Germany and the United States shared the spoils in the latest quarterly global cryptocurrency rankings released by analytics firm Coincub.
The two countries now share the top rankings, with Germany making space for the rising U.S., having topped the first quarter rankings for 2022. Their dominance is due to progressive regulatory environments and major Bitcoin (BTC) investments by mainstream institutions.
Coincub’s rankings tally up points across nine overall categories, which focus on government, financial services, population, taxation, talent development and industry participants, trading, fraud and environmental potential. The current ranking system introduced new sub-categories like crypto education courses and initial coin offerings to create a more comprehensive gauge.
Germany’s move to allow its savings industry to utilize crypto investments and benefit from a zero-tax policy on capital gains of Bitcoin and Ether (ETH) held for more than a year was a key reason for its rise to the top of the rankings earlier this year.
The U.S. moved up from third to share the top rank, driven by president Joe Biden’s executive order on Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets in March 2022. The directive aims to guarantee the responsible development of the space, provide consumer protection and financial stability, and combat illicit activity.
Coincub also cited global investment firm Fidelity’s decision to include Bitcoin exposure as part of select American pension funds in April 2022 as a pivotal role in the country's climb up the crypto rankings. Parallels were drawn with a move by Germany’s financial services firm Sparkasse to enable its 50 million users to buy Bitcoin directly from their bank accounts.
Switzerland sits third on the global crypto rankings, driven by the most recent development in the country which saw the canton of Lugano recognize Bitcoin as legal tender. This allowed citizens in the area to make everyday payments using BTC, including taxes and municipal accounts and services.
More than 1000 blockchain and virtual asset service providers (VASPs) call Switzerland home, and the country ranks highly for its number of Bitcoin nodes and ATMs. VASPs have to be licensed by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) and abide by anti-money laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) policies.
Singapore is ranked fourth after Q2 in 2022, having fallen from its top spot at the end of 2021 due to recent regulatory tightening from the country’s financial regulator and the central bank.
Australia rounds off the top five of Coincub’s crypto rankings, with the firm highlighting a high number of initial coin offerings, exchanges and transaction volumes as well as a number of universities offering blockchain and crypto educational courses.
Coincub’s rankings combine quantitative data including trading or mining volumes with qualitative elements like government legislation and institutional attitude towards cryptocurrencies. Their reports look to provide a consolidated view of a country’s stance by amalgamating qualitative information and quantitative data.
Amid the soaring inflation, the European Central Bank (ECB) has found time to sum up its concerns about the “significant carbon footprint” of Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies, which require vast amounts of computational power.
ECB published the report titled “Mining the environment – is climate risk priced into crypto-assets?” on July 12. In the report, the ECB research group reinforces the environmental narrative about the battle of protocols, where the proof-of-work (PoW) concept represents a threat to the planet. In contrast, the proof-of-stake (PoS) is the only sustainable crypto option, experts argue.
The article compares the amount of consumed energy by Bitcoin to the yearly energy consumption of individual countries, such as Spain, the Netherlands and Austria. It claims that the combined carbon footprint for Bitcoin and Ether (ETH) negates past the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission savings for most Eurozone countries as of May 2022.
As the main reason behind the significant energy consumption lies in the PoW consensus mechanism, authors deem both Bitcoin and tokens based on the Ethereum blockchain, including stablecoins like Tether (USDT), as particularly non-sustainable and putting the whole green transition project at risk. In July, Ethereum completed a significant trial for the Merge on the Sepolia testnet, pushing the platform nearer to the shift to the PoS consensus mechanism.
At some point, the article sharpens the tension between the green transition goals and crypto in large up to the point of a possible war. Political and social choices on energy sources and energy consumption levels could lead policymakers to privilege certain productive activities, which, in turn, would bring risks for crypto-assets valuation.
According to the report, the benefit of Bitcoin for society is doubtful, and thus:
“It is difficult to see how authorities could opt to ban petrol cars over a transition period but turn a blind eye to bitcoin-type assets built on PoW technology.”
In a further car analogy, the report claims the PoS is the crypto version of the electric vehicle and an obvious candidate for policymakers' incentivization.
Last week the ECB released a report analyzing the growth of the cryptocurrency market over the past decade and the risks it poses to the existing financial system. It concluded that a lack of regulatory oversight added to the recent downfall of algorithmic stablecoins ecosystems such as Terra (LUNA), indicating the contagion effects such stablecoins could have on the financial system.
Despite a backlash from a vocal part of the gaming community, a new survey has revealed one-third of gamers have expressed interest in using crypto in the Metaverse.
And, more gamers than not believe that the Metaverse will have a positive impact on gaming.
The survey was published on Wednesday by institutional software developer Globant. It was conducted by YouGov and polled 1,000 adult PC, console and/or mobile gamers last month, with 34% of respondents indicating an interest in conducting crypto transactions in Metaverse.
The concept of play-to-earn (P2E) in the Metaverse is also relatively well received by gamers, with 40% of respondents stating that they are “interested in pursuing a mix of both the ‘playing’ and ‘earning’ aspects of the Metaverse.” While 11% indicated they are more interested in earning, and 49% stated they are only interested in playing.
More than half (53%) of respondents also stated that they would happily work in virtual game worlds if they were able to earn digital currency from their labor.
In terms of nonfungible tokens (NFTs), 16% of gamers stated that they have purchased at least one in the past. However, it was unclear whether they were gaming related NFTs.
More than half (52%) of gamers believe the Metaverse will change the video game industry and “a plurality of 41% think that the Metaverse will have a positive impact on the industry (vs. 25% who disagree).”
Notably, however, despite 40% of respondents associating blockchain tech with Metaverse, only one blockchain-native platform made the list of the most recognized Metaverse brands.
The most recognized is Meta at 73%, followed by Fortnite creators Epic Games at 27%, Roblox at 21%, Ethereum-based The Sandbox at 15% and Pokemon Go developers Niantic at 10%.
Some die-hard gamers have voiced distaste for crypto and NFTs on numerous occasions, often in response to major companies and brands announcing such integrations into their product lines.
They criticize the environmental impact of the technology and suggest that it negatively impacts the gaming experience, but the core rationale appears to be a belief that companies are just looking for cash grabs in a similar vein to the controversial in-game microtransactions.
Recently, video game developer Mark Venturelli launched an attack on NFTs during Brazil’s International Games Festival in a presentation titled “Why NFTs are a nightmare.”
Venturelli argued that the introduction of speculative economic activity via NFTs will end up ruining the experience for people who just want to play games for fun, as “organized groups” will take over as they work to profit at scale.
This Daily Dose was brought to you by Cointelegraph.