Bitcoin (BTC) is already processing 1% of the world’s GDP and the number is growing by “an order of magnitude” every halving cycle.
BTC processes $727B per year
The number is almost 10% of payment processor Visa’s transaction volumes each year — Visa processes $8.8 trillion in transactions.
“Bitcoin's investment flow (aka annual investment velocity) is presently growing an order of magnitude (10x) every 4 years,” Woo summarized.
Per the statistics, Bitcoin should “catch up” with Visa at some point after its next halving cycle, which begins in May. As Cointelegraph reported, smaller fiat operators such as PayPal are already falling by the wayside — in 2018, PayPal processed a total of $578 billion.
Bitcoin 1-year adjusted transaction volume. Source: Coin Metrics
Woo acknowledged the data for Bitcoin was only an estimate and may include movements between cold wallets held by exchanges, which would not constitute true transactions. Circular payments between wallets, as well as multi-hop transactions with multiple steps, were excluded.
Small wallets hit record highs
The impressive statistics come as fresh highs in the number of low-balance Bitcoin wallets suggest that more and more private investors are experimenting with the cryptocurrency.
According to Glassnode, there are now more wallets than ever with a balance greater than or equal to both 0.01 BTC ($101) and 0.1 BTC ($1,080).
Bitcoin wallet growth, 2009-present. Source: Glassnode
Nonetheless, both private and institutional investors have been found to reward convenience over security when it comes to crypto fund storage. A recent survey revealed that more than 9 in 10 institutional investors, for example, used trusted third parties such as exchanges to store their coins.
An industry effort, dubbed “Proof of Keys,” aims to raise awareness of the importance of self-ownership of wallet private keys, but its success so far is difficult to estimate.