The second edition of the Global Cryptoasset Benchmarking study from Cambridge University’s business school has good news for the crypto enthusiasts. Even as cryptocurrency markets tested new bottoms during this year, the number of user accounts at crypto-related service providers grew to 139 million, according to the study. The study cautioned that user accounts does not equate to users.
It estimated that 35 million were verified users or users whose identities have been checked by service providers. That’s four times as many verified users as there were last year. “Growth rates were at their highest in 2017, and the number of new user accounts as well as ID-verified users continued to grow well into 2018,” the study states.
The uptick in number of verified users is a significant development, especially given that critics have charged cryptocurrency exchanges, which account for some of the largest user counts, with posting fake volumes. However, only 38% of user accounts are “active”. The definition of an active user varied across platforms who contributed to the study. Last year, the study estimated the number of active wallets to be between 7.5% and 30.9%.
While individuals accounted for the maximum number of users, businesses were not far behind. Payment service providers, which include cryptocurrency exchanges and payment processors, and storage providers, which include cryptocurrency custody providers, have the highest user base among providers of crypto-related services. Cryptoasset hedge funds and online merchants were the main customers for providers of payment services.
That’s not surprising when you consider that the story woven around cryptocurrencies is that of an asset class and a convenient money transfer mechanism. For example, BitPay, a player in B2B money transfers expects to do business worth $4 billion this year, up from $1.3 billion last year.