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Cryptocurrency Statistics and Facts

Published by Bowen Khong

Reviewed by Bowen Khong, ACCA

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether are becoming household names. Consumers love them because they enable lightning-fast payments; investors love them because crypto trading has the potential for serious gains.

Yet, with the first cryptocurrency invented in 2008, this industry is still relatively new. That’s why we’re bringing you this guide. We researched all the cryptocurrency stats and facts you need to know in 2021 and compiled them here.

Check out our table of contents for answers to the questions you’ve been searching for. Or scroll down to our key takeaways for the most important findings from our research into the cryptocurrency industry.

Key Takeaways

  1. American cryptographer David Chaum created the first crypto-like technology, e-Cash, in 1983.
  2. Bitcoin is the oldest cryptocurrency in the world, invented in 2009 and originally known as BitCoin.
  3. From 2013 to 2021, the global number of cryptocurrencies increased by 6,720%, or from 66 to 4,501 currencies. 1,685 of these cryptocurrencies came about between February and July 2021.
  4. The total cryptocurrency market cap hit $2.5T in May 2021, up 178,471% from only $1.5B in 2013.
  5. Bitcoin and Ether are the largest cryptocurrencies by market cap, with $942,249,563,257 ($942B) and $389,405,169,913 ($389B) market caps, respectively.
  6. Tether (USDT) is the largest cryptocurrency by trade volume, with $83,040,983,191 ($83B) USDT traded every day. Bitcoin and Ether are the second and third most traded cryptocurrencies, with daily trading volumes of $32,525,671,418 ($33B) and $19,755,664,835 ($20B), respectively.
  7. There are over 300M cryptocurrency users worldwide as of this writing.
  8. India, the US, Russia, Nigeria, Vietnam, Ukraine, Kenya, South Africa, Colombia, and Venezuela have the highest number of cryptocurrency users in the world.
  9. India has the most cryptocurrency users (100.7M), followed by the US (27.5M), Russia (17.4M), and Nigeria (13.02M).
  10. 2018 saw the highest value of cryptocurrency theft worldwide to date. In 2020 alone, cryptocurrency crimes compromised $513M worth of crypto, up 38.4% YOY.
  11. Japan’s Payment Services Act recognizes crypto as legal property, making it the country with the most dynamic crypto regulations in the world.
  12. Turkey has one of the highest rates of cryptocurrency adoption in the world at 20%.
  13. The average age of the Forbes’ Billionaires List is 67. Compare that to the average age of a cryptocurrency billionaire, which is only 42.
  14. In 2019, the number of cryptocurrency transactions surpassed 700B, which equates to 100 crypto transactions annually per person on Earth.

How Did Cryptocurrency Get Started?

Did you know that Bitcoin wasn’t the first digital currency invented? And do you know which country was the first to legalize Bitcoin as real money? If not, here are some facts that will help you brush up on your cryptocurrency history:

  • The first crypto-like technology was invented in 1983 by American cryptographer David Chaum. He created an anonymous, cryptography-based form of digital money called eCash.
  • Bitcoin (BTC) was invented in 2009, making it the first decentralized cryptocurrency in the world.
  • The first-ever BTC transaction occurred on May 22, 2010, when a Florida man purchased two pizzas for 10,000 BTC. Today, that much BTC is worth more than $80M.
  • In January 2018, the cryptocurrency market capitalization reached an all-time high of over $800B.
  • On September 16, 2020, Kraken became the world’s first cryptocurrency exchange to receive a bank charter.
  • In June 2021, the total number of Bitcoin ATMs (BTMs) was over 22,000, with over 18,000 in just the US.
  • As of 2021, multiple countries around the world accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment, including Microsoft, Tesla, Starbucks, Shopify, PayPal, and more.
  • On June 9, 2021, El Salvador became the first country in the world to adopt a cryptocurrency — Bitcoin — as legal tender.

Source [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]

How Much Is the Cryptocurrency Market Worth?

The global cryptocurrency market value equals the total number of digital coins in circulation multiplied by their prices. So, exactly how big is the cryptocurrency market in 2021? We’re breaking it down for you next.

  • The number of global cryptocurrencies grew 6,720% from 2013 to February 2021, or from 66 to 4,501 currencies.
  • 1,684 cryptocurrencies were created between February and July 2021, a 34.3% increase.
  • There were 204 fewer cryptocurrencies in August 2021 than July 2021, a 3.4% decrease.
Number of cryptocurrencies worldwide from 2013 to October 2021
  • Bitcoin is the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation, with a $942,249,563,257 ($942B) market cap.
  • Ether is the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation, with a $389,405,169,913 ($389B) market cap.
  • Tether (USDT) is the largest cryptocurrency by trade volume, with $83,040,983,191 ($83B) USDT traded every day and $589,186,576,839 ($589B) worth of USDT traded every week.
  • Bitcoin and Ether are the second and third most traded cryptocurrencies, respectively. Bitcoin’s daily trading volumes are $32,525,671,418 ($33B) and weekly trading volumes are $252,572,701,392 ($253B), while Ether’s daily trading volumes are $19,755,664,835 ($20B) and weekly trading volumes are $182,644,876,671 ($183B).
  • The total cryptocurrency market cap hit $2.5T in May 2021, up 178,471% from 2013 ($1.5B).
  • In January 2021, the entire cryptocurrency market dropped 17% ($150B) in 24 hours after BTC and ETH prices plummeted.
  • The global cryptocurrency market increased in value by nearly 900% from March 2020 to March 2021.
  • In 2021, Bitcoin holds the largest market share of all cryptocurrencies at 44%. Ether (17%), Tether (4%), Binance Coin (3.5%), and Cardano (3%) round out the top five cryptocurrencies by market share.
  • Bitcoin held more than 97% of cryptocurrency market share in 2013, only four years after the coin was founded.
  • The price of Cardano (ADA) recently surpassed its three-month high of $2.
  • ETH outperformed BTC in August 2021, rallying 26% compared to BTC’s 16% gain.

Source [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]

Bitcoin (BTC) Price

Bitcoin is the most valuable cryptocurrency in the world. Just how valuable is Bitcoin? We’re talking about Bitcoin’s price and market cap next.

  • Bitcoin’s market capitalisation hit an all-time high of approximately $1,100B ($1.1T) in the first quarter of 2021.
  • In August 2021, Bitcoin’s total market capitalisation was around $875B, a 20.5% decrease from its Q1 2021 all-time high.
  • Bitcoin’s market capitalisation remained below $250B until the end of 2020.
  • Since August 2020, Bitcoin’s market capitalisation hasn’t fallen below its pre-2020 all-time high of $250B.
Market capitalization of Bitcoin from April 2013 to October 10, 2021
  • The price of BTC is $46,857 as of this writing.
  • Bitcoin’s price increased by 193,639.36% from 2012 to 2020.

Source [1, 2, 3]

Ether (ETH) Price

Ether — the digital coin native to the Ethereum blockchain — is the second-most valuable cryptocurrency on Earth. Why is Ether so valuable? And is Ether a good investment? Here’s what our research revealed:

  • To date, Ether (ETH) has shown 250x returns. Compare this to the S&P 500’s year-to-date (YTD) returns of less than 25%.
  • ETH’s YTD returns are nearly 200% greater than Bitcoin’s (BTC) YTD return of around 50%.
Total returns in USD; all market prices as of May 19, 2021.
  • The price of ETH is $3,224.20 as of this writing.
  • 38,261 ETH worth over $120M have been burned, reducing net issuances of new ETH by 35%.

Source [1, 2, 3]

How Many Cryptocurrency Users Are There?

Have you ever wondered how many cryptocurrency users there are in the world and who uses cryptocurrency the most? So did we, which is why we investigated everything there is to know about crypto users in 2021. Check out our findings below.

  • In 2021, there are over 300M cryptocurrency users in the world.
  • The majority of cryptocurrency users live in the Asia-Pacific region, including Oceania. These investors make up over 53.67% of all crypto users.
  • South America has the smallest number of cryptocurrency users worldwide, with 24M users or only 8% of the total cryptocurrency user base.
  • The United States has 28M cryptocurrency users, which equates to about 9.3% of the total cryptocurrency user base.

Global crypto adoption
  • The ten countries with the highest number of cryptocurrency users are India, the US, Russia, Nigeria, Vietnam, Ukraine, Kenya, South Africa, Colombia, and Venezuela.
  • India is home to the most cryptocurrency users of any country in the world with 100.7M users, followed by the US (27.5M users), Russia (17.4M users), and Nigeria (13.02M users).
  • Of the ten countries with the highest number of crypto users, Ukraine has the largest number of users as a percentage of the total population. 12.73% of Ukrainians own cryptocurrency.
Crypto owners by country
  • In 2021, Bitcoin investors make up an average of 60.67% of cryptocurrency users worldwide. 
  • Ethereum investors make up an average of 11.5% of cryptocurrency users worldwide.
  • Bitcoin and Ether are losing market share to altcoins like Dogecoin and Cardano. The share of altcoin owners compared to total cryptocurrency investors increased 12% from April to May 2021 and 13% from April to June 2021.
  • 52% of investors say cryptocurrency is a source of income, not a hobby. For 15% of these investors, cryptocurrency is their primary income source.
  • 55% of investors say cryptocurrency investing is a long-term strategy. The remaining investors trade crypto as a short-term strategy (31%), because they distrust traditional financial institutions (38%), and due to fear of missing out (FOMO).
  • 65% of cryptocurrency investors own Bitcoin and up to 30% have between 1% and 20% of their portfolios devoted to Bitcoin.
  • 97% of investors have confidence in the cryptocurrency industry.
  • 57,000 (95%) cryptocurrency users are male. 25,000 (41%) cryptocurrency users have an undergraduate degree. 47,000 (45%) cryptocurrency investors are employed.
  • The average cryptocurrency user is 34 years old and makes $25,000 per year.
  • 39% of crypto users hold their assets, while 22% of investors partake in staking and lending. 11% prefer to transact with crypto.
  • 60% of cryptocurrency investors store their coins on exchanges rather than in wallets or with third-party custodial services.
  • Bitcoin maximalists — investors with 50% or more of their portfolio in Bitcoin — are 406% more likely to have a PhD than traditional BTC investors.

Source [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

How Much Cryptocurrency Is Stolen Each Year?

Criminals use cryptocurrency because it’s anonymous, decentralized, and relatively secure. However, crypto crimes have been on the decline since 2018. Keep reading below for more cryptocurrency theft statistics.

  • In 2020, $513M worth of cryptocurrency was stolen, up 38.4% from 2019’s crypto thefts of $370.7M.
  • To date, 2018 saw the highest value of cryptocurrency theft worldwide. Crypto thefts compromised $950M worth of crypto in 2018, up 257% from 2017.
  • Crypto criminals made off with $1.9B worth of cryptocurrency in 2020. Compare that to $4.5B worth of crypto in 2019 and $1.7B worth of crypto in 2018.
  • In 2020, fraud made up the majority of cryptocurrency crimes, with theft and ransomware following close behind.
  • Cryptocurrency fraud, theft, and hacks compromised $1.9B worth of digital coins in 2021 alone, making it the year for the second-highest number of cryptocurrency crimes.
  • The greatest value of cryptocurrency was compromised in 2019, with $4.5B lost to hacks, thefts, and fraud.
  • Exit scams were the most common crypto crimes in 2019 and 2020. In 2019, PlusToken’s Ponzi scheme scammed investors to the tune of $2.9B. Another Ponzi Scheme in 2020 compromised $1.1B worth of cryptocurrency from defrauded investors.
  • In 2020, 50% of all cryptocurrency thefts were Decentralized Finance-related and totaled $129M.
  • In 2020, a leading US cryptocurrency exchange processed over $3.5M worth of Bitcoin from criminals. Additionally, all US exchanges received a total of $8.4M worth of Bitcoin from criminals and sent a total of $41.2 worth of Bitcoin to criminals.

Source [1, 2]

Are There Any Regulations on Cryptocurrency?

As crypto has gained popularity around the world, countries have been forced to respond. Here are some of the latest laws and regulations surrounding virtual currency.

  • Japan has the most dynamic regulations regarding cryptocurrency with the Payment Services Act, which recognizes digital coins as legal property.
  • Though the European Union hasn’t passed laws clarifying cryptocurrency’s status, BTC is legal in almost all European Union countries.
  • The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) knows that people use virtual currencies to pay for goods and services and as investments. However, the IRS doesn’t recognize cryptocurrencies as legal tender.
  • At 20%, Turkey has one of the highest rates of cryptocurrency adoption in the world.

Source [1, 2, 3, 4

How Is Cryptocurrency Taxed?

Whether it’s defined as an asset or a currency, cryptocurrency is eligible for taxation. Our research revealed how crypto is taxed by different jurisdictions across the globe. Read our findings below.

  • The US IRS treats cryptocurrency as property for federal tax purposes.
  • In the US, cryptocurrency investors must pay taxes on capital gains, which are realized when the investor sells the asset or uses the asset as a payment for goods and/or services.
  • US cryptocurrency miners must claim mined tokens as income. The IRS states that the fair market value of the coin on the date it was mined must be applied to the tax-paying miner’s annual gross income.
  • For tax purposes, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) treats cryptocurrency transactions as barter transactions when using digital coins to pay for goods or services.
  • The European Union doesn’t apply VATs or GSTs when converting fiat currency to Bitcoins. However, it does apply VAT/GST and other taxes when using Bitcoin to pay for goods and services.

Source [1, 2, 3

Cryptocurrency Fun Facts

It’s official — cryptocurrency has gone mainstream. And these fun facts about digital currencies prove it.

  • Every three seconds, someone posts about Bitcoin on social media.
  • Nearly one in five Brits have purchased cryptocurrency in their lifetime.
  • The average age of crypto billionaires is 42, while the average age of billionaires on Forbes’ Billionaires List is 67.
  • The cryptocurrency industry isn’t immune to unequal wealth concentration. CoinMarketCap has found that fewer than 0.5% of all cryptocurrency wallets own 85% of the world’s Bitcoin.
  • Among the general population, 57% store at least half their wealth in cryptocurrency.
  • 19% of American men own cryptocurrency while only 10% of American women own crypto, making American men almost twice as likely to own crypto.
  • The American company Tesla owns $2.48 billion in Bitcoin or approximately 42,902 Bitcoins.
  • 12 cryptocurrency billionaires lost a combined $15.5B during the May 2021 market crash.
  • In 2019, transactions using cryptocurrency surpassed 700B. That’s around 100 cryptocurrency transactions per year per person on Earth!

Source [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]

Bowen Khong
Bowen Khong
Bowen specialises in global online brokerage research. Head of research and founder of ForexToStocks.
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