REPORT | MENA Region Responsible for 7.2% of Global Crypto Transaction Volume vs 2.3% for Sub-Saharan Africa, Says 2023 Chainalysis Report

According to Chainalysis, The Middle East & North Africa (MENA) has the sixth largest crypto economy of any region they studied in 2023. In comparison, Sub-Saharan Africa received 2.3% of crypto value over the same period.

According to Chainalysis, The Middle East & North Africa (MENA) has the sixth largest crypto economy of any region they studied in 2023.

This is estimated to be $389.8 billion in on-chain value received between July 2022 and June 2023, representing nearly 7.2% of global transaction volume during the period studied.

In comparison to Sub-Saharan Africa, which received 2.3% of crypto value over the same period, North African countries are proving to be potentially big markets for crypto in the coming years.

MENA is also home to three of the top 30 countries in this year’s index:

  • Turkey (12)
  • Morocco (20), and
  • Iran (28)

In addition to Morocco, other African countries with substantial volumes from the region include:

  • Egypt
  • Algeria, and
  • Tunisia

One country that stands out from the region according to the analysis, is the United Arab Emirates which sees a much higher share of crypto activity taking place on DeFi protocols.

According to Chainalysis, one reason for this is that the UAE has turned itself into a global crypto hub by passing innovation-friendly regulatory frameworks that allow groundbreaking crypto platforms to develop with oversight that keeps consumers safe.


“Those regulatory frameworks have attracted many crypto entrepreneurs and enthusiasts to the region, which may be why DeFi – which represents the cutting edge of blockchain technology in many ways – sees more usage there.”


Turkey stands out in the region when it comes to use of NFTs and is the top country in the region by web traffic to NFT platforms, despite the overall decline in NFT activity since mid-2022.

Saudi Arabia is also one of the region’s standout countries as no country in the world saw its crypto economy grow more this past year than Saudi Arabia, with year-over-year transaction volume growth of 12.0%.


“In fact, Saudi Arabia is one of only six countries alongside the likes of Nigeria to see any year-over-year transaction volume growth during the time period studied,” says the Chainalysis report.


When it comes to reasons for holding cryptocurrencies in MENA countries with unstable currency or inflation, crypto is used to safeguard wealth while users in more economically stable countries like the UAE may be more inclined to explore more investment-focused, cutting edge use cases.


“The UAE also provides a valuable example of how regulatory clarity and rules designed to allow innovation can enable countries to establish themselves as crypto hubs, bolstering the local economy.”




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