Institutional adoption of Bitcoin and PayPal’s announcement supporting crypto on its platform led to a surge in Bitcoin users last year
The total number of crypto users across the world grew from 66 million in May 2020 to 106 million by January 2021. According to a new report by crypto exchange and debit card provider Crypto.com, the number of crypto users rose by almost 16% only in January 2021, a boost that can be attributed to Bitcoin’s bull run.
Crypto.com overcomes the complexity of mapping unique crypto wallet addresses onto the number of persons by combining chain data with other blended parameters. Through this methodology, the crypto company calculates separate estimates for Bitcoin and Ethereum, the two largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalisation. This data is then used to calculate an aggregate that can track trends in the growth of global users over time.
The report revealed that June and August 2020, along with January 2021, were the strongest months for growth in crypto users over the past eight months. Crypto.com has explained that as a general rule, this growth correlates with the price strength for Bitcoin. However, dissecting the data between the two coins provides more specific insights.
The increased popularity for decentralised finance in August 2020 meant that Ether led the growth in crypto adoption. In the autumn and winter, PayPal’s announcement on supporting crypto payments on its platform for US-based users and the institutional adoption of Bitcoin from Grayscale and Microstrategy drove both Bitcoin’s price performance and wider adoption.
71 million Bitcoin users and 14 million Ethereum users were reported worldwide by January 2021. Each coin saw a tremendous surge in adoption last month, Bitcoin users growing by 30.2% and Ethereum users by 13.1%.
Despite the trends appearing to follow a predictable path, Crypto.com has pointed out some limitations regarding its findings. Though the methodology includes Bitcoin and Ethereum’s on-chain data, survey analysis and Crypto.com’s own internal data, it is unlikely to capture over-the-counter users and off-chain transactions effectively.
The report also had to estimate how many on-chain users still hold cryptocurrency today and how many are likely to have sold off their holdings, especially during the peaks of Bitcoin’s bull run. Due to the use of internal surveys and data, one must also be aware of a potential sampling bias as well as the differences between exchanges’ deposit sweeping flows.