The Growing Number of Bitcoin Users in 2018

To answer the question of how many people all over the word use Bitcoin in 2018, probably the best answer would be simply –a lot. It’s impossible to get a single number as an answer, especially as it’s an evergreen trend with growing popularity. However, looking at some stats could give us a good picture of the imposing popularity the bitcoin has worldwide.

The essentials about the bitcoin users

  • There are around 22 million set up wallets for bitcoin in the world.
  • Approximately five percent of all Americans are bitcoin users.
  • Cambridge University study showed there are between 2.9 to 5.8 million active bitcoin users
  • There are more than 13 million bitcoin users in the leading exchange Coinbase.
  • The rarely included emerging markets’ users are most likely in the millions.

Let’s take a closer look at this imposing figures.

22 Million Bitcoin Wallets Worldwide

As reported by, there are almost 22 million set up bitcoin wallets globally. However, this figure is not very revealing, as many bitcoin users have a number of bitcoin wallets and use several wallet addresses in order to protect their financial privacy and transactions. Therefore, the number of bitcoin wallets is not indicative of the number of bitcoin users which is most likely less than 22 million.

5 Percent of Americans Hold Bitcoin

bitcoin users

The Global Blockchain Council and SurveyMonkey showed in the recent report that 60% of 5.000 surveyed Americans have heard of bitcoin, out of which five percent are bitcoin holders. If we broaden these stats to the entire US population, that would show approximately 16 million Americans were actively using bitcoin.

2.9 to 5.8 Million Bitcoin Users

Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance has repeatedly informed that “current number of unique active users of cryptocurrency wallets is estimated to be between 2.9 and 5.8 million.” as shown in their studies. The important distinction is that these results refer to “active bitcoin users” rather than “bitcoin wallet holders.” This illustrates how many people are actually using bitcoin regularly as opposed to the investors who only buy and hold.

The Cambridge University study was very comprehensive in its nature; data was collected from more than 100 cryptocurrency companies, based in 38 countries. In other words, the study includes more than 75 percent of the global blockchain industry. Considering the remaining companies, the total number of global active bitcoin users can only be higher than the study’s findings.

13 Million+ Active Users in the Coinbase

Coinbase is the leading bitcoin exchange and wallet provider. Coinbase has allegedly counted 13 million users, which only suggests that the total number of active bitcoin users in their database is between 13-22 million. Coinbase is the most popular bitcoin wallet provider for the newcomers and is available in 32 countries making its user base a good indication of the number of global users.

On the other side, it’s important to note that some of the biggest bitcoin economies like China, Japan, South America, Japan, and Africa don’t have the access to Coinbase service available. However, the bitcoin communities in Asia, Africa, and South America are ever-growing and have to use different wallet providers, so the actual number of bitcoin users on the global level must be way higher than 13 million as reported by Coinbase.

Millions of Bitcoin Users in The Emerging Markets

Recent data provided by the peer-to-peer exchange platform LocalBitcoins suggests that bitcoin is growing in popularity in the economically unstable South American states like Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil. The same change is noted in Africa as well, as a lot of the younger generations of Africans consider bitcoin trading and investing as a possible source of income.

According to eToro analyst Mati Greenspan, a number of the new users trading specifically bitcoin through the eToro platform in Africa has increased 7 times from January to November 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. Google Trends data confirms even further the popularity of bitcoin in African nations: South Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana are in the top five countries searching for the keyword bitcoin.

So, What’s All That in Total?

Considering the fragility of all the collected data, and the always changing bitcoin trends and regulations, it’s impossible to come to the exact number of the global bitcoin users, but a well-informed assumption. In this case, it comes to approximate 20 millions of bitcoin users worldwide. Here is the math behind the figure.

This number can be best explained as a total number of bitcoin wallets diminished for the number of inactive wallets. There are also several millions of users in the economies that are not serviced by Coinbase, especially since they include some of the largest Asian and African bitcoin markets. Hence, around 20 million bitcoin users globally can be considered as a fair estimate. Everything taken into consideration, we come to a fair estimate of 20 million global bitcoin users.

It’s important to note that the vast portion of these 20 million bitcoin users is actually buy-and-hold investors who want to benefit from the potential bitcoin price increase in the future. The number of active, everyday users of bitcoin as a main spending source is, in fact, much smaller.

bitcoin users

How Bitcoin Compares to Other Payment Methods?

Even though Bitcoin’s popularity exploded in 2017,  the frequency of use is still rather small compared to other payment methods like credit cards, checks, and Paypal. It’s impressive that active bitcoin users count around 5.8 million on the global level, but it’s a very modest number of users compared to other means of payment. For example, it’s nowhere close to PayPal with more than 235 million active global users, Mastercard with more than 640 million active global users, and Visa accounts with more than enormous  1070 millions of users around the world.

What Does This All Mean

The numbers look promising, maybe even a bit hard to grasp, but what does it all mean? It means that bitcoin is more than just the latest digital trend. It’s a serious, relatively stable currency with a growing number of admirers and a secured place in the future.

Want to better understand the basics of cryptocurrency? Have different ideas about bitcoin’s future developments? Share your ideas with us in the comments below.

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