With shifting regulatory regimes worldwide, crypto is on the move to find the best locales to put down roots, get licensed, register or just be. Crypto Hubs 2023, our ranking of the top 15 global crypto hubs, is a good place to start. If you could relocate anywhere in the world, where would you go? This is basically the question CoinDesk is answering in Crypto Hubs 2023 with a ranked list of the best places to live and work for crypto professionals.

On the methodology, Jeanhee Kim, Senior Editor at CoinDesk Magazine, wrote to Grit Daily to say: “We put ourselves in a crypto startup founder’s shoes and collected then weighted data for eight different criteria that range from regulatory friendliness and digital infrastructure to quality of life. Our results, a ranked list of 15 crypto hubs, may contain some surprises. And we hope it will spark discussion.” 

Crypto is on the move. In the last several weeks alone, three exchanges, including Binance, Bybit, and OKX, have exited Canada altogether. Gemini announced it would dramatically boost headcount and operations in Singapore. And venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) has named its first non-U.S. outpost – in London.

This is a fluid time for crypto companies as it seems the regulatory landscape is shifting eastward from North America, where both the U.S. and Canada are seen as unfriendly. In the past year or so, Dubai established the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA), with neighboring city Abu Dhabi seeking to pass its own crypto-friendly regulatory framework this year, the European Union passed the Markets in Crypto-Assets regulation in April, and just this month, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission began accepting license applications for crypto exchanges.

The lack of a global regulatory framework for crypto has made it possible, if not imperative, to practice regulatory arbitrage. Last year, directors of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Monetary and Capital Markets department called for a global framework to “bring order to the markets, help instill consumer confidence, lay out the limits of what is permissible, and provide a safe space for useful innovation to continue.”

Without further ado, the list:

  • Zug: Where Ethereum Was Born, and Crypto Goes to Grow Up
  • Singapore: The Center for Asian Crypto Wealth Is Ready for a Reset
  • London: The World’s Capital for Foreign Exchange Adds Cryptocurrencies to Its Ledger0
  • Seoul: Asia’s Retail Crypto Capital Tries to Move on After Do Kwon
  • Dubai: Launching a Crypto Regulatory Arm to Become a Global Financial Power

Ranking crypto hubs worldwide with some level of accuracy and credibility is fraught with challenges. What is the right geographic boundary (cities, states, countries)? What criteria should be used? What happens when data sources are hard to come by or only available for some of the cities/regions being evaluated? Even which cities/regions should be considered is not always obvious. CoinDesk’s Crypto Hubs 2023 aims to provide insights into the methodology and data sources we used to resolve these questions.