Crypto is in the air. Binance, Bybit, and OKX have all left Canada in the past few weeks. Gemini announced that it would significantly increase headcount and operations at its Singapore office. Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm (a16z), has opened its first non-U.S. office in London.

It is a time of flux for crypto companies, as the regulatory landscape appears to be shifting from North America where the U.S.A. and Canada have been deemed unfriendly. Dubai has established the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority, and Abu Dhabi is looking to adopt its own crypto-friendly regulation framework in the coming year. The European Union also passed the Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation in April and this month. Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission started accepting applications for licenses from crypto exchanges.

It is possible to engage in regulatory arbitrage due to the lack of a global framework. The directors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Monetary and Capital Markets Department called for a framework last year to “bring orders to the markets, instill confidence in consumers, and lay down the limits of what’s permissible.”

In the absence of a coordinated global effort, national regulators would “lock themselves into different regulatory frameworks” and crypto professionals would “migrate to friendly jurisdictions.”

This is the current reality of the crypto-industry. Crypto companies cannot ignore the fact that remote work is so popular. They may even consider relocating to a more crypto-friendly jurisdiction. Even the largest companies are paying attention to countries and regions that have regulations in place.

It is not a coincident that a Hong Kong politician invited Coinbase to apply for a license in the city state after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued the company for allegedly dealing in unregistered securities. Or the fact that Coinbase made public its discussions with United Arab Emirates authorities to establish a hub in the country.

Startup founders, digital nomads, and everyone in between are surveying the landscape to decide where to settle down, according to Janina Pietrowska of Rechtsanwalte Lennert Partners, a Liechtenstein-based law firm that advises cryptocurrency clients on where to incorporate and, specifically, security token offerings.

She added that while regulation is important, it should not be taken into account in isolation. The ease of doing business, a favorable environment for investment and low taxes are also important.

The world is at your fingertips

Where would you relocate if you could?

In Crypto Hubs 2023, CoinDesk answers this question with a ranking of the top places for crypto professionals to live and work.

We acted as if we were a crypto startup’s founder and gathered data, then weighed it according to eight criteria ranging from regulatory friendliness to digital infrastructure. We may be surprised by our results. A ranked list with 15 crypto hubs. We hope that it will stimulate discussion.

Crypto Hubs: 15 Best Places for Smart Work and Free Living in 2023

Daniel Kuhn is the editor.