Bitcoin is Big
It's no secret that the value of bitcoin has exploded over the course of 2017, but despite its performance, there are still questions to be asked about its place in the wider investment market. Now, new data from Coinbase serves to illustrate just how prominent cryptocurrency has become.
Coinbase is among the most well-known platforms used to buy and sell cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum. On November 29, it announced that it had reached a user base of 13 million – and since then, this figure has risen by an additional 100,000 accounts.
For context, we can compare this number to the user base of Charles Schwab, a major online brokerage platform. At the end of 2016, it was said to serve 10.2 million online accounts.
Charles Schwab is responsible for a lot more assets across its user base, but purely in terms of membership numbers, Coinbase seems to have already got a nose ahead. This is evidence that bitcoin is growing in terms of popularity as its value continues to increase.
Population Growth via Coinbase
Given the hype surrounding bitcoin, it's unsurprising to see that more and more people are dabbling in cryptocurrency. This is contributing to a more diverse set of users for sites like Coinbase.
Google Analytics data assembled by Coin Dance suggests that the bitcoin community actually spans a relatively large age range. The majority of users are between 25 and 34, with 45.71 percent falling within that category, but 30.62 percent are between 35 and 44, and 12.3 percent are between 45 and 54. Only 8.36 percent are between 18 and 24.
We can get further insight into the make-up of the bitcoin market by looking at how much cryptocurrency individual addresses have accrued. According to data from BitInfoCharts, there are 16,707,573 addresses with $1, 2,317,934 of total worth, some of which are worth more than $1,000, and another 721,542 worth more than $10,000.
This demonstrates some of the spread – there are plenty of accounts that have been set up just to trade a few dollars for curiosity's sake, but there are also lots of addresses that are associated with significant amounts of money.
Bitcoin is no longer a niche interest, and it's only set to grow more popular as the mainstream picks up on the benefits of decentralized currency. However, this also means that we're likely to see authorities renew their interest in regulating its usage.
Coinbase was recently ordered to supply the IRS with various pieces of information pertaining to high-capacity traders. We're likely to see more oversight of this kind going forward – especially given that regulators in the US just gave the go-ahead to bitcoin futures trading.
The bitcoin landscape – and by extension, the cryptocurrency market as a whole – is certainly changing. It remains to be seen whether it can remain prosperous as it comes under greater scrutiny.
Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.