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


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

The under 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.

Notice: This text doesn’t embrace all the info and evaluation. The entire piece may be discovered right here.

Bitcoin Consumer Adoption

One of many strongest circumstances 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 person of bitcoin the asset is extremely tough and may have many definitions relying on whom you ask. This piece goals to mixture and analyze the varied definitions and estimates for bitcoin customers, outline our most well-liked view of bitcoin adoption and make our personal estimations for present bitcoin customers.

How Do You Outline A Bitcoin Consumer?

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

  • Is somebody who’s storing bitcoin on an alternate thought of a person 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 think about for adoption? Is that threshold denominated in bitcoin, fiat forex or as a share of internet wealth?
  • Is a person 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 instantly convert funds to fiat forex be a person?
  • Does a person have to run a node?

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

  1. Casually : Consumer proudly owning any quantity of bitcoin or bitcoin-related product. This could possibly be somebody with $5 in an previous 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: Consumer who purchases bitcoin or bitcoin-related merchandise on a recurring foundation. Primarily considering making monetary achieve on bitcoin’s potential value appreciation. Might or could not self custody or use a custodial resolution. Seemingly has 1-5% allocation of their internet price in bitcoin/bitcoin merchandise.
  3. Heavy Consumer: Consumer who shops a good portion of internet price in bitcoin via self custody and/or actively engages in on-chain or Lightning transactions. Somebody primarily considering utilizing a separate type of cash and financial community. Seemingly has greater than 5% allocation of their internet price in bitcoin.

Most of the eye-popping adoption numbers that we see immediately have a tendency to trace these classes collectively. Possibly that’s the appropriate strategy for a high-level view of potential adoption and the primary touchpoint, nevertheless it doesn’t inform us a lot concerning the variety of customers utilizing bitcoin for its main objective: decentralized peer-to-peer money the place customers can retailer and transact worth on a separate financial community. Ideally, we wish to monitor the expansion of heavy customers to mirror significant adoption of bitcoin.

The under desk aggregates a number of the key bitcoin person estimates which have been revealed during the last six years to offer you an thought of how various these estimates may 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 alternate customers. All of those research have totally different definitions and methodologies for calculating adoption, exhibiting how tough it’s to check estimates on the market immediately. 

Aggregated information from numerous surveys and person estimates

Expertise Adoption S-Curve: Web Versus Bitcoin

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


Most 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 every type: those that have had any contact factors with bitcoin from shopping for a little bit bit on an alternate, having a pockets with $5 price of bitcoin to the bitcoin person storing higher than 50% of their internet price in self custody.

Monitoring casually customers would give individuals a ballpark estimate of across the similar adoption curve because the web. Nevertheless, if we’re actually considering 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 in style evaluation comparisons which have beforehand circulated (included under), they paint an image that bitcoin adoption is way additional alongside than we calculate it to be. 

One comparability of the speed of web adoption overlaid with the bitcoin value
Evaluating web and crypto adoption

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



The best 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 may be rising as new customers purchase bitcoin or as present bitcoin holders use many distinctive addresses to unfold out their holdings — a typical privateness apply.

We’ve seen an explosion in handle progress since 2012 from just below 1 million to just about 42 million distinctive addresses immediately. Let’s say we use an assumption for common addresses per individual 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. 

Variety of addresses with a non-zero bitcoin steadiness

From a USD perspective, there are solely 5.3 million addresses holding not less than $1,000 price of bitcoin. Utilizing our tough assumption of 10 addresses per individual once more then we’re below 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 international and has greater adoption charges in much less rich international locations, the benchmark appears becoming. 

Distinctive bitcoin addresses holding not less than x quantity ($)

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

We go into extra element about different methods to investigate bitcoin customers in an article on Substack. Regardless of which means you narrow the info, 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 tough it’s to outline and monitor bitcoin person progress in a dependable means.

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

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Supply: Bitcoin Journal


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