The latest 2nd Global Cryptoasset Benchmarking Study conducted by Cambridge University’s Centre for Alternative Finance has revealed that 2018 saw the number of cryptocurrency users nearly double in number.
The Cryptoasset Benchmarking Study is an in-depth study carried out by the Judge Business School, a subsidiary of Cambridge University in the UK.
The report revealed that the numbers of verified users rose from 18 million in January 2018 to 35 million in December. Individual accounts at the time of the release of the report had risen to a record 150 million, although indications are that only 38% of these accounts are considered active according to some exchanges’ definitions and criteria.
More users, more multi-coin support, more market integration
The increase is significant and does offer the industry some Christmas cheer given Bitcoin’s tumultuous annus horribilus, seeing it lose 80% of its value since last December. The report also indicates that multi-coin support is expanding which, at the end of 2017, was the staple of 47% of all service providers.
This has also seen a significant rise in numbers in 2018 as some 84% of providers are now supporting a range of cryptocurrencies. The development of common trading standards introduced largely through the development of Ethereum’s ERC-20 has been cited as having a pivotal role in the increase of these altcoin numbers, including forks and airdrops.
The cross-segment expansion observed in 2017 has continued: 57% of crypto asset service providers are now operating across at least two market segments to provide integrated services for their customers, compared to 31% in early 2017.
Miners embrace sustainable energy
An encouraging revelation from the report is that mining companies are listening to calls from governmental environment agencies to embrace renewable energy resources. Coinshares, crypto assets research and investment firm, listed on Stockholm’s NASDAQ/OMX exchange, conducted a survey recently in answer to critics’ continued arguments that Bitcoin mining is essentially an environmentally harmful activity due to its extreme use of electricity.
That report targeted China’s influence, as representing 60% of the world’s Bitcoin mining activity, and that measures where being taken to reduce impact by moving to renewables such as solar. The Chinese program of “curtailment”, largely conducted in regions where most Bitcoin mining takes place, was drawing companies to areas where renewable energy such as solar was being utilized.
The Cambridge report indicated that the majority of identified mining facilities use some share of renewable energy sources and that mining is less concentrated that some critics are maintaining, a fact which conflicts somewhat with the aforementioned Coinshares report. The new report indicates a more global distribution with operations now expanding to the USA and Canada.
The report indicated that exchanges were increasingly self-regulating in line with state regulators guidelines, demonstrating the degree to which the industry had matured over the past 12 months.
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