The first decentralized cryptocurrency, bitcoin, has celebrated its 10 year anniversary, but are we still near the starting line? There have been many comparisons between cryptocurrencies and the growth of the internet, but is it a fair comparison? Trying to find solid metrics concerning crypto can be tough. Lets try!
It is impossible to know exactly how many people use crypto. This is because people can have as many wallets as they like, and store their crypto in multiple places. We can see, for example, how many bitcoin wallet addresses exist, about 25 million at the time of writing. To think there might be that many users would be a mistake. It is good practice to generate a new address for every transaction, in fact there are wallets that have these features built in. A more accurate metric to consider would be active addresses, and that number peaks just over 1 million in a 24 hour period.
If you were to look at a graph of the estimated crypto user growth and the growth of the internet, crypto trajectory would place us about the year 1994. But can we really compare the two? Most people today wouldn’t have a clue how to send crypto and manage keys, but the same could have been said about e-mail in the early 90’s. Truth is, the general public doesn’t need to understand the technology to be able to participate, but the right tools need to be created to get there. Credit cards are used without any knowledge of what is happening behind the scenes. Mass adoption requires ease of use.
So what can we know for sure… We know there has been a huge increase for number of users in cryptocurrencies and DApps. Depending on the longevity of blockchains and crypto, the analogy above could be fairly accurate. Personally, I believe that the major differences between crypto and the internet make it really hard to compare. Crypto encompasses many different things. I see cryptocurrencies as a new asset class, and it is hard for me to make comparisons with something so different (apples and oranges). I do believe, however, that after 10 years since bitcoin began, we are still early adopters.