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Crypto usage grew 34% in 2023; Bitcoin, Ethereum major catalysts


Defi activity on Bitcoin and Ethereum’s technological upgrade after the merge propelled global crypto usage above 500 million, a Crypto.com report said. 

According to the crypto exchange, cryptocurrency holders or users increased from 432 million to around 580 million worldwide, marking a 34% growth in 12 months following breakthroughs on the two largest blockchains. 

The number of Bitcoin (BTC) participants expanded by some 33%, rising from 222 million at the start of last year to nearly 300 million by December. Per the report, BTC’s adoption exploded primarily because of institutional interest and the coming of spot BTC ETFs from issuers like BlackRock.

Spot BTC ETFs received the green light on Jan. 10 and saw billions in trading volume in the first week after trading opened.

Additionally, the rise of inscriptions and ordinals reinforced on-chain activity on crypto’s largest decentralized network. Inscriptions allow users to create assets akin to Ethereum NFTs and ERC-20 tokens on Bitcoin’s blockchain.

BRC-20 tokens, as they are called, drew demand and scrutiny alike after debuting in the first half of 2023. CoinGecko tags this category as a $2.7 billion market, with speculators predicting further market cap appreciation during the year.

Conversely, developers questioned the new narrative, arguing that inscriptions are a bug, and even reported Bitcoin Ordinals to U.S. authorities.

Ethereum (ETH), crypto’s second-largest network and asset, saw its ownership ascend from 89 million to 124 million. This 39% increase accounted for an estimated 21% of global owners. The Shanghai upgrade, which unlocked staked Ether and allowed withdrawals, is a major factor attributed to this growth. 

The update was pivotal following Ethereum’s transition from its former proof-of-work model to a proof-of-stake design in the network’s largest technological overhaul. Ethereum’s next upgrade, Dencun is already in its testing phase and recently deployed on the Georli testnet.

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