Bitcoin user adoption looks to be gathering pace as its price rises amid a coronavirus-induced rush for assets with safe-haven appeal.

  • The number of bitcoin addresses holding at least $10-worth of cryptocurrency recently rose to a record high of 16.6 million, according to data source Coin Metrics
  • That number is now up 14% from the previous peak of 14.5 million reached in January 2018, soon after the cryptocurrency's all-time price high of $20,000. 
  • Essentially, there are now more addresses with a small balance than were seen at the height of the previous bull market.
  • The data suggests "a new bitcoin adoption cycle is brewing,” according to Lucas Nuzzi, network data product manager at crypto data provider Coin Metrics.
  • Address growth is not a precise indicator of bitcoin's user base because a single individual or entity can hold multiple addresses. 
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Bitcoin addresses with balance of at least $10.
Source: Coin Metrics
  • Adoption has gone up by 27% in the 4.5 months since the major crash in mid-March. 
  • Bitcoin’s price has rallied by over 200% during the same period, and is up 64% year to date. 
  • Relatively scarce assets like bitcoin and gold seem to have benefited from fears of a dwindling U.S. dollar and the inflation-boosting policies of central banks and governments.

Looking ahead

  • Some analysts expect bitcoin’s price to challenge record highs by the end of December.
  • Continued price gains could have an exponential effect on user growth as FOMO (fear of missing out) hits consumers.
  • Bitcoin may have a tough time scaling $12,000 in the short run if traders and crypto miners take advantage of the recent price rise and liquidate holdings.
  • As per Chainalysis Market Intel, 230,000 BTC (worth around $2.6 billion) with an on-paper profit of 25% or more were sent to exchanges last week.
  • It's not known whether, or how many of, these coins were liquidated during Sunday’s sell-off.
  • Bitcoin is trading near $11,700 at press time, representing a 0.5% drop on the day.

Correction (13:10 UTC, Aug. 8, 2020): An earlier version of this article erroneously stated Lucas Nuzzi was from Messari. This has been corrected.

Also read: Bitcoin Price Rises 3% as Gold Trades Above $2K for First Time

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