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You’re Nonetheless Early: An Goal Look At Bitcoin Adoption

Read Time:7 Minute, 31 Second

2023-02-06 08:00:00

What number of bitcoin customers are there? How ought to we outline a bitcoin consumer? An evaluation for categorizing and monitoring consumer progress in comparison with different estimates.

The beneath is an excerpt from a latest version of Bitcoin Journal PRO, Bitcoin Journal’s premium markets publication. To be among the many first to obtain these insights and different on-chain bitcoin market evaluation straight to your inbox, subscribe now.

Be aware: This text doesn’t embrace all the information and evaluation. The entire piece might be discovered right here.

Bitcoin Person Adoption

One of many strongest instances for bitcoin is its rising community results. For bitcoin to proceed to develop sooner or later, it wants adoption and demand. That demand comes from both progress in additional capital flowing into the community and/or progress in its variety of customers.

But, defining somebody who makes use of the Bitcoin community or is a consumer of bitcoin the asset is extremely troublesome and might have many definitions relying on whom you ask. This piece goals to combination and analyze the assorted definitions and estimates for bitcoin customers, outline our most popular view of bitcoin adoption and make our personal estimations for present bitcoin customers.

How Do You Outline A Bitcoin Person?

There’s no “proper” reply in defining a bitcoin consumer however we thought of the next questions when arising with our definition:

  • Is somebody who’s storing bitcoin on an change thought of a consumer or ought to we solely depend those that have some type of self custody?
  • What’s the nuance between counting on-chain addresses versus accounts or entities?
  • Is there a threshold of bitcoin possession that we must always contemplate for adoption? Is that threshold denominated in bitcoin, fiat foreign money or as a share of internet wealth?
  • Is a consumer outlined as somebody who simply holds bitcoin or do they should actively transact on-chain or on Lightning?
  • Would a service provider who makes use of the Lightning Community cost rails due to the cheaper charges however elects to right away convert funds to fiat foreign money be a consumer?
  • Does a consumer have to run a node?

It’s doubtless finest to consider bitcoin consumer adoption in phases or as totally different buckets. Some tough classes to consider totally different consumer sorts:

  1. Casually : Person proudly owning any quantity of bitcoin or bitcoin-related product. This could possibly be somebody with $5 in an outdated pockets, a share of GBTC or somebody who dabbled with shopping for a small quantity of bitcoin as soon as on Coinbase.
  2. Allocator/Investor: Person who purchases bitcoin or bitcoin-related merchandise on a recurring foundation. Primarily interested by making monetary acquire on bitcoin’s potential worth appreciation. Could or might not self custody or use a custodial resolution. Possible has 1-5% allocation of their internet price in bitcoin/bitcoin merchandise.
  3. Heavy Person: Person who shops a good portion of internet price in bitcoin by way of self custody and/or actively engages in on-chain or Lightning transactions. Somebody primarily interested by utilizing a separate type of cash and financial community. Possible has greater than 5% allocation of their internet price in bitcoin.

Lots of the eye-popping adoption numbers that we see right now have a tendency to trace these classes collectively. Possibly that’s the proper method for a high-level view of potential adoption and the primary touchpoint, however it doesn’t inform us a lot in regards to the variety of customers utilizing bitcoin for its main function: decentralized peer-to-peer money the place customers can retailer and transact worth on a separate financial community. Ideally, we need to monitor the expansion of heavy customers to replicate significant adoption of bitcoin.

The beneath desk aggregates a few of the key bitcoin consumer estimates which were revealed over the past six years to provide you an concept of how various these estimates might be. casually customers, numbers from 2022 vary from 200 to 800 million customers. These are counts from survey samples, information from on-chain analytics and consists of change customers. All of those research have totally different definitions and methodologies for calculating adoption, exhibiting how troublesome it’s to match estimates on the market right now. 

bitcoin adoption estimates
Aggregated information from numerous surveys and consumer estimates

Know-how Adoption S-Curve: Web Versus Bitcoin

New applied sciences sometimes undergo an S-curve cycle as they acquire market share. Adoption by the inhabitants falls right into a typical statistical bell curve. An S-curve simply displays the everyday adoption path for revolutionary applied sciences over time.

s curve and bell curve

Lots of the traditional projections for S-curve adoption use a extra high-level view of the casually customers to trace bitcoin progress in comparison with web adoption. Principally, these estimates monitor customers of all kinds: those that have had any contact factors with bitcoin from shopping for a little bit bit on an change, having a pockets with $5 price of bitcoin to the bitcoin consumer storing higher than 50% of their internet price in self custody.

Monitoring casually customers would give folks a ballpark estimate of across the similar adoption curve because the web. Nevertheless, if we’re actually interested by monitoring significant, lasting bitcoin adoption then we’d argue that monitoring the variety of heavy customers is a greater measure for the present state of bitcoin adoption and emphasizes simply how early in Bitcoin’s lifecycle we’re. When trying on the extra well-liked evaluation comparisons which have beforehand circulated (included beneath), they paint an image that bitcoin adoption is way additional alongside than we calculate it to be. 

internet adoption vs bitcoin price
One comparability of the speed of web adoption overlaid with the bitcoin worth
internet vs crypto adoption
Evaluating web and crypto adoption

In 2020, Croseus wrote a thread that analyzes bitcoin adoption in an analogous approach that we got down to do on this piece. His conclusions present an analogous view to our personal: Vital bitcoin adoption is way decrease than the estimates of 10-15% penetration or roughly 500 million customers which can be generally thrown round right now. Actually, he means that bitcoin adoption by what we’d contemplate “heavy customers” is at 0.01% penetration of the worldwide inhabitants.

bitcoin adoption curve


The simplest place to start out with estimating customers is on-chain addresses. Addresses don’t translate to the variety of customers, however can act as a tough proxy for total progress. Distinctive addresses with bitcoin quantities might be rising as new customers purchase bitcoin or as present bitcoin holders use many distinctive addresses to unfold out their holdings — a standard privateness apply.

We’ve seen an explosion in tackle progress since 2012 from slightly below 1 million to just about 42 million distinctive addresses right now. Let’s say we use an assumption for common addresses per particular person to be 10 — which is only a tough guess — then the ceiling of bitcoin customers who’ve their very own addresses is round 4.2 million. 

bitcoin number of addresses non zero
Variety of addresses with a non-zero bitcoin stability

From a USD perspective, there are solely 5.3 million addresses holding no less than $1,000 price of bitcoin. Utilizing our tough assumption of 10 addresses per particular person once more then we’re underneath 1 million customers with $1,000 price of bitcoin. With a worldwide median wealth per grownup of $8,360, a bitcoin allocation of $1,000 would make up a big share of practically 12%. A comparatively small allocation for some, however contemplating bitcoin is world and has increased adoption charges in much less rich nations, the benchmark appears becoming. 

bitcoin unique addresses with at least 1k
Distinctive bitcoin addresses holding no less than x quantity ($)

Utilizing our definition of “heavy consumer” to calculate, if we use addresses with a sure threshold of BTC or USD and make some tough assumptions round addresses per particular person together with not counting change customers or addresses holding bitcoin on the behalf of others, then this method estimates solely 593,000 bitcoin customers.

We go into extra element about different methods to research bitcoin customers in an article on Substack. Irrespective of which approach you narrow the information, there’s not a considerable amount of the worldwide inhabitants who could be thought of heavy customers who self-custody a big threshold of bitcoin.


The evaluation on this article is supposed to spotlight how troublesome it’s to outline and monitor bitcoin consumer progress in a dependable approach.

We’re highlighting a decrease penetration of adoption to not dissuade readers from the expansion of bitcoin’s community results thus far, however reasonably to spotlight the substantial alternative of its potential progress sooner or later. 

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