Author(s): Ermir Shahini1,
  • 1. Aleksander Moisiu University ,

Abstract: The impacts of Covid-19 have been bot negative and positive. While a significant portion of the economy has been affected negatively, the financial market experienced a major boost following increased digital currency transactions (Iqbal et al. 2021). The digital currency platform has registered significant gains during the Covid-19 pandemic has governments across the world formulated and implemented policies to discourage transactions in Fiat currency, which is considered a ‘super spreader’ (Assoumou-Ella, 2020; Chronopoulos et al. 2020). Governments in developing countries that are highly likely to be overwhelmed by the virus have taken key initiatives to encourage use of digital currency such as directing financial institutions to waive their transaction charges during the pandemic, a move that has encouraged more people to adopt use of digital currency (Kakushadze & Liew, 2020). The Western Balkan region has particularly experienced massive transformation of its financial markets, with digital currencies gaining more in roads in the industry layout. Jusufi and Bellaqa (2019) note that before the pandemic, many organizations in Balkan lacked the necessary infrastructure to support the digital currency framework. Broz et al (2020) found that Western Balkan countries still lagged behind EU’s digital threshold in various aspects of the economy. With the changes that have taken effect, Western Balkan countries have put in place the necessary resources required to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 through developing the digital currency platform. Stojkovski (2020) notes that while cash may still be the most common method of payment, government financial policies adopted during the Covid-19 pandemic are fueling the culture of crypto currency. Golemi and Muco (2020) point out that using digital currency to complement other payment methods can fasten growth in the Western Balkan economies. These findings support the findings of numerous other studies whose findings pointed to adoption of digital currency being a major economic performance indicator (Gonzalez et al. 2020; Halaburda, 2016; Van Hoang & Syed, 2021). Thus, this paper will investigate the effects of Covid-19 on digital currencies in the last one year that the pandemic has been active, focusing on six Western Balkan countries; Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Bosnia, Albania, and Macedonia . The methodology includes primary data collected from financial institutions in the region. The study hypothesizes that COVID- 19 has a positive effect on Western Balkan societies’ digital currencies.