How many people actually own and use crypto?
We have gathered several recent industry reports to try and understand the current state of crypto adoption.
Crypto adoption is difficult to measure, but even estimations can tell a lot about market maturity and technological progress across various sectors within the crypto industry.
Monitoring crypto adoption is also key to assessing whether cryptocurrencies are delivering on their promises, like empowering individuals with limited access to traditional finance or shaping a new era of internet ownership.
Analytical firms keep a close eye on crypto adoption, use, and awareness, providing valuable insights into the future of this space. Let’s dive into some recent findings that shed light on the state of crypto.
Measuring crypto adoption is no easy task.
The pseudonymous nature of blockchain and the absence of a central authority are among the very reasons crypto exists, but they also make data collection a painstaking and imprecise process.
However, some companies are venturing into this territory, developing methodologies to estimate the number of crypto owners by analyzing various data sources, both on-chain and off-chain.
One such company, Triple-A, recently published a report on global crypto ownership. According to their estimation, over 420 million people own crypto, representing a 31% increase from the previous year. This figure is derived from a combination of factors, including country weighted scoring by Chainalysis, the University of Cambridge’s global crypto ownership report, dedicated research and data sampling for China and India, and insights from 16 studies and surveys conducted by various entities.
A comparable study conducted by crypto.com in January counted 425 million users, suggesting that these numbers are quite realistic.
In other words, over 5% of the global population now owns crypto.
When it comes to the use of cryptocurrencies (other than ownership), tracking all Bitcoin-related activity presents a challenge. The number of daily Bitcoin transactions ranges from 350k to 680k, but it is worth noting that a significant portion of Bitcoin activity occurs on the Lightning Network ⚡, an off-chain scalability solution designed for fast and cost-effective processing of small transactions. This makes it virtually impossible to measure all Bitcoin-related activity accurately.
On the other hand, the use of web3 can be better documented. According to DappRadar, the DApp industry recorded an average of almost 2 million daily unique active wallets in May. This activity primarily revolves around crypto gaming and decentralized finance (DeFi), representing 36% and 31% respectively. Social DApps follow closely with 12% of the activity, while NFTs generate 8% of the total.
Understanding crypto awareness is important to try and assess the future adoption trend.
Global crypto awareness is rising, thanks both to the mediatized FTX-like scandals and the worsening monetary conditions across the globe that push some people to search for alternatives.
Consensys and Yougov have recently conducted a massive study, interviewing 15,158 people across 15 countries (Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, South Korea, The Philippines, the UK, the US, and Vietnam). The study found that a vast majority (92%) of the surveyed population claimed awareness of cryptocurrencies. Moreover, at least half of them expressed an understanding of what cryptocurrencies are.
Unsurprisingly, countries with more challenging monetary conditions showed higher levels of knowledge. In Nigeria, almost 80% of respondents claimed to understand the nature of cryptocurrencies, while European countries saw only 40% of people with similar comprehension levels.
The study also found that 40% of the respondents currently hold or held crypto in the past (highest percentages also in Nigeria and South Africa). As to the willingness to invest in crypto in the future, African and South-Asian countries expressed a strong interest (Nigeria scored an impressive 90%), while the Europeans and the Japanese hold back.
On the topics of web3 and NFT, however, awareness remains limited. Only 34% of respondents were somewhat familiar with these concepts, despite acknowledging the underlying problems it aims to address.
Indeed, 67% to 83% of participants agreed with statements like “data privacy is important to me,” “I should have a share of the profit made from my data,” “I desire more control over my online identity,” and “I believe I should own what I create on the internet.”
These are precisely the issues that web3 promises to solve, yet it seems that truly successful applications that could attract the general public are still lacking 🤷
Crypto has the potential to engage a broad audience seeking monetary independence and a fairer internet. However, like any disruptive technology, it requires further evolution and development in user-friendliness and use cases.
Crypto adoption is often compared to the internet adoption, and so far, the trajectories are remarkably similar. Today’s 5% of population owning crypto reminds of years 1999-2000, when the internet was also used by approximately 5%.
At that time, the true potential was hard to seize, and some countries have even actively debated its utility (our fellow French people, do you remember Minitel?)
We all know what happened next 😉