Crypto exchange and debit card provider Crypto.com has published a new report estimating that the total number of crypto users globally rose from 66 million in May 2020 to 106 million by January.
Given the complexity of mapping unique crypto wallet addresses onto the number of persons, Crypto.com's methodology combines on-chain data with several blended parameters to calculate separate estimates for the two largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH). These then yield an aggregate that can be used to track trends in the growth of global users over time.
Over the past eight months, June 2020, August 2020 and January 2021 were the strongest for growth. As a general rule, Crypto.com note that this growth correlates with price strength for Bitcoin, but breaking down the data between the two coins can provide more specific insights.
In particular, adoption in August 2020 was largely led by Ether due to the popularity of decentralized finance. Moving into the autumn and winter months, PayPal’s launch of support for crypto purchases for United States-based users in November 2020 and institutional adoption from Grayscale and Microstrategy intersected with strong Bitcoin price performance to spur yet wider adoption.
By January, the global number of Bitcoin users was estimated to be 71 million, as compared with 14 million for Ether. Each coin saw a tremendous surge in users that month — 30.2% and 13.1%, respectively.
While the trends appear to be clear, Crypto.com has noted some of the limitations and caveats that should be kept in mind regarding its findings. The methodology draws on Bitcoin and Ethereum’s on-chain data, survey analysis and Crypto.com’s own internal data, but will likely not capture over-the-counter users and off-chain transactions effectively.
Crypto.com also had to assume and estimate how many on-chain users still own crypto today, versus the number likely to have already sold their holdings. In addition, sampling bias (due to some use of internal surveys and data) should be taken into account, as well as possible differences between exchanges' deposit sweeping flows. However, the report notes that an effort was made to remove those exchanges that use different flows from its list of 24 analyzed platforms.