cryptocurrency active users

A new report by the University of Cambridge concludes that millions of new cryptocurrency users entered the space in 2018. However, only 38% are considered active.

The study collected data from 180 blockchain companies including exchanges, wallets, payment providers, and miners.

There are now 139 million cryptocurrency user accounts across the various service providers, with at least 35 million identity-verified users, double the number from 2017. This is likely due to the rapid implementation of KYC (know your customer) checks which require selfie identification before registering.

Cryptocurrency users

“Most remain passive”

Although the growth of cryptocurrency users is impressive, especially in the prolonged market downturn, most are not active users.

The study points to just 38% of active accounts. It implies that most cryptocurrency users are either holding for the long term or have become disengaged with the platform. 

However, user activity is difficult to pinpoint because “the criteria for determining the level of user activity vary significantly from one service provider to another.” Some platforms record weekly logins while others track monthly logins.

Slower Growth in 2018

As you might expect in a year where cryptocurrencies have lost 85% of their value, firms saw slower user growth in 2018. 

The average firm saw a 535% user growth rate in 2017 compared to 161% in 2018 so far. We should also point out that the vast majority of users are individuals, not businesses. 

“Individuals can be hobbyists, retail investors, consumers, or users seeking a better investment or payment alternative.”

Conservative estimates

The authors also point out that its figures are on the conservative side: “we believe that the figures represent the lower-bound of the global cryptoasset unique user base.”

The study goes on to conclude that cryptocurrency mining is less centralized than initially thought, citing rapid growth in the USA and Canada, and that firms are increasingly self-regulating, adopting regulations even when they are not necessarily required to do so.

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gemini app 2

Having built one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges on the planet, the Winklevoss Twins are turning to mobile with the launch of the Gemini app.

The app will allow users to buy and sell cryptocurrency, view market prices, and set alerts. There’s also a neat “Buy the Cryptoverse” function to purchase a basket of cryptocurrencies all at once, much like buying an index fund.

The design is slick and minimal in a bid to broaden the appeal of cryptocurrency, removing much of the chaos and clutter of competing exchanges. It will also integrate Gemini’s “institutional-grade security.”

The Winklevoss Twins are among the few bitcoin billionaires and are reported to own more than 1% of the total bitcoin supply. They launched the Gemini exchange in 2014 with a view to creating a secure, mainstream outlet for purchasing cryptocurrency.

Gemini made headlines earlier this year when it secured full insurance coverage for its exchange and custody services.

Meanwhile, the Winklevoss Twins have put forth numerous bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposals, but have been knocked back repeatedly by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Speaking about the new Gemini app, Tyler Winklevoss said: 

“We spent the last three years building the world’s most trusted cryptocurrency platform and today we are excited to extend it into your hands and allow you to engage with cryptocurrency wherever you are and whenever you want.”

The app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

QuadrigaCX is a Vancouver, Canada based cryptocurrency exchange that hosts ten trading pairs. It finds itself at number 20 on BlockExplorer’s top 25 cryptocurrency exchanges of 2017 list.

QuadrigaCX is well equipped for any traders looking to trade with CAD. There are a large number of options for both CAD and USD deposit and withdrawal. QuadrigaCX offers an API for programmatic trading. As such, it is recommended for any level of Canadian trader looking for a local exchange.

QuadrigaCX

quadrigacx cryptoURL: www.quadrigacx.com
Launched: 2013
Trading pairs: 10
Deposit Fees: Yes (Not for crypto)
Withdrawal Fees: Yes (Not for crypto)
Trading fees: Yes 0.2% – 0.5%
Verification: Yes, two levels
Margin Trading: No

Registration

Registering on QuadrigaCX is a single step process that requires an email address, your first and last name, and a PIN that will be used when making transactions.

Verification

There are two methods of acquiring verification on QuadrigaCX. It is recommended you complete both, as some of the fiat funding methods available require you to have completed a specific verification method.

The first verification method is to upload a copy of your ID and a proof of residence. And the second asks you questions about your credit information, provided by Equifax.

Fees

QuadrigaCX does not use the usual maker/taker scheme for its fees. Instead, QuadrigaCX has flat fees for trading pairs. Specifically, 0.5% for BTC/CAD, BTC/USD, ETH/CAD, LTC/CAD, BCH/CAD and BTG/CAD, and 0.2% for ETH/BTC, LTC/BTC, BCH/BTC and BTG/BTC.

For deposits and withdrawals, QuadrigaCX charges no fees for crypto or most fiat, with only CAD having fees for some methods. You can see an overview of the fees on QuadrigaCX’s funding page. There are very small minimum limits on crypto deposit and withdrawal, while fiat has both minimums and maximums that change depending on the deposit or withdrawal method used.

Interface

The interface QuadrigaCX provides is an off-white with muted colors. While there is, unfortunately, no dark mode available, the off-white background with muted colors is not as overly bright as some other exchanges.

At the top of the page, you will find information about the currently selected trading pair, a place to select trading pairs and your current balances.

The trading interface is broken into tabs, and unfortunately, there is no way to get a chart, an order book, and an order submission form on the same page. All of the tabs have a vertical design, which leaves a substantial amount of dead space on either side of the interface. Overall, while the trading interface does provide enough information, it could be laid out more efficiently.

Security

QuadrigaCX has excellent security practices. When making any transaction, you are required to enter an additional pin for confirmation. The login page is protected from replay attacks by way of a timeout. You can secure your account with Two Factor Authentication, which can be either email based or Google Authenticator based. And to top it all off, you can have all email sent to you from QuadrigaCX encrypted with your PGP key.

Some ambiguous wording during the registration process implies that you will be emailed both your password and transaction pin. The resulting email does not contain any sensitive information other than your client ID.

Founded in 2014 by the creators of aftermarket.pl, BitMarket is a Polish cryptocurrency exchange that finds itself at number 18 on BlockExplorer’s top 25 cryptocurrency exchanges of 2017 list. This exchange offers 6 trading pairs, all of which are crypto/fiat.

BitMarket has some moderate activity, with almost 100 BTC traded in a single day on its BTC/PLN trading pair. It is recommended for all polish traders, especially those looking for a mid-volume market with a robust API for programmatic trading.

 

BitMarket

bitmarket cryptoURL: BitMarket.net

Launched: 2014

Trading pairs: 6, all fiat/crypto

Deposit Fees: Yes

Withdrawal Fees: Yes

Trading fees: Yes 0.0% – 0.45%

Verification: Yes, three levels

Margin Trading: Yes

Registration

Registration on BitMarket requires a first and last name, an email address, a password, and a current physical address. Once the information is filled out, there are four checkboxes that are required, one of which links to a document that seems to only be available in polish.

Verification

BitMarket has three verification levels, none of which are required unless you want to deposit or withdraw fiat, or are trading more than 15000 EUR in a year.

Verification level one is the simplest to acquire. You are required to send BitMarket a scanned ID that states your current address, or a scanned ID and some proof of residence. For level two, a verification code is sent to your stated address via post. The last verification level is required if you wish to use instant bank transfers to fund your account. Each bank account you want to transfer from has to be verified individually by way of a 1 PLN transfer to BitMarket.

Fees

BitMarket uses the usual Maker/Taker scheme that most exchanges use to structure their trading fees. Specifically, BitMarket bases its fees off of your last 30 days of trading. BitMarket does not state exactly when your current fee bracket is updated. On the low end, makers pay 0.15% for between 0 and 99.99 EUR traded, while takers pay 0.45 for the same. For the high end, over 500,000, makers pay no fees, and takers pay a fee of 0.30%. Margin trades follow the same fees above, with opening a position taking the maker’s fee, and closing a position taking the takers fee. After opening, margin trades pay a daily fee outlined on BitMarket’s fees page

For deposit and withdrawal, the fees you pay depend on the currency and the method of transfer. Cryptocurrencies have no deposit fees and have a small withdrawal fee. For fiat deposit, there is no fee for PLN, while EUR deposits cost between 2 and 5 EUR. Both PLN and EUR pay withdrawal fees, PLN ranging from 2 PLN to 20 PLN, while EUR is a flat 2 EUR.

Limits are set at 100,000,000 PLN or equivalent daily on deposits, aside from cryptocurrencies. And there is a limit of 100,000,000 or equivalent daily for withdrawal on all currencies.

Interface

BitMarket’s interface overall is a very bright white with green and blue accents. There is no dark mode available, meaning that late night trading could be a source of eye strain.

The trading interface feels quite simplistic, with a chart, order submission, order book, and trade history all stacked vertically. The chart itself while informative feels sluggish when changing settings, and overall seems somewhat blurred.

Security

BitMarket seems to have some very trigger happy bot protection in the form of a captcha via Cloudflare. I found myself solving one at least once every three page loads. Otherwise, BitMarket offers Two Factor Authentication by way of Google Authenticator.

HitBTC is a Chicago based cryptocurrency exchange founded in 2014 and is #12 on BlockExplorer’s top 25 exchanges of 2017 list.

HitBTC supports a huge number of trading pairs, with high amounts of activity on most of them. All of the trading pairs on HitBTC are crypto/crypto and offers an API for programmatic trading.

HitBTC is recommended for mid to large scale traders looking for a high activity exchange.

HitBTC

hitbtc cryptoURL: hitbtc.com
Total trading pairs: 273
Deposit fees: Yes, for some currencies
Withdrawal fees: Yes
Trading fees: Yes, -0.01% – 0.1%
Verification: Yes, but unneeded

Registration

Registration is exquisitely simple, requiring only an email and password. After submitting the registration form, you will receive an email with a confirmation link.

Fees

HitBTC breaks its trading fees into the usual maker/taker model. Where takers pay a fee of 0.1% on all trades, makers receive a fee of -0.01%, meaning makers receive additional currency when making trades. Otherwise, fees for deposit and withdrawal are set per currency and can be seen on the wallet page.

Interface

HitBTC’s interface is highly configurable. While defaulting to a day mode with bright colors, it has a night mode with darker colors. The main exchange page has plenty of information presented in an organized manner. On the main page there is a chart of the currently selected pair, a method of switching trading pairs, buy/sell order forms, an order book, a small chat window, and a list of your current active orders. On the top right of the page is your current balances that are relevant to the currently selected trading pair, alongside their estimated worth in BTC and USDT

The chart can be switched between HitBTC’s chart and a chart generated by TradingView. The TradingView chart is more configurable, but it does not follow your configured theme, so you may find it to be extremely bright if you switch to it during a late night trading session. Otherwise, the entire layout of the trading page can be changed to your personal preference.

Verification

At the time of writing, verification was unnecessary to do any sort of trading, and unverified accounts had the “general” designation. The language around the verification page seemed to indicate that this would change at some point in the future. The “General” verification level is given to all new accounts and has no withdrawal or deposit limits.

Getting verified is a single step process where you email a large amount of personal information to HitBTC’s compliance department. The personal information required is as follows:

  • Full name
  • Date of Birth
  • Country of birth
  • Address
  • Bank account information
  • Government ID
  • Proof of residence
  • Proof of bank account ownership

After sending your email, verification should take between three and five working days.

Security

HitBTC pays attention to security features, passwords have no length limits. You can configure automatic logout after a set amount of time, and to go with that, you can log out all active sessions.