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Emerging markets are driving crypto adoption thanks to stablecoins and the ability to earn - Wei Zhou

Kitco News

Emerging markets are driving crypto adoption because of the soundness that U.S. dollar stablecoins offer, and because of the ability to make money from blockchain-based gaming, according to Wei Zhou, CEO of, the largest crypto exchange in the Philippines.

Zhou, who previously served as the CFO of Binance and has over 15 years of experience in technology and media, said that since the U.S. dollar is viewed as a safe haven asset in emerging markets, stablecoins allow people to transact in U.S. dollars without having to pay significant transaction fees.

“They [overseas workers] are getting charged anywhere between three to ten percent in terms of the cost of sending that money,” Zhou observed. “That’s just one use case where we think that crypto and blockchain can be a better solution.”

A 2022 Chainalysis report found that Vietnam, the Philippines, and Ukraine are the top countries in the world in terms of crypto adoption.

Speaking with David Lin, Anchor and Producer at Kitco News, Zhou said that online gaming, and the ability to make money from it, is another reason for emerging-market crypto adoption.

“There’s no cheaper form of entertainment than mobile games,” he said. “With these types of games, you have this environment where NFTs come into play, where you can actually earn value as you play a game.”

Zhou suggested that although earning $5 from playing a game may not seem like much in the U.S. or Canada, in Nigeria or India this can be a significant amount of money.

“I think that a more skill-based type of gameplay is coming, and that will drive real earnings,” he said.

Bitcoin replacing fiat money

So-called “Bitcoin maxis” propose that Bitcoin, because of its scarcity and security, will replace fiat money and become a dominant store of value, and a medium of exchange, as Bitcoin’s adoption increases.

Zhou said that this is unlikely, given Bitcoin’s volatility.

“I think other types of tokens can provide that use case,” he claimed, “and I think you’re seeing that now with CBDCs, which are basically going to be stablecoins denominated in local currencies.”

CBDCs, or central bank digital currencies, are fiat tokens issued and controlled by central banks.

To find out why Zhou believes that ‘strict regulation’ of crypto is necessary, watch the video above

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