The world of cryptocurrency is dynamic and ever-changing. Creating a whole new asset class based on blockchain technology marked a new chapter in information technology, finance, and many other industries. Innovations in this space are many and are already shaping our present and will probably shape our future.
However, there have been numerous challenges along the way regarding fraud, market manipulation, speculative investment bubbles, and limited practical use cases of cryptocurrencies, to name a few.
We have compiled some of the most interesting cryptocurrency statistics for you in this article.
Cryptocurrency Statistics in a nutshell (2023)
- The first and still the largest cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, launched in 2009
- It was designed as an alternative deflationary currency based on blockchain technology
- Bitcoin still makes around half of the entire crypto market’s value
- There are reportedly over 26,000 cryptocurrencies, some of which failed
- Most cryptocurrencies don’t survive ten years on the market
- The total crypto market peaked at around $2.9 trillion in 2021 and is roughly $1.2 trillion as of July 2023
- The crypto market is still significantly smaller than other markets, such as stock, bond, etc.
- Users from developing countries are often leading the way in crypto adoption
- Crypto owners are more likely to be male than female and younger than 35
- Governments of many countries are testing their digital currencies based on blockchain technology
- Many cryptocurrencies need to be “mined” by solving complex cryptographic tasks
- Global mining spends electricity roughly the same as all data centres or a big country
- Ethereum is the 2nd most valuable crypto and boasts some advanced features
- StablecoinTether has more trading volume than Bitcoin and promises a stable value, but it also has its critics
- Decentralized Finance (DeFi) crypto services promise access to financial services without intermediaries such as banks
- Many crypto projects relied on hype and social media for their speculative rise (and fall) in prices and interest, most notably Dogecoin and Shiba Inu
1. The first cryptocurrency was Bitcoin which was presented in 2008 and launched in 2009 by an unknown individual under the name Satoshi Nakamoto
A mysterious individual under the name of Satoshi Nakamoto published a whitepaper describing a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system”. This came during the great financial recession 2008 when many lost their confidence in the traditional banking system.
2. Bitcoin was designed as an alternative deflationary currency based on blockchain technology which needs to be “mined”
Bitcoin was devised as an alternative currency, which will not lose purchasing power over time (inflation) but rather gain it (deflation). It is based on blockchain technology, where individual blocks of code need to be “mined” by computers to confirm transaction validity. In other words, blockchain is an electronic ledger for anonymous digital transactions.
The mining process involves carrying out complex cryptographical calculations requiring much computing power. This is why this mining process is commonly called the “proof of work”.
3. One Bitcoin is valued at around $30,000 (July 2023), with a peak value of nearly $65,000 (November 2021)
Being worth literally pennies or less for years, Bitcoin had a sustained growth in value until 2017, when it exploded to about $20,000 per Bitcoin. After a cool-down period of several years, it had a meteoric rise to nearly $65,000 in November 2021.
Following another significant drop in value, it still hasn’t recovered half of its maximum value and is currently valued (July 2023) at around $30,000.
4. One Bitcoin can be subdivided into 100,000,000 Satoshis, named after its creator, who remains unknown
We can thank the original creator of Bitcoin for naming the 1/100,000,000th part of Bitcoin. It is important to note that we still don’t know who Satoshi Nakamoto is, despite a number of theories. Some even say it could be a group of people rather than a single person.
5. Bitcoin has seen some wild yearly returns, ranging from +1,000% or more in four different years to -60% or more in three different years
Bitcoin prices have had a wild ride over the years (as many investors can surely confirm). Apart from 2010, when Bitcoin had an unbelievable 30,000%+ growth, it boasted 4-digit returns in 3 more years: 2011, 2013, and 2017. However, it experienced 60%+ yearly price drops in 2014, 2018, and 2022 on three occasions.
Keep in mind that price growth and drop are not symmetric: a 50% drop requires a 100% growth to break even to the starting price level, a 66% drop requires a 300% growth to break even and so on.
6. The total supply of Bitcoin is 21 million, out of which around 92% (19.4 million) have already been mined (and it gets harder with time)
The most important factor in Bitcoin’s growing value over time is its scarcity. It was programmed so that mining Bitcoins over time gets progressively more challenging, requiring more and more computing power. More specifically, the number of bitcoins per block is reduced by 50% after every 210,000 blocks, or about once every four years.
Also, the total supply is capped at 21 million Bitcoins, of which around 92% (19.4 million) have already been mined. Since Bitcoin miners have been rewarded so far mostly in Bitcoins, they will only be rewarded with transaction fees after the total supply cap is hit.
7. Bitcoin is by far the most valuable cryptocurrency, making about half of the total crypto market
As new cryptocurrencies have been introduced in recent years, only a handful have come even close to Bitcoin in terms of market cap value. Nevertheless, Bitcoin’s market share has been going down in recent years, from 80-90% from 2014 through 2017 to around 40-50% in 2022-2023.
8. A person paid 10,000 Bitcoin for two pizzas in 2010 (worth around $300 million today)
There is no better illustration to show how little Bitcoin was worth in its early days than the reportedly first commercial transaction of Bitcoin. On May 22, 2010, Laszlo Hanyecz paid Jeremy Sturdivant 10,000 bitcoins (BTC) for two Papa John’s pizzas.
Although it may have been a fair trade back then, the 10,000 BTC are worth around $300 million today. This event is even celebrated in the crypto community as Bitcoin Pizza Day.
9. Bitcoin is often viewed as “digital gold”, but it is currently worth about 20 times less than gold
Due to its high transaction fees and limited supply, Bitcoin’s use case has been chiefly seen as a store of value. Many thus refer to it as “digital gold”, but so far, Bitcoin has fallen short of reaching the total market cap of gold, worth about 20 times less (July 2023).
When writing this article, Bitcoin’s market cap is around $600 billion, while gold’s market cap is estimated at around $12.9 trillion.
10. There are around 40,000 Bitcoin ATMs in the world
According to Statista, the number of physical Bitcoin ATMs in the world is estimated to be somewhere around 40,000. These ATMs provide people who are not tech savvy or don’t have access to crypto exchanges an opportunity to buy Bitcoin.
Global Crypto Market
11. The total crypto market currently sits at around $1.2 trillion (July 2023), comparable to Netherlands’ or Indonesia’s GDP
There have been numerous booms and busts in the crypto markets, rivalling human history’s most famous speculative bubbles. The total crypto market is currently worth around $1.2 trillion (July 2023).
To put that value into perspective, it is comparable to the GDP of countries such as the Netherlands or Indonesia.
13. Despite meteoric growth, crypto still pales in comparison to other asset classes
Although $1.2 trillion is a lot of money, when we compare crypto’s total market cap with other asset classes, it tends to pale in comparison.
Gold is around ten times the value of the total crypto market, and stocks and bonds are around 100 times its value. Real estate is the undisputed champion in this category, with an estimated total market cap of about $613 trillion.
14. The total number of cryptocurrencies exceeds 26,000
According to Coin Market Cap, there are over 26,000 cryptocurrencies in existence.
However, only a tiny fraction of them have significant market value and practical use cases. Many have also been used as speculative assets or scams.
15. The top 5 cryptocurrencies by total market cap are Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether, Ripple, and Binance Coin (July 2023)
For most of the crypto history, Bitcoin (BTC) has been the dominant cryptocurrency by total market cap, with Ethereum (ETH) mostly coming in second place. Other participants on this list have changed much more frequently, but today the two giants are followed by Tether (USDT), Ripple (XRP), and Binance Coin (BNB).
16. Most cryptocurrencies don’t survive a decade on the market, mostly due to abandonment or lack of trading volume
According to Visual Capitalist, around two-thirds of cryptocurrencies launched in 2013 didn’t survive until the end of 2022. The biggest reason for the downfall of these cryptocurrencies was that they were abandoned or had no trading volume, with scams and other issues coming in second place.
Perhaps the most famous crash happened with the Luna crypto coin that wiped out around $60 billion from the crypto markets in 2022.
18. Transactions involving illicit addresses made up only about 0.24 percent of total crypto transaction volume in 2022
Although frauds, scams, money laundering, etc., remain a concern, a Chainalysis report estimates that transactions involving illicit addresses comprised only 0.12 percent of the total cryptocurrency transaction volume in 2021 and 0.24 percent in 2022.
Users and Adoption
19. The total number of crypto users globally is estimated to be around 400 million
It is notoriously hard to estimate the number of crypto users globally, but according to Statista, that number will be around 400 million in late 2022. Some other sources put the number of Bitcoin wallets at around 200 million and Bitcoin owners at around 106 million.
Problems in estimating this number include the need for more transparency from certain exchanges, the anonymity of the users, users with multiple wallets, wallets owned by services and exchanges, multiple users sharing the same wallet, etc.
20. Developing countries are often leading in crypto adoption
The rankings may vary depending on the methodology and sources. Still, developing countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, India, the Philippines, and Nigeria (to name a few) are leading the way in crypto adoption.
A big part of the reason is a relatively high percentage of the population in those countries without access to traditional financial institutions. Cryptocurrency has proven to be the only accessible medium of exchange, investment asset, and value storage for many.
21. Nearly three times more men than women own crypto in the US
22. More than half (53%) of crypto owners in the US are younger than 35
The same source cites that more than half (53%) of crypto owners in the US are younger than 35. This is not surprising since younger generations tend to adopt new technologies quicker and take more risks in investing.
23. Cyprus is the only country in the EU in which more people own crypto than traditional investments, while six times more Swedes invest in traditional investments than crypto
According to Visual Capitalist, Cyprus is the only EU country where more people own crypto (13%) than traditional investments (10%).
Still, Slovenia (18%), Croatia (16%), and Luxembourg (14%) are leading the way in the EU in crypto adoption among the general population.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are countries such as France (5%), Italy (6%), and Germany (6%), with the lowest crypto adoption rates.
It is also interesting to note that six times more Swedes invest in traditional investments (60%) than crypto (10%).
|Country||Population Investing in Crypto||Population Investing in Traditional Assets|
24. 75% of retailers in the U.S. plan to accept crypto as a payment in the next two years
A survey conducted by Deloitte indicates that 75% of retailers plan to accept crypto as a form of payment in their stores.
However, most plan to have third-party payment processors convert digital currency into fiat currency, such as the U.S. dollar. This means the retailers aren’t going to own the cryptocurrency that’s used for the payments, thus mitigating a large portion of the risk.
25. The biggest crypto exchange in the world is Binance, followed by Coinbase
According to Coin Market Cap’s rankings, which take traffic, liquidity, trading volumes, and confidence in the legitimacy of trading volumes reported into account, the biggest crypto exchange in the world is the Chinese-based exchange called Binance.
Coinbase is the other notable crypto exchange based in the U.S., and it’s even listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
26. The collapse of the FTX crypto exchange sent shockwaves in the crypto world in late 2022, pushing the market below $1 trillion
One of the biggest crypto exchanges, FTX, filed for bankruptcy in late 2022, and shortly after its CEO Sam Bankman-Fried got arrested under suspicion of fraud. This was an unexpected event for many, especially since FTX was a major sponsor in many world-class sporting events and was endorsed by many celebrities. Ironically, Bankman-Fried was one of the proponents of more regulation in the crypto space.
Following the news, the crypto market took a sharp dive, falling below $1 trillion. It remains to be seen what the consequences will be for both the company leadership and the clients, but most of the clients’ assets will likely not be refunded.
27. Some countries are already testing digital currencies based on blockchain technology, such as China, Hong Kong, and India
According to CNBC, countries like China, Hong Kong, and India are already testing their versions of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) based on blockchain technology. In 2023, some countries, such as Japan, Russia, and Ukraine, announced they plan to do the same.
Mining and environmental impact
28. Global mining income is estimated at around $20 billion
Rewards and fees earned from mining Bitcoin are estimated to bring around $20 billion per year in income to the miners. This number will probably continue to grow as more cryptocurrencies launch through initial coin offerings (ICOs) and the value of cryptocurrencies continues to climb.
29. The entire Bitcoin network reportedly spends as much electricity roughly as all data centres globally
The entire Bitcoin network was estimated to consume around 185 TWh per year. This amounts to roughly the same energy consumed by data centres globally. However, this number may fluctuate widely with various factors, with the price of Bitcoin being one of the major ones.
30. If the Bitcoin network were a country, it would be around 23rd spot globally in electricity consumption (similar to Thailand)
The electricity consumption of Bitcoin is comparable to large countries such as Thailand. If the Bitcoin network were a country, it would be around 23rd place in the world in electricity consumption.
31. One Bitcoin transaction can spend up to 1,200 kWh of electricity, which is enough to power around 100,000 VISA transactions
Just one Bitcoin transaction can reportedly spend up to 1,200 kWh of electricity, roughly equal to around 100,000 VISA transactions.
32. Around 60% of the power consumed for Bitcoin mining comes from non-renewable energy sources
Most of the energy used in Bitcoin mining (around 60%) is coming from non-renewable energy sources, with the primary source being coal-generated electricity. Still, with around 40% of electricity coming from renewable sources, Bitcoin’s energy consumption is “greener” than the global average of around 30% in 2022.
Other cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based technology
33. Ethereum is the second-largest cryptocurrency with many advanced features and is valued at around $230 billion (July 2023)
Introduced in 2013, Ethereum is the second-largest cryptocurrency with around a $230 billion market cap, around 20% of the total crypto market size (July 2023).
Major differences between Bitcoin and Ethereum stem from the fact that Ethereum is more technologically advanced and is constantly improved by its developers and community. It boasts features such as smart contracts, and the ability to deploy other crypto coins and decentralized finance (DeFi) applications on top of it.
It also made headlines when it transferred from the proof-of-work protocol needed to mine new coins (similar to Bitcoin) to a much less demanding (both in computer power and electricity consumption) proof-of-stake protocol. This transition, called “The Merge”, cut the network’s energy consumption by 99%.
34. Stablecoin Tether (USDT) has twice the trading volume of Bitcoin
Even though Bitcoin is the most valuable cryptocurrency, the stablecoin Tether (USDT) has about twice as high daily trading volume. This is largely since stablecoins such as Tether are promising a stable value and are therefore commonly used in trading between different cryptocurrencies or when storing wealth.
However, there has been significant criticism of stablecoins, including accusations of not being adequately backed by fiat currencies for asset-backed stablecoins, especially around algorithmic-backed stablecoins’ feasibility.
35. Decentralized Finance (DeFi) market will bring in about $17 billion in revenue in 2023, with that number projected to double by 2027
For those unfamiliar with the term, decentralized finance (DeFi) promises access to financial services (borrowing, loaning, insurance, etc.) without intermediaries such as banks. It employs smart contracts on networks like Ethereum, Solana, Cardano, etc.
Statista estimates the current revenue of the DeFi market to be around $17 billion in 2023 and predicts it will double by 2027.
However, there has been significant criticism in this space, mostly due to scams, bugs in code (smart contracts), the platforms themselves being the de facto intermediaries, etc.
36. The dog coins (Dogecoin and Shiba Inu) took the crypto world by storm in 2021 but experienced 90%+ crashes since
Starting as a joke, Dogecoin experienced a meteoric surge in popularity and price in 2021. It was fueled by social media, memes, and celebrities like Elon Musk promoting it half-jokingly. Later that year, another runner in the dog coin race appeared under the name Shiba Inu which also experienced a surge in price and popularity.
Needless to say, both coins have experienced 90%+ price drops from which they haven’t recovered since. Similar can be said for their sharp rises and drops in popularity, as measured by Google Web Search.
Despite that, Dogecoin remains in the top 10, and Shiba Inu is in the top 20 most valuable coins list as of July 2023.
37. NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) also had a massive spike in popularity and prices in 2021 and a subsequent drop in 2022
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) also entered the mainstream following a sharp rise in prices, primarily helped by a single digital artwork in the form of an NFT being sold for an unbelievable $69.3 million in 2021. NFTs are built on top of crypto platforms, but the key distinction is that they are unique and non-fungible (unlike a single Bitcoin or a U.S. dollar).
The main application for NFTs has been in art ownership, and it remains to be seen how its further adoption will be.
Regardless of us being crypto enthusiasts, sceptics, or realists, cryptocurrencies are here to stay. As with every emerging technology, crypto has its challenges, but the potential is also sky-high.
As the crypto space matures, we will probably see more regulation and many projects failing, with only a few useful ones remaining. But then again, this sounds like the story of every technological breakthrough in human history.
How big of a part will crypto play in our lives in the future remains to be seen. But it will likely be there in one form or another.