Bitcoins can be earned either by mining them or receiving them as payment for providing goods or services—or by exchanging them against fiat currencies (like the U.S. dollar or the Japanese yen), or against other cryptocurrencies.
Rapidly changing Bitcoin valuations have fueled a high volume of speculative trading activity around the globe. Many people who trust blockchain technology and the monetary ecosystem based on Bitcoin are purchasing virtual currency as long-term investments.
Increasing acceptance by all genres of businesses—from local coffee shops to large corporations like Dell and Microsoft—may help fuel the adoption of the virtual currency. Before making a purchase, some people may compare whether they are better off paying for an item in fiat currencies or in Bitcoins.
Top Fiat Currencies for Bitcoin Trades
Coinhills provides a list of the most traded national currencies for trading Bitcoin based on information from currencies, markets, and exchanges registered at Coinhills. The data below is as of March 12, 2021.
1. U.S. Dollar (USD)
The American dollar currently ranks first on the list of fiat currencies trading Bitcoins, with over 82% of the market share. The consistent top rank of the U.S. dollar in Bitcoin dealing is because of several factors.
Being a quick adopter of any new technology, the U.S. found a large user base in the blockchain-based Bitcoin that quickly gained traction in the country. Meanwhile, many other nations and their regulators were slow to embrace the development of Bitcoin. For example, in populous countries like India, individuals who are holding bitcoins directly, or through intermediaries, have bought them by first converting the Indian rupees to U.S. dollars and then using the dollars to purchase the bitcoins.
With nearly 7% market share, the Japanese yen comes in second when used for dealing in Bitcoin. Japan was previously the leader for many years thanks to multiple bans imposed by the Chinese government on China-based Bitcoin exchanges since September 2017. All those Bitcoin trading activities from China swiftly moved abroad, with Japan being the biggest beneficiary of the Chinese ban.
Japanese regulators were also some of the earliest adopters and among the most accommodating of the virtual currency. They have been very proactive in putting up the necessary regulations, and have promptly streamlined Bitcoin trading, enabling it to gain the lion’s share of the global market.
The currency of Europe, the Euro, ranks third on the list with 4.9% market share in trading Bitcoin. Part of what hinders the Euro's growth when it comes to buying Bitcoin is that it remains confined to certain regions. The German city of Berlin has been welcoming to Bitcoin, with the Netherlands and Belgium also being important hubs for the cryptocurrency.
4. Korean Won (KRW)
The South Korean won ranks fourth with 3.3% of the market share. The share of KRW in Bitcoin trading has declined significantly since 2018 as the country's regulators banned cryptocurrency traders in Korea from using anonymous bank accounts.
The country's finance minister, Kim Dong-yeon, mentioned that “there is no intention to ban or suppress cryptocurrency (market)." In 2020, Korea became one of the first countries to pass comprehensive cryptocurrency laws.
No Chinese Yuan
Interestingly, the Chinese yuan no longer figures in the list of top fiat currencies used to trade Bitcoins. In 2014 and 2015, as the Chinese yuan was devalued, it surged to the top rank, beating both the Japanese yen and the U.S. dollar. It maintained its lead until late 2017. However, amid increasing state-imposed regulations and crackdown on illegal Bitcoin trade, the dealings have rapidly moved to other venues, including Japan and Hong Kong, leaving the yuan out of the top list. As of March 2021, it ranked 32nd, behind the likes of Kazakhstani tenge and Israeli shekel.