How Many People Own & Hold Bitcoin?
The answer is:
No one will ever know the amount of Bitcoin users in the world. As explained below, there can only be an estimate of the number of people with Bitcoin.
The most common method of estimating the number of Bitcoin owners is to look at the amount held in different addresses.
In 2023, estimates show there are 106 million people who own Bitcoin.
Bitcoin Users Key Facts
|Bitcoin Owners||106 million|
|Daily Bitcoin Users||400,000|
|Bitcoin Wallets||200 million|
|Bitcoin Traders||53 million|
|Daily Bitcoin Transactions||270,000|
|Americans that heard of Bitcoin||89%|
|Americans that own Bitcoin||22%|
In the image below, this idea is illustrated.
On the left is a ball representing all 460 million bitcoin addresses to ever have a balance greater than 0.0 BTC.
Of those, 288 million hold no bitcoin in them at all today.
The remaining 172 million represent the bitcoin addresses that make regular bitcoin transactions.
Of those, 147 million belong to exchanges, bitcoin services, merchants, or other kinds of market actors.
Only the remaining 25 million addresses are believed to be economically active wallets that belong to private people on the network.
There are three main issues with this method:
- One person can have many addresses and wallets. One person, for example, might have 1 BTC on his iPhone wallet and .5 BTC on his laptop. If we treated each address as a person, this would count as two people when it's really one. Many people own hundreds of addresses and 3-10 different wallets.
- Services can hold bitcoins in one address that belong to many people. Bitfinex, for example, holds over 18,000 bitcoins in one address(2). Bitfinex is a Bitcoin exchange with millions of customers. If we treat each address as a person, this would be considered one person but might really represent thousands of peoples' bitcoins. Below is one of Bitfinex's wallets - it holds over 6,000 BTC right at any given time.
- Many people don't move bitcoins off the exchange. Many people use centralized services and never create a Bitcoin wallet.
The second common method to estimate the number of owners, is to look at exchanges and check the number of accounts.
Some exchanges tell you their user counts. Others require guessing, either by looking at their trading volume or by reporting their visitor counts.
There are four main issues with this method:
- Inactive accounts: Some customers may open an exchange, buy bitcoin, and sell it later. This still counts as an account in the exchange's data, but the account doesn't actually own any bitcoin.
- Other coins: Many exchanges offer other cryptocurrencies. A user could sign up and buy only litecoin, but not bitcoin.
- Multiple accounts: A user can have unlimited exchange accounts. One, for example, might have an account with Coinbase, Kraken, and Gemini.
- Faked Accounts: Volume and visitor counts on some exchanges are faked by the exchange to appear bigger than they are.
Pew Research conducted a cryptocurrency awareness study in September 2021 sampling 10,371 U.S. adults. The survey showed that 16% had invested in, traded or used cryptocurrency. The percentage went up to 43% for ages 18-39. See the breakdown found below:
So, the total number of people who own Bitcoin depends on how we want to define "own". If owning bitcoin means storing at least $1 worth of it in a Bitcoin wallet you own, there can't be more than ~30.5 million owners.
For instance, the chart below shows how many addresses store ANY bitcoin at all.
But, if owning bitcoin includes storing ANY bitcoin in a centralized exchange or wallet, the numbers published by the surveys above start to seem reasonable. And the truth is, most owners of bitcoin likely do store their coins on centralized services.
With one study suggesting ~25 million cryptocurrency traders outside the USA & Europe(3), it seems quite likely there are over 100 million owners of bitcoins.
If true, it means about 1.3% of the world's population owns bitcoin.
How Many Daily Users of Bitcoin?
This section discusses on-chain Bitcoin users. It does not include transactions taking place on exchanges or centralized services.
The Bitcoin network processes more than 270,000 transactions per day.
This number is deceiving, since one transaction can have multiple recipients.
There are between 700,000 and 1,000,000 active addresses per day. This means there are, likely, 300,000 - 500,000 unique users either sending or receiving Bitcoin per day. The chart below shows that going in to 2022 the monthly active addresses is around 30 million.
Kevin Rooke also offers some interesting data points on total number of days that exceed 1,000,000 active addresses(4).
In March of 2021, daily active addresses dropped to around 720,000 active addresses.
This is all despite a rising price, indicating that people are not moving funds around and are perhaps choosing to hold their positions to acquire deeper gains.
Note: Many people use Bitcoin as part of their investment strategy. So money parked in Bitcoin is "using" it as long-term savings. "Using it" doesn't necessarily mean making transactions every day. This is why we also have to look at the number of bitcoins in wallets.
How Many Bitcoin Wallets Are There?
No one will ever know.
We first have to define "bitcoin wallet". A wallet with bitcoins currently stored? Does a wallet that received bitcoins, sent them, and is now empty count as a wallet? Do exchanges that allow you to send/receive Bitcoins count as wallets?
Coinbase claims to have more than 68 million accounts, while Blockchain.com claims to have 76 million wallets. Together, that's at least ~144 million wallets.
There are hundreds of more wallets with private data. We also already concluded there are likely over 100 million owners of bitcoins. With that said, there are many people that have opened wallets before but don't own bitcoins anymore. Most people also have multiple wallets.
Since there are only ~64 million UTXO's, we know that many of Blockchain.com and Coinbase's wallets are empty.
We're not going to try to estimate the number of wallets. But the data is clear:
- There likely has been more than ~200 million, and maybe billions, of wallets created during Bitcoin's existence
- There can't possibly be more than ~64 million active wallets, since there are only ~64 million UTXOs
With that said, one Bitcoin wallet can hold many UTXOs, so there is likely much less than ~64 million wallets in existence.
How Many People Know About Bitcoin?
About 90% of Americans have heard of Bitcoin.
88% of Japanese and 93% of people in the UK have heard of Bitcoin(5).
Another report puts the number at 66% of Europeans having heard of Bitcoin, with 78% in Poland and 79% in Austria.
In China, some 40% of Chinese are interested in investing in Bitcoin.
It's quite clear that developed countries' populations are at minimum quite aware of Bitcoin.
Based on the numbers above, it would seem there are at least 2 billion people that have heard of Bitcoin.
How Many Users Does Coinbase Have?
Coinbase's website claims that it has served over 56 million users.
This means Coinbase now has more users than Charles Schwab(6).
How Many People Will Be Using Bitcoin in the Next 10 Years?
When survey participants are asked if they believed most people would be using Bitcoin within the next ten years, the results are not surprising.
Older people are, unsurprisingly, pessimistic about this event occurring, while young people are optimistic. However, all age groups have grown optimistic on this question over just two years.
How Many Bitcoin Traders Are There?
- How Many People Own Bitcoin?
- How Many Daily Users of Bitcoin?
- How Many Bitcoin Wallets Are There?
- How Many People Know About Bitcoin?
- What is Bitcoin's User Growth?
- How Many Believe People Will Be Using Bitcoin in the Next 10 Years?
- How Many Bitcoin Traders Are There?
One report estimates that there are between 51.2 and 52.4 million cryptocurrency traders worldwide(3).
Out of these, here is the breakdown by country:
- North America (USA & Canada): 15.3 million
- Latin America: 1.05 million
- Africa: 1.6 million
- Europe: 10 million
- Japan: 6.75 million
- South Korea: 5 million
- Rest of Asia (besides Korea and Japan): 15.3 million
- Australia and New Zealand: 400,000
What is Bitcoin's User Growth?
This is a hard question to answer. Let's look at some data.
Blockchain.com reported around 45 million users on January 1, 2020 and 63.5 million a year later on January 1, 2021. This is a 70% increase year over year. And on April 29, 2021, it reported a whopping 72 million users.
Interestingly, the total number of UTXO's (unspent Bitcoins) grew from 64 million on January 1, 2020 to 68.5 million a year later - a 7% increase(8).
How Many Users Does Ethereum (ETH) Have?
It's impossible to know the exact number, but the latest estimates guess that there are around 10 million users of Ethereum.
How Many Users Does Dogecoin (DOGE) Have?
Thanks to billionaire & Tesla founder Elon Musk, Dogecoin has gained a lot of users and a large market capitalization. Dogecoin has at least one million users.
How Many Bitcoins Does the Average Person Have?
There are two ways to look at this question:
One is to take the true average of dividing the number of bitcoins in existence today by the number of people on Earth.
As of November 23, 2021, there are ~18,880,000 bitcoins in existence.
There are also about ~7,753,000,000 people on Earth
18,880,000 / 7,753,000,000 = ~0.00244
So the average person owns about 0.00244 BTC
However, if you were to pick a person at random from anywhere on the Earth, that person would likely not own any BTC. This is a more casual definition of average, but also more likely to give you the answer you are looking for.
How many People Have At Least One Bitcoin?
As of November 23, 2021, There are 818,923 addresses with at least one bitcoin in them. This does not mean there are 818,923 people who have one bitcoin or more.
On the one hand, many people own more than one address with at least one bitcoin in them - we just don't know how many there are. However, this would bring the total number of people with more than one bitcoin down.
On the other hand, there are addresses owned by exchanges that hold thousands of bitcoins. These bitcoins belong to many thousands of people and many of them own more than one bitcoin in that address. In the chart, below, you can see the number of addresses containing 10,000 BTC or more. Many (if not most) of these addresses are large custodians holding bitcoin for many people.
This would bring the total number of people with more than one bitcoin up.
Because of these factors, its impossible to know for sure how many people own more than one bitcoin, but we can use this data to make educated guesses that its probably somewhere around a million people, give or take a few hundred thousand.
Which Countries Have Banned Bitcoin Users?
Bitcoin is a controversial asset to many, especially those in office. One of the most precious powers a government holds is the ability to print money.
This article attempts to document the ever-changing list of countries that have banned and unbanned (and sometimes banned again) Bitcoin throughout the years.
Bitcoin has been 'banned' in China several times.
The first came in December of 2013 when the People's Bank of China decided to ban Bitcoin due to its associations with the illegal drug and gun trade.
Eventually this ban was lifted.
That is until January of 2017, when Bloomberg and the Wallstreet Journal indicated that Chinese regulators would halt all trading of the virtual currency(7).
While this never totally materialized, the city of Shanghai did halt trading in cryptocurrency exchanges in the city.
China also banned all Bitcoin mining activity in the country in June of 2021. While it did not ban owning or using Bitcoin, banning Bitcoin mining is the most stringent form of aggression towards Bitcoin we've seen in the Communist regime.
Russia has never formally banned Bitcoin.
It did however issue warnings in February of 2014 to those exchanging it.
The warnings essentially said that exchangers would be kept under suspicion of money laundering and terror financing if they continued operations. The citation also mentioned that in Russia, it is a crime to compete with the Ruble as a "money substitute".
In Russia, there is no room for both Bitcoin and the Ruble.
Russia has never formally lifted these citations, but exchanges and mining companies do continue to operate in the country to this day.
In July of 2013, Bitcoin Co, a Thai-operated Bitcoin exchange petitioned the Thai government for a money exchange license in order to continue operations.
The governing body making this decision denied Bitcoin Co's request for the license, saying that Bitcoin is not a currency. The board allowed Bitcoin Co to present their case that Bitcoin is currency and to potentially have their application re-evaluated.
Shortly after the appeal was granted, the Central Bank of Thailand issued a preliminary ruling that using Bitcoins in the way described by Bitcoin Co was illegal due to a lack of existing laws.
It is unknown if there have been any developments legally speaking, however there are exchanges operating in Thailand right now and there appears to have been no repercussions to users buying Bitcoin so long as the exchange registers for a Business Development Department e-commerce license
BuyBitcoinWorldWide writers are subject-matter experts and base their articles on firsthand information, like interviews with experts, white papers or original studies and experience. We also use trusted research and studies from other well-known sources. You can learn more about our editorial guidelines.
- Chainalysis - Mapping the Universe of 460 Million Bitcoin Addresses, https://www.chainalysis.com/blog/bitcoin-addresses/
- BitInfo Charts - Bitfinex Wallet, https://bitinfocharts.com/bitcoin/address/3JZq4atUahhuA9rLhXLMhhTo133J9rF97j
- Chainalysis - The 2023 Global Crypto Adoption Index: Central & Southern Asia Are Leading the Way in Grassroots Crypto Adoption, https://www.chainalysis.com/blog/2023-global-crypto-adoption-index/
- Kevin Rooke via Twitter - Only 69 days in Bitcoin history have seen more than 1,000,000 active addresses on the network, https://twitter.com/kerooke/status/1300214250812702724
- Cointelegraph - 93% of Brits Have Heard of Bitcoin, but Only 4% Have Bought It, Survey Shows, https://cointelegraph.com/news/93-of-brits-have-heard-of-bitcoin-but-only-4-have-bought-it-survey-shows
- CNBC - Bitcoin exchange Coinbase has more users than stock brokerage Schwab, https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/27/bitcoin-exchange-coinbase-has-more-users-than-stock-brokerage-schwab.html
- Insider - Bitcoin is tumbling after Chinese regulators say an exchange ban is certain, https://www.businessinsider.com/bitcoin-price-september-14-2017-9
- Glassnode - The Bitcoin UTXO Set, https://studio.glassnode.com/dashboards/btc-utxo-set