10 Cities That Are Bitcoin Hotspots

Have you ever wanted to buy something with bitcoin? There are now some 32,000 venues that accept payment in cryptocurrency around the world, with thousands of them in the U.S.

Bitcoin is not without controversy, but one fact is indisputable: increasingly, merchants and venues are willing to accept digital currency for payment. In this article, we identify which cities are at the forefront of embracing virtual currency.

Key Takeaways

  • The first bitcoin was mined in 2009—now, thousands of merchants worldwide accept virtual currency for payment.
  • Enthusiasts can purchase bitcoin at thousands of ATMs globally.
  • Southern California, South Florida, the Great Lakes, and the Northeast stand out as prominent bitcoin hotspots in the U.S.
  • Several municipal governments are seeking to attract crypto businesses by facilitating bitcoin adoption.
  • El Salvador was the first country to officially make bitcoin legal tender in 2021.

How to Measure Bitcoin Adoption

We looked at three metrics—the number of merchants accepting bitcoin in each city, the number of bitcoin automated teller machines (ATMs) available, and population size relative to bitcoin activity. For merchant data, we looked at Coinmap, a collaborative tool for listing and locating businesses that accept bitcoin, and Coin ATM Radar, which shows the location of bitcoin ATMs. We also considered the presence of major crypto businesses and industry leaders.

Here are ten leading cities for bitcoin adoption as of Sept. 2, 2023.

1. San Francisco

Not surprisingly, the technology capital of the United States figures prominently on our list. San Francisco is home to cryptocurrency trading platforms Coinbase and Kraken. Hundreds of merchants accept bitcoin, from restaurants and bars to hostels and stores. There are 408 bitcoin ATMs in the Bay Area, including 55 in the city of San Francisco itself. Not bad, given its relatively small population of 808,000.

2. Vancouver

Bitcoin has a strong community in Canada, which has taken regulatory steps to embrace virtual currency. Vancouver was home to QuadrigaCX, the defunct cryptocurrency exchange that lost C$180 million in client funds after the alleged death of its founder. There are about 30 merchants who accept bitcoin in Vancouver or the surrounding suburbs and 214 locations to buy bitcoin. In fact, the world’s first bitcoin ATM began operations at Waves Coffee House on October 29, 2013, in downtown Vancouver. The city is home to more than 631,000 residents.

3. Amsterdam

Amsterdam is home to mining hardware maker Bitfury and the European headquarters of payment service provider BitPay. Coinmap identifies more than 35 places to spend bitcoin in the Dutch capital, including bike repair shops, barbers, and coffee shops. The city’s 840,000 residents have about half a dozen bitcoin ATMs available to them. Merchants in Utrecht, Rotterdam, and The Hague also accept cryptocurrency.

4. Ljubljana

Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and its largest city, with a population of about 293,000. The prominent bitcoin exchange Bitstamp was founded by Slovenians before setting up operations in Luxembourg and London. Ljubljana has about a dozen bitcoin ATMs in the city and surrounding areas and roughly 150 merchants who say they accept bitcoin.

5. Tel Aviv

Israel’s financial center and one of the world’s leading cities for startups has more than 20 merchants accepting bitcoin and five bitcoin ATMs in a population of 451,500. The Israel Bitcoin Meetup Group in Tel Aviv is among the most active globally, with more than 4,000 members.

6. Portsmouth

This small coastal city in New Hampshire is home to a surprisingly large community of cryptocurrency users. Dubbed “bitcoin village” by local residents, the downtown area is home to five crypto-friendly businesses. There are also 48 bitcoin ATMs and tellers in Portsmouth and nearby towns—a surprisingly high figure for a town of only 22,000.

7. Miami

This major metropolis has about four dozen merchants who say they accept bitcoin and a surprising 786 bitcoin ATMs and tellers. It is also home to the Miami Bitcoin Conference, one of the oldest and largest conventions of the cryptocurrency industry.

The city’s government is seeking to attract blockchain businesses to their city, and Mayor Francis Suarez has proposed investing city funds in bitcoin and even launching a municipal cryptocurrency.

8. San Salvador

San Salvador is the capital of El Salvador, the first country to adopt the cryptocurrency as legal tender. The city has 61 bitcoin ATMs and three businesses that accept the cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin can be used to pay taxes, and foreign investors are not subject to capital gains taxes. The national government has also worked with entrepreneurs to introduce a simplified bitcoin wallet for low-fee transactions.

9. New York

The financial and tech hub of 8.4 million people can spend their bitcoin at about three dozen merchants in the metro area, including the Bitcoin Store in lower Manhattan and CryptoART in Morningside Heights. New York is also a major hub for crypto startups and media companies, such as CoinDesk, Decrypt, and CoinTelegraph, as well as home to Consensus, one of the largest annual events in the crypto industry.

New York City is yet to have bitcoin ATMs installed, according to CoinATMRadar.com (as of Sep. 2, 2023).

10. London

The capital of the United Kingdom is home to 8.9 million residents and about 50 merchants who accept bitcoin for payment. Startups based in the city include Coinfloor, which claims to be the oldest bitcoin exchange in the U.K. There are also dozens of bitcoin and cryptocurrency Meetup groups in London.

Runners Up

Other regions are becoming more accepting of bitcoin and cryptocurrency—adoption rates are rising in Vietnam, the Phillippines, Ukraine, and India. Many countries experiencing economic uncertainty and currency volatility, such as Venezuela and Zimbabwe, also are becoming more crypto-friendly.

Which City Uses Bitcoin the Most?

San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles are well-known in the crypto industry for crypto and bitcoin adoption. Worldwide, cities throughout Europe have adopted crypto, as have cities in Asia such as Tokyo, Seoul, and many others.

What Is the Best Place to Live With Bitcoin?

If you want to use your bitcoin, you might want to consider living in an area that accepts it. Some of the countries increasingly adopting crypto are Vietnam, the Philippines, India, the U.S., Brazil, and Thailand. However, businesses in many countries allow crypto, and you can access it from anywhere, so you can live and use bitcoin in a wide variety of places.

Which State Uses Bitcoin the Most in the US?

California tops the bitcoin usage charts, according to CoinTracker.

The Bottom Line

Since the first block was mined in 2009, bitcoin has made substantial inroads. The impressive rate of adoption suggests that virtual currencies are here to stay. While it is not surprising that international financial centers have embraced bitcoin, it’s interesting that smaller towns have done so, too.

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