Bitcoin’s meteoric rise has minted scores of crypto millionaires and US investors are taking the lion’s share of riches.
American traders locked in $4.1 billion in profits trading Bitcoin last year, three times more than the next highest country, according to estimates from Chainalysis. The New York-based research firm published a report ranking the top 25 countries with the biggest realized gains.
Whether it’s the belief that crypto can be an inflation hedge against rampant central-bank money printing or the simple desire to make a quick buck from the famously volatile asset, crypto has captivated retail and professional traders around the world.
“Investors in nearly all countries saw the biggest increases toward the end of the year,” wrote researchers at Chainalysis. “That’s when US investors really broke away from the pack, with most of their gains coming from activity on Coinbase.”
China came in second on the list, with $1.1 billion in profits, followed by Japan, the U.K., Russia and Germany. Smaller emerging-market countries, such as Vietnam, Turkey and the Czech Republic were also among the top 25.
Chainalysis said its estimates are derived from tracking transaction data from crypto services, though the decentralized nature of the technology makes it impossible to know where the parties of any individual deal are located.
The frenzy over crypto trading took off late last year as big-name investors such as Paul Tudor Jones endorsed Bitcoin. Prices quadrupled in 2020, finishing the year near $29,000.
The bull market roared through the early months of 2021, with prices surging past $60,000, only to crash in May, amid tougher regulatory scrutiny in China and criticism from Elon Musk. Bitcoin slipped 4 per cent to trade near $33,000 on Tuesday.