Did you know that Bitcoin searches topped that of every other cryptocurrency in 2021? This may not be a surprising feat seeing that the world’s leading crypto asset has gained almost 8,000,000,000% since its inception in 2009.
However, with the rate at which the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector took off in 2021, one would think Ethereum and other DeFi-enabled platforms which have been capturing major interests will be closing in on Bitcoin. Well, while we may yet be unable to be specific about what has helped Bitcoin retain its market dominance, here are fascinating Bitcoin statistics that may provide some insights into this if you are looking to invest in Bitcoin.
But first, let’s briefly discuss the crypto asset — the world’s first decentralized cryptocurrency — Bitcoin.
How Bitcoin Works
Bitcoin can be thought of like a spreadsheet of transactions. Imagine if you were on vacation with some friends, and every now and then, someone would pay for everyone’s dinner, or for everyone’s train ticket.
You might keep a written list of who had paid what. It might look like this:
Bob sends Alice 20 EUR, and Alice receives 20 EUR from Bob. Alice sends George 10 EUR, and George receives 10 EUR.
Swap the names for numbers indicating Bitcoin addresses, and the EUR for BTC — for as complicated as the technology behind Bitcoin is, the concept is essentially just a list of people sending and receiving value. The reason Bitcoin has value is simply because people agree that it does, and this stems from the fact that Bitcoin cannot be easily controlled by governments and banks, and that the supply of Bitcoin is limited and growing scarcer over time (unlike EUR or USD which are inflating over time).
Bitcoin can be sent directly from one person to another without needing to use a service like PayPal, for example, which is run by a company that could seize your funds or view your data if they wished. The network is also open 24/7.
Bitcoin Transactions Are Permanent and Cannot be Reversed
This spreadsheet of transactions is permanent and cannot be changed, unlike a bank transaction which can be reversed by a bank. This permanence is called “immutability,” meaning something that cannot be changed, and this is another important feature of Bitcoin.
Bitcoin transactions are uniquely coded and recorded in each block of the sheet, and every block is linked to the previous block of transactions — hence the name, blockchain.
Once a new transaction is entered into the blockchain and confirmed, the global ledger is updated, which is accessible and visible to everyone on the network at every point in time. For a block of transactions to be added to the Bitcoin blockchain, it must be vetted by a majority of miners — network participants responsible for validating transactions on the Bitcoin network.
How Bitcoin Mining Works
Every block of transactions in the Bitcoin network has a secret code that must be guessed by miners. Bitcoin miners use computers to make numerous guesses per second, and when someone gets it right, they earn the right to validate that block of transactions. This is when a transaction become confirmed, and often takes half an hour.
This computational effort requires high energy consumption, often driving the cost of electricity involved in mining Bitcoin through the roof — a critical part that many consider to be a fundamental flaw in the protocol’s design. As payment for their efforts on the Bitcoin network, miners are issued block rewards to the tune of 6.25 BTC alongside network transactions fees.
Satoshi Nakomoto — a pseudonymous name used to refer to the creator(s) of Bitcoin — wanted to develop a trustless and secure peer-to-peer electronic payment network that runs on decentralized technology and does not require any financial institution. Although proponents of the blockchain economy believe that the Bitcoin blockchain is limited compared to other alternative blockchains, it has largely satisfied its aim for a trustless and decentralized digital currency and payment network.
How Big is the Global Bitcoin Market?
The cryptocurrency market has seen a tremendous increase in its market capitalization, totalling a sum of over $3 trillion dollars earlier in November 2021. Market capitalization in cryptocurrency is calculated by multiplying the circulating supply of a crypto asset by the unit price of the asset.
Bitcoin makes up about one-third of the entire crypto market cap, reaching an all-time high of $1 trillion in October 2021. Although Bitcoin experienced a rocky close to the end of the year, seeing a downward spiral to about $800 billion, it still sits miles ahead of its closest competitor, Ethereum — the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap at around $350 billion.
While Bitcoin has significant dominance in the crypto markets, it represents a tiny percentage of the global asset market when you consider that the entire crypto industry only amounts for roughly about 4% of the global equity market. Although major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum still experience significant price volatility, Bitcoin continues to lead the charge towards global crypto adoption.
According to Chanalysis’ yearly global crypto adoption index review, worldwide crypto adoption shot up a staggering 880% in 2021. If we couple this with the fact that Bitcoin remains the most searched cryptocurrency of the year, we can infer that the global Bitcoin market is growing significantly, and there are no indications of slowing down any time soon.
Why We Chose these Bitcoin Stats
Bitcoin is often the subject media frenzy, owing largely to its highly volatile nature. On some occasions, there is a lot of positive hype around the crypto asset. Other times, there is not so much positivity going on, with media houses and financial experts giving their verdicts on the future of the currency.
However, we have decided to go to the facts and figures behind the asset in itself. Away from media hype, away from any investment advice from financial experts, and simply just bringing relevant stats to your doorstep.
The keyword here is “relevant”. We have taken a systematic approach to deliver key figures that we believe are relevant to equip you with the necessary knowledge to help make informed investment decisions relating to Bitcoin. These stats can help answer questions surrounding whether or not Bitcoin is a worthy investment or simply a bubble soon to burst.
We lay the basic statistics before your feet and leave the ball in your court to make your decisions based on your own experiences, intuition, investment strategy and further analysis of Bitcoin.
General Bitcoin Statistics
1. The Number of Bitcoin Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) as of January 2021 was 14,915.
Bitcoin ATMs have significantly increased across the globe since 2015, with major manufacturers like Genesis Coin and General Bytes holding significant market shares. Ideally, these are not ATMs in the traditional sense of the acronym, seeing that they do not dispense cash. Instead, they are stationed machines connected to the Bitcoin network that allows individuals to conduct Bitcoin transactions (i.e. send and receive Bitcoins stored in their cryptocurrency wallets).
The United States still reports the highest number of Bitcoin ATMs with just over 11,000 units across the country as of August 2021 — accounting for roughly over 76% of the total number of Bitcoin ATMs available globally.
2. As of January 2021, there are 18.6 million Bitcoins in existence.
Unlike many other cryptocurrencies, the creator(s) of Bitcoin hardcoded the maximum number of Bitcoins that can ever be mined – 21 million BTC. The reason was simple. With a limited supply of Bitcoin and the exceedingly overwhelming demand we are seeing today, the crypto asset will remain valuable. This is one of two primary measures hardcoded into the Bitcoin protocol — the other being that block rewards are reduced by half after every 210,000 mined blocks.
These two measures help keep the asset scarce, consequently making it more valuable. As it stands, Bitcoin has reached just above 90% of this maximum supply after only 13 years of its existence. With its popularity and adoption still on the rise, there is no telling just how much the price might soar.
3. The first Bitcoin real-life purchase was for two pizzas, and it cost 10,000 BTC.
To be fair, no one knew what Bitcoin really was or was going to become in the early days of the cryptocurrency. However, this single pizza purchase has been dubbed the most expensive to date.
On May 22, 2010, Laszlo Hanyeczs made the first commercial purchase using Bitcoin for two pizza boxes from Papa John’s — an American pizza restaurant chain. At the time, Laszlo posted about this on bitcoin.org forums offering to pay 10,000 BTC for two boxes of large pizza, which costs about $40. Only just one year later, BTC’s USD price equalled $1, bringing the price of the pizza to $10,000.
May 22 has become the official Bitcoin pizza day, celebrating the first officially known Bitcoin commercial purchase. As of May 22, 2021 — the 11th anniversary of Bitcoin pizza day — the value of the purchase had reached $630 million as Bitcoin hit a new all-time high of $63,000.
4. Bitcoin alone accounts for $6 billion of daily online transactions.
Bitcoin’s dominance extends beyond the cryptocurrency industry as it is known to have reached a single-day high of transactions. While the entire global digital payments industry hit a record $6.6 trillion in 2021 (a 40% jump from the previous two years), daily Bitcoin transactions hit the 400,000 mark in the early days of 2021.
This makes for roughly about $6 billion of daily online transactions, bested only by Visa Card and MasterCard – hitting $30.3 billion and $16.2 billion, respectively.
(Source: News Logical)
5. There were 5,098 alternative cryptocurrencies in existence aside from Bitcoin as of 2020.
As we stated earlier, the Bitcoin blockchain has been largely considered limiting in its capabilities. While Bitcoin remains a trendsetter in the crypto industry today, many projects have sprung out, claiming to be a better alternative to the world’s leading crypto asset. Hence, the name, alternative coins (altcoins).
In theory, it is true that some of these blockchains are better and have additional functionalities than the Bitcoin blockchain. For example, the Ethereum blockchain offers beyond a simple payment network with its added smart contracts functionality. However, none has managed to top or replace Bitcoin as the world most valuable crypto asset.
A more recent study by Statista.com shows that the number of altcoins in existence is now closer to 10,000 as of Jan 2022.
6. 65% of cryptocurrency users are bitcoin owners.
According to Binance Research’s 2021 Global Crypto User Index, there has been a significant increase in confidence in cryptocurrency across the world. The report, which examines data from over 61,000 crypto users globally, discloses that retail investment in cryptocurrencies is growing significantly as more mainstream channels like Paypal now facilitate the purchase of some major cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin, however, continues to reign supreme as the report also states that 65% of crypto users hold Bitcoin, with 30% of owners admitting to 1-20% of their crypto portfolios allocated to Bitcoin.
(Source: Binance Research)
7. 67% of Millennials Look to Bitcoin as a Safe Haven Asset as Compared to Gold
In 2020, YahooFinance reported that Bitcoin already accounts for more than 3% of gold’s $9 trillion market cap in just a little over a decade of its existence. This may not be surprising when you consider that millennials are fast becoming a dominant part of the global world economy, especially in tech.
In a survey conducted by deVere, more than two-thirds of their millennial clients (67%) consider Bitcoin as a better safe-haven asset than gold. Again, this may not necessarily be surprising when you consider that many millennials were born into the internet age and tend to hold a higher level of trust in technology than older generations.
Bitcoin Adoption Statistics
8. Daily transactions for Bitcoin nearly reached the 400,000 mark in the first quarter of 2021.
As we stated above, Bitcoin hit a new high of about 400,000 transactions per day in the first quarter of 2021 — an offshoot of the global crypto adoption rate attaining an 880% increase.
This is even more impressive, considering that most economies were struggling to recover from the previous year of the pandemic. Although there is no clear correlation, the significant increase in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency adoption might be due to people looking for alternative forms of investment coming out of a previously tumultuous year filled with numerous uncertainties.
There are currently no signs of Bitcoin adoption slowing down, as some experts predict a rally above $100,000 in 2022.
9. Bitcoin remains the most popular cryptocurrency, with dominance hitting almost 43%
A single glance at the Bitcoin dominance history chart by Coinmarketcap, you will clearly find that the gap is narrower as other cryptocurrencies are fast picking up the pace. However, Bitcoin still maintains a 43% dominance in the total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies — a slip from almost 70% at the beginning of 2021.
Although this appears to be a massive sweep, the volatility of the crypto industry makes it an unpredictable market. The chart also shows that Bitcoin hit a 32% low in 2018, only to amass an additional 30% dominance just over a year later.
10. Tesla is the only member of the S&P 500 to announce the acquisition of Bitcoins
Tesla — the world’s leading electric automobile company, announced its investment in Bitcoin in early February 2021. Citing the purchase as an opportunity for more flexibility to further diversify and maximize the company’s return on cash, Tesla bought about $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoins — making it the only member of the S&P 500 to have disclosed its investment in Bitcoins.
The S&P 500 is a stock market index which tracks the performance of 500 of the largest companies listed on the U.S. stock exchange. Tesla’s CEO — Elon Musk — also took to Twitter to announce that the company would now accept Bitcoin as payment to purchase its vehicles — a move that saw the asset’s price surge to new heights following the announcements.
Bitcoin Statistics by Country
11. 79% of cryptocurrency owners in the U.K. have invested in Bitcoin.
As of mid-2021, an estimated 3.3 million Britons were known to hold cryptocurrency assets despite stern warnings from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) about the risks associated with crypto investments.
Beyond that, as reported by SkyNews, it was found that searches relating to “Cryptocurrency” and “Bitcoin” were becoming increasingly popular, with many U.K. adults seeing crypto as an alternative to conventional investment assets. Ultimately, upon closer examination, it was found that Bitcoin was the most popular cryptocurrency asset held by crypto investors in the U.K., followed closely by Ethereum.
12. China controls 60% of the world’s hash rate.
The Bitcoin blockchain network consists of miners distributed all across the globe, which offers a great deal of security to the network. Added to the security measure is a cryptographic function that requires miners to generate a hash for each transaction to be successfully added to previously existing blocks. Hence, hash rate refers to the speed at which miners can generate these hashes in a proof-of-work blockchain like Bitcoins’.
Although the government launched a crackdown on crypto mining businesses in the Chinese market in 2021, it still controls 60% of the world’s hash rate. This means that majority of transaction confirmations of Bitcoins are done in China.
13. Nigerians report the most common ownership and use of virtual currencies (32%), with the U.S. coming in 9th at 6%
Having only joined the cryptocurrency scene in 2015, some six years after major countries like the U.S., China, and Russia, Nigeria boast the third-highest Bitcoin trading volume worldwide. Only bested by U.S. and Russia, Bitcoin trading volume reached a staggering 400 million + in Nigeria alone of 2020.
However, no country is more open to the ownership of virtual currency than Nigeria, with 32% of respondents reporting using or owning cryptocurrency according to reports by YahooFinance.
Bitcoin Market Statistics
14. In Q1 of 2021, the market cap for Bitcoin was at $1072 billion.
Besides the increase in daily Bitcoin transactions in Q1 2021, the asset attained a new all-time high market cap of $1,072 billion — an additional $400 billion from the previous quarter.
Again, this is impressive considering the world was only beginning to find its footing following the Covid-19 outbreak.
15. Between 2012 and November 2021, Bitcoin has gained 311,914%
Taking a look at the price history of Bitcoin, it is evident the asset has enjoyed massive success over the years — a far cry from its valuation in 2009. However, the bulk of its drastic price increase has come after 2013, seeing a unit price increase from about $196 in October 2013 to roughly above $61,000 in October 2021 — an exact period of 8 years, making Bitcoin one of the best performing asset of the decade.
16. The total cryptocurrency market cap is $2.79 trillion, or equivalent to the 8th largest economy globally.
The total cryptocurrency market cap remains an ever-fluctuating figure, largely due to extreme volatility often fueled by media speculation and industry hype. Hence, this is not exactly true at the moment — it is even better.
At the time of this writing, the cryptocurrency total market cap sits at $1.98 trillion. And according to Investopedia’s rating of the top 10 economies in the world, the crypto market cap sits comfortably at 7th, besting Italy, South Korea and Canada.
17. Global market size of Bitcoin transactions surpassed 120 million
In 2020, the total number of digital payments globally surpassed 700 billion and with Bitcoin transactions constituting 120 million of those, making for a small percentage of global transactions.
Bitcoin Mining Statistics
18. It takes an average time of 10 minutes to verify a Bitcoin transaction.
Although this is a widely known fact amongst crypto users, the time it takes to verify a Bitcoin transaction may vary — sometimes taking as long as 30 minutes depending on a number of factors. Factors such as the network traffic and activity, hash rate and transaction fees are the primary causes of payment delay on the Bitcoin network.
This is one of the primary drawbacks of Bitcoin, and multiple scaling solutions have been developed to help alleviate such issues. A prominent one is the Lightning Network — a scaling solution which facilitates cheaper and faster micropayments by adding another layer on top of the Bitcoin blockchain.
19. Global mining income is $20,180,061,869 per year.
In 2021, Bitcoin mining generated over $15.3 billion in revenue — a rise of about 206% from the year before. However, if you take into consideration the network transaction fees, the figure rises further up to over $20.1 billion dollars in revenue.
This was in spite of a severe crackdown on mining operations in many countries, primarily in the Chinese market, as the concerns began to mount regarding the environmental impact of these activities.
20. The amount of carbon emissions resulting from mining Bitcoin is greater than all of New Zealand
If there have been any major pointers used to criticize the Bitcoin blockchain, it is the environmental concerns surrounding its creation process — mining. This has been the major talking point amongst Bitcoin critics, and even some of the assets’ major supporters, like Elon Musk, turn their backs on this aspect of the cryptocurrency.
As we mentioned earlier, Bitcoin mining operations are energy-intensive, and several reports have been released putting into perspective its environmental impact. As of Feb 2021, it was reported that the global bitcoin mining operation produces 36.95 megatons of CO2 annually, slightly shadowing that of New Zealand.
(Source: N.Y. Times)
21. Annual electricity costs on Bitcoin mining are $4,466,697,344
Assuming a global fixed rate of $0.05 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), over $4.45 billion gets spent on electricity costs for Bitcoin.
How Is the Bitcoin network secured?
The Bitcoin network is secured through its underlying blockchain technology (a distributed network of computers) and its consensus mechanism known as Proof of Work (PoW) which mandates solving complex cryptographic puzzles.
For a hacker to be successful, they need to have enough computational power to take over 51% of the entire network.
Is Bitcoin mining profitable?
This depends on a number of factors — largely the cost of purchasing, maintaining and operating mining equipment.
With the current Bitcoin reward standing at 6.25 bitcoins per block plus network transaction fees, the profitability of Bitcoin mining primarily depends on what is left after subtracting the cost of the factors named above.
How much Bitcoin is in circulation?
As of the time of this writing, there are 18,954,618 BTC in circulation, according to Coinmarketcap.
Who are the founders of Bitcoin?
The only fact about the creator of Bitcoin is that they bear a pseudonymous name — Satoshi Nakamoto.
While many cryptographers have attempted to take credit for the creation of Bitcoin, there has been no convincing proof of anyone being the actual creator of the world’s leading cryptocurrency.