Lebanon and UAE lead global curiosity in AI cryptocurrencies

26 July 2023 Consultancy-me.com 3 min. read

As people in Lebanon look to alternative means of making ends meet, many are turning to crypto investment – with a new report suggesting Lebanon now leads the world in terms of AI cryptocurrency curiosity. Fellow Middle Eastern economy the UAE also ranks in the global top three.

Once known as the ‘Paris of the Middle East’, residents of Lebanon have endured historic hardship in recent years. The country has been closely allied to France and the United States, with a US military intervention even helping President Camille Chamoun suppress a communist uprising in 1958.

That legacy led it to peg its currency, the lira, to the US dollar. While the decision for long offered the country financial stability, it has since played its role in the country facing an economic implosion and record unemployment.

Lebanon and UAE lead global curiosity in AI cryptocurrencies

On the back of what the World Bank recently described as the “world’s largest ponzi scheme” and a “deliberate state bankruptcy to enrich the establishment”, the Lebanese economy has crumbled over the past four years. This was exacerbated by the onset of Covid-19 and the Port of Beirut explosion in 2020 – while political deadlock, and corruption allegations at every level of institutional life, have led to almost total inaction from the state to alleviate people’s suffering.

In 2022, after years of economic, political and social turmoil, this saw a poll from Gallup suggested that Lebanon’s people were the “angriest” on Earth. One year later, another study – this time from cryptocurrency news and analysis source CoinGecko – suggests that anger has turned to desperation, as Lebanese people are now the most curious nation when it comes to AI-linked cryptocurrencies.

AI coins represent crypto assets that claim to leverage artificial intelligence to enhance user experiences, scalability, and security within blockchain networks. This means that while the rest of the cryptocurrency market has gone down the toilet – thanks to a string of scandals, uncertainty on real valuations and griming returns as interest rates rise – the rising hype around AI has convinced a number of investors that somehow, this time will be different.

With Lebanon’s widening fiscal deficit, its collapse in the provision of public services and an unresolved banking crisis, critics might suggest that it is telling the country has the largest number of people who would be interested in AI cryptocurrencies. Lebanon's central bank devalued its currency by 90% in early 2023, and the 21.6% share of AI crypto search interest suggests that a growing number of Lebanese residents are looking to compensate for this by trading on trends like the pumping prices of AI tokens.

Search scores

According to CoinGecko, Lebanon stands at the top of search curiosity with a score of 1,200 on an index developed by the researchers. This puts Lebanon some distance out ahead of its nearest rivals of Slovenia – which scored 835 – and the United Arab Emirates, at 566.

Both Slovenia and the UAE are comparatively wealthy to Lebanon. However, both have also been early adopters of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, in the hope of getting the edge on the emerging markets. This shows no sign of slowing in the case of the UAE, which was found in May to host 1,800 companies and start-ups active in the crypto world – a 17% rise on the number found six months prior to the research.

Beyond those countries, though, Lebanon is joined by a number of other struggling economies. Nigeria, which has been suffering from high inflation and more recently a cash shortage crisis, ranks fifth with a total score of 371 in its AI crypto interest. Sri Lanka, which defaulted on its sovereign debt in 2022, ranks eighth, and Pakistan – which has been undergoing a sustained economic and political crisis – is 17th with a score of 56.