Despite the recent SEC crackdown on cryptocurrency exchanges in the US, digital assets remain a widely utilized asset around the globe. Whether in places like El Salvador where Bitcoin is legal tender or places like Lugano in Switzerland where they’re testing a variety of digital assets as tender, cryptocurrency is being used daily. But how many people own cryptocurrency?
You may be surprised to find out not just how many people own cryptocurrency, but just how many crypto transactions take place daily on a network like Bitcoin’s. Let’s discuss how many crypto holders there are not just globally, but also in a somewhat hostile environment like the US. Then, we’ll talk about daily crypto use. Let’s dive in.
Global Crypto Holders
The number of people around the globe that hold digital assets increased dramatically in 2022, with it being estimated that it went from 306 million holders in January 2022 to 425 million in December 2022. That’s almost 5% of the global population, which isn’t a small portion and was an overall increase of nearly 40% year over year.
That’s a fairly sharp adoption increase, and were it to continue it would mean over 100 million new holders per year. It’s also worth noting that about 10% of internet users age 16 to 64 hold crypto, meaning that it’s being adopted at a higher rate in younger demographics, a trend that seems unlikely to change.
The places where crypto is being most heavily adopted are countries that aren’t fully developed, with Vietnam having the highest adoption rates of any country, followed by the Philippines. Digital assets are much more powerful tools for those in countries with weak fiat currencies and that frequently deal with cross-border remittances, so it should be no surprise that they’re adopting crypto at a faster rate than more developed nations. African nations like Nigeria are also quite into crypto.
US Cryptocurrency Owners
When it comes to the US, regulatory issues aside, there are quite a lot of people holding digital assets. According to a survey done by Coinbase, about 20% of Americans own crypto, which is over 50 million people. But even those that don’t own cryptocurrency think it has a place in the future, with 80% of people surveyed saying that the current global financial system is unfair, 67% thinking it needs major changes, and overall 76% agreeing crypto is the future.
It’s somewhat telling that even though only 20% of the surveyed consumers held crypto, more than 75% of them thought it had long-term merit in society. It’s also somewhat telling that even in the nation with the world’s reserve currency, the majority of those surveyed still thought the system was unfair, likely highlighting the reality of the distance between the top 1% and the rest. It seems likely that even if the US does shun crypto, it’s still going to be used elsewhere.
Daily Crypto Usage
Even though Bitcoin isn’t legal tender in many places, that doesn’t prevent it from being highly utilized every day. Though we could also analyze usage of other networks, Bitcoin is the biggest asset by market cap, and it also makes up over 50% of the entire cryptocurrency market cap, so its usage is pretty indicative of the health of the sector.
In 2022, Bitcoin did have days with over 300,000 transactions, but these were an exception, with the norm being in the 200,000 range. So far in 2023, the normal number of transactions for Bitcoin daily is well over 300,000, with days of 400,000-500,000 being the exceptions. Overall, this means that in a year, the number of transactions on the network every day has increased by an average of about 50%, which is yet again a good indicator of the global adoption of digital assets but Bitcoin in particular.
With the speed that the cryptocurrency sector moves at, those of us who work within it likely want to see it adopted at a faster rate than it is. When you step back and look at the global picture though, it’s a positive one.
Though only about 5% of the world owns crypto, that’s a number that’s on an uptrend, and can be compared to the early adoption of the internet, which has turned out quite well. It will be interesting to see how quickly crypto can truly enter the mainstream.