You may also be interested in itBit's Top Bitcoin-Friendly Cities in the United States.
Last September, NewsBTC reported on the resulting growth of Bitcoin in Europe, saying, “This year alone, merchants in Europe have processed over 28 million euros worth of bitcoin payments. In the same time span last year, the amount was just 1.4 million euros. That’s a growth rate of 1900% year-over-year.”
2015 shows no signs of slowing as Europeans are quickly mobilizing around the growth of Bitcoin. The table below shows the top 25 bitcoin-friendly cities based on the number of vendors that accept bitcoin:
Top 25 Bitcoin-Friendly Cities in Europe
A Closer Look at the Top Cities
Amsterdam is making a very strong push to be the European HQ for Bitcoin, with 116 vendors accepting the digital currency in the immediate Amsterdam area. There are also an additional 119 vendors that accept bitcoin around Amsterdam, further bolstering the city’s standing as a bitcoin hotbed.
Amsterdam has always had a forward-thinking population, many of whom accept bitcoin in the restaurants, bars and hospitality businesses on which the city thrives. Certainly the purchasing anonymity that bitcoin offers is attractive for some customers and merchants. Amsterdam is home to prominent Bitcoin startups like BitFury and an established giant in the space, BitPay, which recently expanded their European headquarters in in the city. This underscores the city’s serious Bitcoin business potential.
London, a global financial hub, follows closely behind Amsterdam. Fostering growth for Bitcoin businesses is a priority for the city, as it recently opened its first co-working space for Bitcoin companies. Bitcoins are also much more accessible on the street now, as London received a bitcoin ATM (BTM) from Cavirtex, located inside Gateways Newsstands in the Talbot Centre on Fullarton Street. Of the all the businesses accepting Bitcoin, it may be most interesting to see how the city’s BlockStock Bitcoin Festival develops in the coming years.
Perhaps surprising to some, a very robust community of Bitcoin vendors has sprung up in the Dutch city of Arnhem. The city has a solid 45 vendors in the city center, with another 21 in the surrounding areas. This past November, Spar Arnhem Centraal became the first franchised supermarket in the Netherlands to accept Bitcoin. It was also the second Dutch city to open a Bitcoin Boulevard, making it easy for customers to use Bitcoin along a stretch of bars and restaurants.
Further south in Milan, the Bitcoin climate appears to be warming. Commercial businesses make up a large number of vendors accepting Bitcoin. Restaurants like Non Solo Pizza comprise only a small portion of the merchants in the area, however Milan does claim to have the first taxi driver in Italy to accept Bitcoin. While growing, the general attitude seems to be one of curiosity in Italy as many businesses wait to see what transpires with the cryptocurrency.
The Impact of Bitcoin Startups
The excitement around Bitcoin and blockchain technology has lead to a groundswell movement in the private sector, as there is now noticeable growth in European Bitcoin startups. As is often the case, companies on the bleeding edge of technology will help foster acceptance in their hometowns.
It’s no surprise then to see a large number of Bitcoin and digital currency-focused startups situated around many of the cities in our top 25. The highest concentrations can be found in and around Amsterdam and London, the top two cities on the list.The proliferation of smaller startups focused on Bitcoin solutions has lead to more readily available Bitcoin vendors, ATMs and services. (See map below)
The most prominent European Bitcoin startup is the aforementioned Amsterdam-based BitFury, which raised 20m in May 2014. Others include Safello, a Stockholm-based Bitcoin exchange, which raised nearly 1m in 2014 and London-based CryptoPay. Globally, bitcoin firms raised $314.7m in 2014, an increase of over 300% from 2013 in which $93.8m was invested.
What’s Next for Europe?
Generally speaking, consumers are continuing to find more favorable Bitcoin conditions in Europe. Regulatory uncertainty in the U.S. combined with progressive attitudes in Spain, the U.K. and throughout the region will present businesses and merchants with better clarity and direction on how to accept Bitcoin payments. And a growing number of travel providers accepting Bitcoin payments means that it’s easier than ever to escape your town and see some of these bustling, bitcoin-friendly metropolises in person!