers to checkout seamlessly with crypto payments to millions of businesses, thereby significantly increasing cryptocurrency utility [5], and Visa announced they are “moving into crypto in a big way.” [6]

However, cryptocurrencies used for buying and selling or as an investment are just some of its use case. Since 2017 we have also seen innovations in the space that will push crypto into the mainstream at a much faster pace — Defi and NFTs.


Defi (Decentralized Finance) has given people the ability to do most of the things that centralised banks support — earn interest, borrow, lend, trade assets, and more. It goes far beyond bitcoin as digital gold. It gives people back sovereignty over their money. Defi aims to create a financial system that’s open to everyone and minimizes one’s need to trust and rely on central authorities.

At the time of this writing, according to Defi Pulse, the TVL (Total Value Locked) in Defi is $64.18B [7]. That is just a little more than the GDP of Luxembourg [8]. As more and more learn about Defi and get more comfortable with the idea of staking their assets in these protocols, that on average, can earn from about 4% to 8% or more (most high yield banks by comparison offer 0.5% APY…disgusting). I’m convinced the TVL in Defi will, at the very least, overtake the GDP of Indonesia (about $1 trillion) [9].

Defi can be complicated and, to keep it 100% honest, many boomers will never invest. I know this because I get stuck behind someone at the store who writes a check to pay AT LEAST once a year. A CHECK! I hate to generalize, but this person always looks like they religiously watch every CSI and NCIS shows there is, if you catch my drift. If they don’t pay with a debit card, they’re not going to use KeeperDao.


NFTs are another popular blockchain application that has massive implications for the future of social media, art, sports, and entertainment. NFTs are probably the most critical innovation in the crypto and blockchain space since Bitcoin.

On the other hand, NFTs are the intersection of crypto and pop culture. Not everyone is interested in taking control of their money. But almost everyone is interested in culture. Currently, NFTs seem to be dominated by celebrities and artists looking to cash in on the trend. But as NFTs penetrate deeper into the culture, and people learn that they can mint an NFT of themselves and monetize it, instead of trading it in for worthless likes on Facebook or Instagram, it’s a no brainer. Of course, this assumes at some point, an extremely intuitive and user-friendly platform on par with Facebook comes out that requires little to no technical knowledge. Some more practical ideas of applications of NFT’s can be seen in our other medium about blockchain and education.

[10] CryptoPunk 7804 sold for $7.57M on March 11, 2021

I’m aware that I’m taking an optimistic view of crypto and its future. I didn’t take too much time talking about meme coins that serve no purpose other than to rug our BNB and precious ETH or make us break our feet on leg day at the gym. But, it is worth mentioning some potential ticking time bombs that could derail crypto innovation.

USA and China

Some people are afraid of the possibility of China banning Bitcoin (not crypto) in favour of its own Central Bank Digital Currency [11]. China hates privacy, so such a move is understandable. But this doesn’t mean they will succeed. It just means mining operations will either be forced to move or go underground. China can ban crypto as much as it can restrict the internet.

There’s also the uncertainty around U.S. regulators possibly launching a regulatory attack on crypto. But the U.S. does everything at a glacial pace. And as more and more large U.S. institutions buy crypto and start making crazy money for their investors that surpasses any other asset class in their portfolio, a regulatory attack on crypto is unlikely. Also, city governments with a progressive business plan have already warmed up to the idea of investing a portion of their treasury into Bitcoin and related technologies. Did you know the city of Miami posted the original Satoshi Bitcoin White Paper on their website? Because they did…[12] It’s almost as if they send out a signal to crypto entrepreneurs to come to innovate in Miami.

What about Biden’s new tax plan or the rumours that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wants to tax crypto at 80% (or ban it) because of its alleged use by criminals? It’s doubtful that crypto would be taxed at 80%. That’s unnecessarily punitive. Not to mention there are enough big money and lobby groups who don’t want to see that happen. Even former CIA Director Michael Morrell pushed back against fear-mongering lawmakers saying,

“We need to make sure that the conventional wisdom that is wrong about the illicit use of Bitcoin doesn’t hold us back from pushing forward the technological changes that are going to allow us to keep pace with China.” [13]

The only thing the United States loves more than taxing its citizens is beating China.


As a general rule, everything discussed here applies to the whole world. The U.S., China, India, and Europe are all at varying stages of adoption. But it appears that crypto and all its associated use cases are the next major technological innovation that will dramatically change how we live and communicate with each other globally. And for early investors, it will mint millionaires and billionaires the same way Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google did.

Web 3.0, which aims to integrate blockchain technology into its infrastructure, will bring us one step closer to complete decentralization of the internet and the platforms that dominate everyday life. As we have already seen, the tech will outpace government controls, whether it’s an outright ban or excessive regulations.

So the next time you get a text message asking if “DOGE i5 a gud buy,” don’t respond with a yes or no. Instead, ask what the APY is on their savings account. Ask them how much money did Facebook pay them to upload their photos. Ask them if people should be allowed to do and say what they want on the internet. If you like them, tell them about Ethereum. If you don’t like them tell them to buy ADA.

Or do none of those things.

But whatever you do, don’t wait to buy crypto today. It’s the future.





[1] Musk, E. (2021). [online] Twitter. Available at: [Accessed 29 Apr. 2021].

[2] Wang, K. (2021). Measuring Global Crypto Users A Study to Measure Market Size Using On-Chain Metrics. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Apr. 2021].

[3] Statista. (2021). Cryptocurrency users worldwide 2020. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Apr. 2021].

[4] Buchholz, K. (2021). Infographic: How Common is Crypto? [online] Statista Infographics. Available at: [Accessed 29 Apr. 2021].

[5] Hunter, T. (2021). PayPal Launches “Checkout with Crypto.” [online] PayPal Newsroom. Available at: [Accessed 29 Apr. 2021].

[6] McSweeney, M. (2021). Visa CEO says payments giant is moving into crypto in a “very big way.” [online] The Block. Available at: [Accessed 29 Apr. 2021].

[7] (2021). DeFi Pulse | The DeFi Leaderboard | Stats, Charts and Guides. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Apr. 2021].

[8] Worldometers (2017). GDP by Country — Worldometers. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Apr. 2021].

[9] Farrington, R. (2020). The Top Crypto Savings Accounts Of 2021. [online] The College Investor. Available at: [Accessed 29 Apr. 2021].

[10] (n.d.). CryptoPunks: Details for Punk #7804. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Apr. 2021].

[11] Cox, J. (2021). China leaps into a central digital bank currency, but similar progress eludes the U.S. [online] CNBC. Available at: [Accessed 29 Apr. 2021].

[12] (2021). Bitcoin White Paper. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 Apr. 2021].

[13] Ehrlich, S. (2021). Janet Yellen, Bitcoin And Crypto Fearmongers Get Pushback From Former CIA Director. [online] Forbes. Available at: [Accessed 29 Apr. 2021].



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