It’s already past the halfway mark in 2015 and we thought it would be a good time to provide an overview of the trends that we’re seeing in Bitcoin this year. While the price of bitcoin is down 9% year-to-date, if you look below the surface it is clear that Bitcoin had a strong first half and is making great strides as digital money for people around the world and a payment network for innovation.
While the price is down 9% YTD (as of July 13), it’s up over 213% over a two year time frame. It appears the price has now stabilized in the wake of bitcoin’s third bubble, after the price increased 50x in 2013.
At the same time, several major exchanges (including Coinbase Exchange) launched in the U.S and the infrastructure required to buy, sell and store bitcoin has improved significantly. This has attracted more institutional investors to the market and volatility has decreased as a result.
Number of wallets
People around the world are increasingly adopting bitcoin as digital money. There are now somewhere between 5 and 10 million bitcoin wallet holders around the world, with 2.4M users and 3.1M wallets on Coinbase.
Number of transactions
The number of transactions per day on the Bitcoin network is rapidly accelerating. The network averaged 60,590 transactions per day in June 2014 and 117,474 transactions per day in June 2015. (Note that this does not include the recent spikes due to load testing and spam on the network.) That’s a 94% increase in monthly transactions over the past year.
The global nature of bitcoin is one of its most unique characteristics and the Coinbase user base is rapidly accelerating outside the U.S.. We support bitcoin wallets in over 190 countries, buy/sell functionality in 25 countries, and mobile and web translations in 7 different languages. As a result of our international expansion work, 47% of Coinbase wallet holders are now from countries outside the US. Hong Kong, Tanzania, Philippines, Romania and Algeria were the countries that experienced the most user growth in the first half of 2015.
*Of countries that had more than 1,000 users as of 12/31/2014*
We’ve seen increased diversity not just in the location of users but also the age of users. It’s no secret that Bitcoin is known for being dominated by young, tech-savvy, early adopters. We’re increasingly seeing interest from people over the age of 35 though and now roughly 34% of Coinbase users are over 35.
The developer ecosystem in Bitcoin has also grown significantly in the first half of 2015. There are now more than 7,000 applications built by developers on Coinbase and we’ve seen a number of apps gain significant traction with Coinbase users thus far this year, including ChangeTip, Lawnmower, and Zapchain. See our app gallery for a larger list of Coinbase Apps.
In addition to the apps we’re seeing Coinbase users adopt, we’ve also seen a number of promising Bitcoin companies recently launch either public or private beta products. In the past six months, the most exciting projects that come to mind are: 21, Abra, Blockstream, Streamium and Augur.
Bitcoin has also been added by many of the most innovative payment service providers in the world this year, such as Stripe and Braintree, and the smartest developers in the world continue to build with it.
As of June 30, there were 6,109 Github repositories referencing Bitcoin. By comparison, there were 2,318 repositories referencing Paypal.
What to expect for the second half of 2015 and beyond?
While the short term price of bitcoin may be unpredictable, we believe that the long term trends for Bitcoin are quite positive. As global events that highlight the restrictions of closed banking systems and insecure data security practices (e.g. the Greece debt crisis and recent United States Office of Personnel Management data breach) continue to occur, we believe that bitcoin is likely to be adopted by more people looking for digital money that is global, secure, and inclusive. Moreover, as talented developers build payments applications that enable behaviors that weren’t possible before a decentralized, global payments platform existed, it’s likely that Bitcoin as a payment network for innovation will continue to flourish as well.