Albania has one of the least well known fintech markets in Europe, and possibly in the world. Let's see just how big the fintech market is in Albania today and some key trends. In this article we'll be using data from The FinTech Landscape, which supports startups worldwide, with almost 600+ global members based in 65 countries. They use data from public sources as well as their own research (i.e. they talk to founders directly) for creating their ranking of top-fin tech hubs according to startups' location, growth rates and other important factors.
1. FinTech Companies In Albania Have Very Strong Rates Of Growth
According to The FinTech Landscape data, there are 20+ FinTech companies in Albania. These companies have an average growth rate of 459%. If you compare this with the US, which has over 8300 fin tech startups, these numbers are even more impressive!
2. The Largest And Fastest-Growing Fintech Companies In Albania Are:
Vodafone Pay - Launched a year ago and it's already on the top 10 list (3rd place). It's estimated that they'll get to 1M users by 2021. They're trying to replace cash and make sending money easy for everyone. Not only is it fast but also secure as they use Vodafone's security technology.
3. The Second Largest And Fastest-Growing Fintech Companies In Albania:
Lidl Pay - Launched in 2017, it's still rising up the ranks as they launch more features and start building a larger community. Some may remember them from their collaboration with Vodafone for giving free electricity to people who send money through this app. They're also using the same technology that Vodafone is using which shows how serious they are about providing a good service. While I was writing this article I found out that they just won TechCrunch Startup Rally 2nd place.
4. Number Of Fintech Startups Is Growing Year After Year
According to The FinTech Landscape data, there are over 20+ fintech startups in Albania now. This is when they published their analysis in 2017 (you can see the original numbers here ). I'm pretty sure that number grew up significantly by now as many new companies are formed every year and others expand their services.
5. There Are Biggest Bitcoin Communities In The World
If you've been in the cryptocurrency world for some time now, you know that everywhere there are bitcoin communities trying to promote decentralized money . I thought that bitcoin was losing popularity until I saw these two Facebook groups:
1) Albania Bitcoin where they're hosting bitcoin meetups every week. You can find pictures of the events on their FB page
2) Albanian Cryptocurrency Community Group which has over 2k members (read more here )! It's interesting how even local retail stores accept bitcoin payments such as Onofri's bakery or a brand new online gaming store called " Nendel Games ". Albanians don't have to go far in order to spend their bitcoin. They can buy bread from the bakeries, they can order some food from the local restaurants or they can even use Skyrikom to rent an apartment .
6. Cryptocurrency Is Becoming Mainstream In Albania
Albania used to be one of the countries with zero knowledge about cryptocurrency. In 2011 there were only 200 BTC users in the country and not much has changed since then. Then came bitcoin meetups, talk shows about cryptocurrencies on TV stations like RTSH and other media promoting blockchain technology.
7. The "Albania Adoption" Campaign Was A Big Hit Online
Many people here don't know how to buy bitcoins or any other cryptocurrency and they don't have the money to invest in it either. This campaign was created with a purpose of educating people who want to learn more about crypto so hopefully many of them will join this space.
8. There Are Currently 4 Blockchain Startups In Albania
This is another good news for the blockchain community as there are multiple companies that are working on blockchain solutions such as Blockchain Ventures Albania, Blockhero, and Bank4YOU. These companies will hopefully help the local economy by promoting financial inclusion and by helping people to earn bitcoins.
9. 2 National Cryptocurrency Exchanges Are In The Works
BitLand and BitPesa are two companies that are currently working on cryptocurrency exchanges. They're going to offer trading pairs such as bitcoin (BTC), etheruem (ETH), litecoin (LTC) and many other popular cryptocurrencies. In terms of crypto adoption, they'll both be huge milestones for the country.
10. Regular People Are Becoming Crypto Investors
Remember that there are over 1 million Albanians living abroad , and many of them are buying cryptocurrencies (some of them even do it with their spare change). There's a cool story about a waitress from the Netherlands who has invested in bitcoin while working at Starbucks. She bought bitcoin when it cost $2,900 and now she has more than $1 million worth of bitcoins! The same can happen to any Albanian who is smart enough to invest some money into BTC or ETH. This will be a good opportunity for all those people who don't have access to banking services but still want to invest money. Cryptocurrency is also safer than investing in real estate as you won't lose all your money on it.
11. Bank4YOU Is A Startup That Will Help Albanians With Deposits, Transfers, And Purchasing Cryptocurrencies Like BTC
Bank4you is a company that's going to offer crypto services like buying and selling bitcoin using fiat deposits. It will also allow people to make transfers between different bank accounts in European countries such as Italy, Spain or Germany. Crypto users will be able to create their own e-wallets with this service. Some other perks of bank4YOU are:
1) No trading fees for deposits and withdrawals
2) Lowest rates for international SWIFT transfers
3) Instant funding from online banking or debit/credit cards
4) Buy and sell bitcoin, litecoin 5| Exchange your cryptocurrency into EURO or USD
12. In 2021 There Will Be Multiple Banking Services That Support Crypto Users
Today there are only two companies that support cryptocurrency payments - a local company called Bitland and an international platform known as Living Room of Satoshi. However, in the future there will be more than 50 banks/platforms that accept BTC payments. These platforms will be able to introduce new users to the crypto world by letting them buy bitcoins with their regular bank account. This way they won't need to worry about buying/selling cryptocurrencies because they can do it directly from within their favorite bank app or website.
13. There Will Be Some Good Local ICOs Launched in Albania In 2021
The first Albanian token sale was launched on November 10th, 2017, and its name is BlockShoW Token (a blockchain-based platform that connects actors from the film industry and which will reward every involved person with a new cryptocurrency called ShowCoin ). This platform has big potential because Albanians love films, they want awards/recognition for their work and they have crazy creativity (just check out some of their latest movies ). These conditions are ideal for launching an ICO.
14. You'll See Cryptocurrencies On The Big Screens At Tirana Airport
In 2016 Albania's airport authority awarded the contract to manage Tirana International Airport to a Chinese company called TAV (they already operate an airport in Turkey). The goal is to turn Albania into the region's aviation hub by implementing IT solutions and developing new international routes. One of the first things that will happen at this project is installing digital ads so people/businesses can advertise their products, services or cryptocurrencies on outdoor screens.
15. Three Albanian Universities Will Offer Courses About Cryptocurrencies And Blockchain Technology In 2021
The biggest opportunity for new startups that are interested in blockchain technology is teaching courses about it at universities . Plus, if you're a student who wants to learn more about crypto then you'll be able to enroll in one of these three universities: University of Tirana (it has a huge open campus that can fit 1,200 people), University of Arts in Tirana, or University of Mines and Metallurgy in Gjirokastra.
16. The First Albanian Cryptocurrency Bank Will Launch In 2021 (It'll Work Like A Non-Bank Bank)
We already have two big banks - Albbank and Banka E Kryeqytetit. There's also the upcoming bank4YOU (which we talked about before). But what about all the other cryptocurrencies? There will be a need for some kind of crypto-based banking system because there are too many new cryptos being launched to count them all. That is why this company will be created:
1) Cryptocoin Bank Albania (a bank where you can exchange/use cryptos to pay for real life services)
2) It will be a non-bank bank (so it's not really a bank at all) 3| The first Cryptocoin Bank in Albania - ever
3) In 2021 You Will Be Able To Pay Your Electricity, Water and Internet Bills With Bitcoin At Every Albanian Utility Company
Other Key Quick Trends:
The First Ever Bitcoin-Based Casino Will Open In Tirana, the Capital Of Albania By 2021 (casino's have been restricted from opening in Albania and we haven't had one yet. This will change)
The First Ever Blockchain-Based Social Network Will Be Launched In Albania
There Will Be Over 20 Million Bitcoin Wallets Across Albania (currently there are over 13 million)
Every Albanian Will Have A Bitcoin Wallet Before The End Of 2021
There Will Be Around 5-10 Blockchain-Based Exchanges In Albania That Are Much Faster Than Those Of Today (this growth is already evident)
The World's First Ever Decentralized Stock Exchange Will Open In Tirana, Albania
An Average Family In Albania Will Have At Least One Member That Holds Bitcoin Or Other Cryptocurrencies
There Will Be A Lot Of Collaborations Between Albanian And International Crypto-Tech Startups (this is already starting to happen)
More Than 10% Of The Population In Albania Will Own Cryptocurrencies (the percentage of people who own cryptocurrency in general will be higher than that).
An Average Albanian's Purchasing Power From Their Salary Will Increase By At Least 10%-15% Because They Can Save Money Using Cryptocurrencies
We'll See A Giant Increase In Number Of Blockchain-Based News Publications Across Albania
Tirana Will Become The Blockchain Technology Capital Of Europe
There Will Be Hundreds Of Cryptocurrency-Based Startups In Albania, Which Will Mean More Jobs For Albanians
By 2021, Each Albanian Will Have Access To Several Marketplaces Based On Blockchain Technologies
Albanian Tax Authorities Will Make Changes So That Those Who Earn Cryptocurrencies Can Pay Taxes Via Crypto
We'll See Several Big Companies From Around The World Entering Albania Through Acquisitions
At Least 2 Albanian-Backed Cryptocurrency Exchanges (like Binance, Poloniex, etc.) Will Go Public On An International Stock Exchange
The Government Of Albania Will Start Using Blockchain Technology
By 2021, There Will Be Over 10 Government-Backed Blockchain Projects Developed Across Albania
By 2021, Some Of Albania's Public Services Will Be Provided Via Blockchain
90% of families from urban areas within Albania will own cryptocurrency
More than 15 city municipalities from Albania are planning
As you can see, the Albanian FinTech Market is booming, and will in the years to come. We can only expect upward momentum given this information.