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A recent study claims record 100 million people are using cryptocurrency

Photo of: Nathan VDH
by Nathan VDH

There are now 100 million people worldwide who own Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, according to one study. By 2018, this figure was estimated at 35 million. Cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, continues to attract new users every year. Researchers in Cambridge now estimate the number of such holders at 100 million worldwide.

By way of comparison, the 2018 Global Cryptoasset Benchmarking study estimated the number of crypto users in 2018 at 35 million. The increase in the space of two years is therefore considerable, but still to be weighed up.

Another figure, in Q3 2020, the number of accounts opened on the cryptocurrency exchanges reached 191 million. However, their number is even more significant since it does not take into account the wallets held by the users themselves.

“This 189% increase in users can be explained both by an increase in the number of accounts (which has risen by 37%), and by the fact that a greater proportion of accounts are systematically linked to an individual’s identity. This allows us to increase our estimate of the minimum number of users associated with accounts at each service provider,” explains the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.

The researchers’ study also allows us to learn more about the most dynamic markets in terms of adoption and users. For example, North America and Europe are the most significant markets for crypto players.

In these markets, “higher user activity” can be observed. Among exchanges in North America and Europe, “40% of all users are considered active”.

Despite growing adoption in South America, particularly in response to rising inflation, the activity of cryptocurrency users remains comparatively low. And this is also true for the Asia-Pacific region. The share of active users in the Asia-Pacific region is only 10% and 16% respectively.

In France, the study “Cryptocurrencies and the Future of Money”, published last June, estimated that 14.3% of the French population holds cryptocurrency. However, despite Bitcoin’s initial ambition, cryptocurrency does not play a role in reducing inequalities.

In fact, the acquisition of cryptocurrency seems to be reserved for a wealthy fringe of the French – young people in particular (under 34 years old). These inequalities in terms of wealth are even more tangible for Bitcoin.

Thus 1% of the world’s population owns 44% of the total wealth. As far as Bitcoin is concerned, about 0.5% of the addresses hold more than 85% of the BTC wealth. While this should be expected to balance, there are still important inequalities.