100 Million People Use Cryptocurrencies All Over the World

Last autumn, the crypto world set another record. Researchers at the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance and experts at Binance Research estimated that over 100 mln people in the world owned bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based tokens. It’s nearly 20 times more than in 2017 and 3 times more than in 2018. 100 mln people account for 1.28 % of the globe’s population. It’s two times more than the population of Ukraine, 9 times more than the population of the Czech Republic, and 30 times more than the population of Mongolia. We analyzed statistics behind the use of cryptocurrencies and reviewed how public attitude towards digital assets is changing, what stands in the way of their large-scale acceptance and how UMI resolves these issues. 

How Many People Use Cryptocurrencies All Over the World

In September 2020, the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) published results of its annual Global Cryptoasset Benchmarking Study. It’s the third study of this kind, with the previous studies carried out in 2017 and 2018. This time, researchers collected data from 280 crypto companies operating in 59 countries in the four major market segments: exchanges, payments, custody and mining. 

Analysts emphasize that even though published numbers are not 100 percent accurate, they reflect the approximate number of cryptoasset holders in the world.

Here are the major CCAF study conclusions:

  • About 101 million people own digital assets on the biggest crypto platforms (It’s important to note that this is a minimal number that must have significantly risen in 2021 in the context of a bull market. Calculating the exact number of cryptoasset owners is hard — if only because many among them have no accounts in registered crypto companies);
  • In total, users opened 191 million accounts (this number does not include autonomous “cold” wallets);
  • Active users in the North America and Europe account for 40 % of the total number, in Asia — 16 %, in Latin America — 10 %;
  • Most crypto transactions still run outside exchanges — directly between users. Exchanges are mostly used to exchange fiat money for cryptoassets and vice versa. Decentralized assets operate perfectly well with no intermediaries, directly connecting users;
  • Share of crypto exchanges supporting stablecoins (stable cryptocurrencies) grew to 32 % (from 4 % in 2018);
  • 42 % of crypto companies hold all required licenses or are in the process of obtaining them. The remaining 58 % don’t break the law either — they’re engaged in activities that are not yet regulated in their respective country or are operating in jurisdictions where no regulatory framework has been put forth for digital assets. In other words, most companies in the sector want to be completely legal.
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The number of accounts opened on crypto platforms is shown in black, the number of cryptocurrency owners — in blue. CCAF data. Source 

According to CCAF, less than 1 mln people used cryptocurrency prior to 2017, 2.9 to 5.8 mln — in 2017, and 35 mln — in 2018.

CCAF data is supported by the recent January report by Binance Research (a research department of the biggest crypto exchange): Global Crypto User Index 2021. Its experts also believe that there’re over 100 mln cryptocurrency owners in the world. Data is based on an online survey of 61,073 crypto users in 178 countries and regions. It was conducted from September, 15 to October, 25 last year. 

Here are major Binance report conclusions:

  • More than 50 % of digital asset owners consider cryptocurrency as a means of income, with crypto being their primary source of income for 15 %;
  • 48 % view cryptocurrencies as a hobby or investment;
  • 57 % hold over a half of their portfolio in cryptocurrencies, mainly as a part of their long-term investment strategy;
  • 65 % have bitcoin in their portfolios;
  • 39 % hold cryptocurrencies for the long term, 22 % — for staking and DeFi earnings, 11 % — for payments;
  • 60 % store their coins on exchanges;
  • 66 % use DeFi apps.

To reiterate though, the exact number of BTC holders is not known. For instance, according to Blockchain.com and Statista.com, Blockchain.com alone has almost 68 mln BTC wallets, with other estimates showing the total of 200 mln. However, these numbers cannot reflect the precise number of ВТС owners since a single person may own hundreds of wallets. A number of polls also showed that up to 11 % of Americans could own bitcoin — i. e. about 30 mln people, and up to 5 % Europeans — i.e. about 37 mln people.

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Growth of the total number of ВТС wallets. Source

Even though it’s impossible to receive accurate data, research results argue convincingly for a fast acceptance and distribution of cryptocurrencies, despite government opposition, market instability and economic crises. 

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Daily number of unique ВТС users, according to Blockchain.com. 600 – 900 K users use bitcoin on a daily basis. Source 

People Trust Cryptocurrencies More and More

We compared data from multiple polls and tracked how public attitude towards digital assets has changed over the last few years. The general trend is obvious: regular people trust cryptocurrencies more and more.

Experts at The Tokenist media platform analyzed how Americans changed their attitude towards ВТС between 2017 and 2020. For illustration purposes, they also used polls conducted in 2017, 2018 and 2019

Poll data by The Tokenist for 2017 and 2020:

Question2017 2020
Number of people who know about bitcoin30%42% among youth61%78% among youth
ВТС owners4%14%
Prefer ВТС to shares, gold and real estate32%68% among youth45%92% among youth
View ВТС as a financial innovation33%60%
Trust ВТС more than banks18%47%
Are confident that most people will use ВТС over the next 10 years 28%44% among youth43%60% among youth

Trend data by The Tokenist are also supported by poll data by Harris Poll in 2017 and 2019:

Question2017 2019
Number of people who know about bitcoin77%89%
ВТС owners2%11%
View ВТС as a financial innovation34%43%
Are confident that most people will use ВТС over the next 10 years 28%44% among youth33%60% among youth

Meanwhile, Europeans are a little more careful. Polls by the financial company ING Group in 2018 and 2019 showed that only up to 55 % of respondents knew about ВТС, 35 % saw cryptocurrencies as the money of the future, 25 % were going to buy or use cryptocurrencies. Residents of Turkey, Poland and Romania had the highest trust in cryptocurrencies. For instance, over 60 % of Turkish respondents believed in a bright future for BTC.

In Russia, cryptocurrencies are less popular than in the USA and Europe. In 2019, 59 % to 70 % of surveyed Russians heard about digital assets (in 2017 this number was just 28 %). According to survey data from January 2020, 54 % of Russians were willing to make savings in cryptocurrencies while 10 % already owned coins or tokens. 65 % of respondents still believed digital assets wouldn’t be used in real life, and 70 % were confident cryptocurrencies couldn’t replace fiat money. However, 29 % of surveyed people thought cryptoassets ensured independence from banks and governments while 27 % were sure they were the future. Therefore, over a quarter of respondents in Russia now believe in prospects for digital assets. 

Overall, this is an amazing trend. Most polls show that acceptance of cryptocurrencies has almost improved twice over three years. Today, many ordinary citizens not only know about digital assets, but also trust them more than traditional banks. Those believing in a future for cryptocurrencies are mostly young — they are the people who will soon be the main consumers and the most economically secure social class. 

It’s especially great that a boost in confidence in digital assets happened in the context of a bear market when cryptocurrencies did not rise in price multi-fold over a few months. It means that people also account for cryptocurrencies’ inherent value and benefits in their assessment, rather than just trying to make a profit on speculations. 

What Prevents Faster Cryptocurrency Acceptance 

Despite this positive trend, use of cryptocurrencies is not as wide as it could be, unfortunately. Their general acceptance is prevented by the following issues.

  • Lack of straightforward cryptocurrency regulations on the legislative level. Most countries, including Russia, have not yet worked out uniform rules of digital asset regulation and do not recognize them as means of payment. Countries where cryptocurrencies are governed by the laws have mostly focused on countering use of digital assets for money laundering. In other words, authorities demand owners of cryptocurrencies to fully report on all transactions, but can’t be bothered to adopt laws on how cryptocurrencies can be used in payments. This is the reason why there are so few places where you can pay for goods and services in cryptocurrencies. Without this, use of digital assets cannot become large-scale. 
  • Use complexities. Most cryptocurrencies, especially those of the first generation, are hard to use for non-technical users. For a wider deployment of digital assets, their use, storage, buy and sell transactions must be re-wired to become a lot more user-friendly. 
  • Scalability trilemma. Ethereum’s founder Vitalik Buterin came up with the major technical problem of the present-day blockchains — it’s hard to design a blockchain that would combine decentralization, security and scalability. Right now, only two of these features can be combined. For instance, bitcoin is decentralized and secure, but slow and poorly scalable. 
  • Volatility. Cryptocurrency prices are highly volatile. The high volatility may be interesting for traders, but daunting for regular citizens who, for instance, would like to use digital assets to make transfers and pay for goods and services. How can you make transfers or pay with a coin that costs $ 10,000 now and $ 8,000 in an hour? Especially if transaction confirmation takes a long time. 
  • Security. It’s one of the weak spots of the cryptocurrency infrastructure. Hackers regularly attack crypto exchanges and user wallets. Exchanges and companies operating in this sector must place a priority on security and be held responsible for the compromised assets of their customers. In a new industry swarming with skilled hackers, only services that operate fairly and responsibly will survive and continue to generate value.

How UMI Resolves These Issues and Contributes to Faster Cryptocurrency Acceptance

As for UMI, we, on our part, do all we can to help resolve each of the issues above in the cryptocurrency industry. UMI is a decentralized blockchain project with an open-source code that makes use of digital assets accessible to all. 

UMI tries to comply with applicable law at all times and be a completely legitimate financial instrument. Our team also works on obtaining new licenses that will allow us to widely use and integrate UMI into various areas. 

Using UMI is easy. Users don’t have to be tech guys, be able to configure nodes, etc. You can simply download an app on your smartphone to get access to a fully functional cryptocurrency platform and run instant and free-of-charge transfers to any country. A few more clicks will connect you to a staking pool where you can generate new UMI coins at the rate of 40 % a month via smart contract-based staking.

UMI Staking Smart Contract is easy-to-use and secure. Users don’t have to lock their coins — they can withdraw them at any time, without losing their earnings. New coins are generated in your wallet, and you alone have access to them. Technically, you can start generating new coins with any balance on your wallet — with no limitations applied. 

The upgraded Proof-of-Authority algorithm allows UMI to resolve the scalability trilemma. Our project is decentralized, secure (it’s even protected against the 51 % attack) and scalable. 

We have also tried to resolve the volatility issue by pooling bitcoins in the order book on the SIGEN.pro exchange, to support UMI price. The order books now contains orders worth of $ 17–20 mln. This “wall” supports UMI price by not letting it drop below $ 0.95. However, nothing prevents the coin price from growing. 

UMI is now actively growing. Our team has far-reaching plans for the future, including launch of an ecosystem in DeFi, dApps, DAO and DEX. Over 9 months following the launch of the UMI network, more than 200,000 addresses have been created, and interest to the coin is growing by the day. Our team is uncovering cryptocurrencies for the general public by showing how easy-to-use they are. As UMI grows, so does the entire sector. 

Since people all over the world are gradually moving to cashless transfers, there’s no strain in saying that in future people will widely use crypto payments. If a blockchain network can process transactions at the same rate as fiat payment systems while also offering a higher level of security, there can be no limitations for a wider deployment of crypto payments (provided that the above issues are successfully resolved).

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“I think over time the number of crypto users will go up from around 50 million users to 5 billion. The chain that manages to ship some of these scalability, privacy, decentralized identity and developer tool solutions will have a big leg up,” tweeted Brian Armstrong, head of the big American platform Coinbase. He believes that cryptocurrencies will spread around the world like the Internet. In his opinion, to be widely accepted, cryptocurrency networks must be able to handle at least 1,000 transactions per second. UMI has already surpassed this number by a few times. In its beta version — by dozens of times. 

A crypto ecosystem must be more easy-to-use than the existing technologies. For cryptocurrencies to be accepted, people must feel they need them. What’s the point in moving to a new type of assets if a usual bank account serves its purpose well enough? 

This is why we created UMI as a new future rather than an alternative to the existing financial system. We’re confident that in the years to come cryptocurrencies will become the new global mainstream. Issues that currently prevent them from being widely deployed can be resolved. The UMI Team do all they can to contribute to a faster spread of cryptocurrencies. We’re confident that 100 mln cryptocurrency users are not the limit of dreams. There’ll be billions of us! 

Sincerely yours, UMI Team!

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