The bitcoin wallet space has been infused with hundreds of millions of venture capital dollars creating a very competitive space alongside bitcoin exchanges, where there is certainly some overlap between the two creating “hybrid” services. Well known startups for example are Coinbase and Circle, both in the U.S. who are both wallets and exchanges/brokers (buying and selling of bitcoins).
The influx of investors, new bitcoin enthusiasts, developers, and so on has created a new frontier where just like with bitcoin exchanges, we are seeing a rise in bitcoin wallet services. However, services that are standalone wallets are quickly becoming the dinosaurs in the space, and the movers and shakers are the ones who are becoming universal wallets – services that are hybrids – who provide multiple services such as buying, selling, storing bitcoins, searching the blockchain, in addition to new features that we are seeing such as bitcoin credit and debit cards, developer software services, merchant services, and more.
Number of bitcoin wallets
By our estimate the total number of bitcoin wallets is currently over 12 million, and more than likely the total well exceeds this number already. Let’s elaborate further.
Currently we are monitoring 75+ bitcoin wallets on the market, from the unknown to the well known venture backed startups. We went through all the popular and semi-popular bitcoin wallets with an active user-base and began to do a data dive. In total, we ended up looking at 23 bitcoin wallet startups, and here is what we found.
Using publicly sourced information, we went through each provider’s wallet stats and charted them, which you can see above.
There are some wallet providers who do not publish any wallet stats, so we were unable to ascertain any usage stats for them. We did reach out to several wallet providers who do not publish stats or who we could not publicly source any data for, asking for data. If we received a response back, we included it in the chart data.
For the wallet providers who do publish stats publicly, we used those stats. For wallets that have Android wallets, we used the median number of Android wallet installs in the Google Play store. For wallet providers that also have Apple iOS apps, we included those numbers into the chart as well.
We erred on the side of caution with all of our numbers trying to be as conservative as possible. For Apple iOS we took only one-third the volume of Android wallet user installs and applied them to iOS numbers since Apple doesn’t publish app statistics. We believe this number to be reasonable since Apple is a dominant player in the mobile space and chances are the numbers are actually much higher.
Here are some of the sample numbers from the chart:
- Blockchain: 4.57mm wallets
- Coinbase: 4.1mm wallets
- Multibit: 1.51mm wallets
- Schildbach: 750k wallets
- Xapo: 399k wallets
- Mycelium: 285k wallets
- Armory: 68k wallets
It’s important to note, that we are being cautious with our stats, and this is why we believe that the total number of bitcoin wallets is much higher than 12 million currently. In addition, some of these publicly sourced data points are outdated, such as Multibit. We presume that Multibit has a much higher count than 1.5 million, but we know confidently that 1.5 million users have downloaded their wallet, so we didn’t want to inflate their numbers with wild guesses, and we used 1.5 million as the baseline when it’s more than likely much more.
To reiterate, we only took partial data from 23 bitcoin wallets. Imagine if we sourced data from the entire bitcoin wallet space. The numbers would emphatically be much higher.
Does the number of wallets even matter?
Knowing how many people have downloaded and installed a bitcoin wallet is an important user metric. Without it, a service provider is unable to know if people are actually using their product. For anyone to think otherwise would be nonsensical. However, a user could create a wallet and may only use it once and then stop, thus becoming an inactive user. Possibly some users can create multiple wallets per user account, inflating numbers (which by the way is harder to do on mobile devices versus web wallets). This conundrum throws a wrench into the number of wallets metric, but doesn’t throw the data point out of the window completely. It just needs to be relative to other points of data.
Another metric to briefly look at since wallets don’t always publish stats is their web analytics to see how many unique visitors are actually taking interest to visit their website. If we can look at how much a wallet providers website traffic has, we can glean from web analytics and wallet downloads how popular the wallet may be.
Of the 23 wallets, we sampled 12 wallets with the highest amounts of web traffic and charted them below. Here is what we found.
The web traffic numbers don’t always correlate to the wallet numbers, but there are some similarities. For example, Coinbase is a popular wallet in the U.S. with both a high number of wallets and high web traffic. Blockchain also has a high number of wallets and web traffic, but they also run the most popular blockchain explorer so their web traffic is much higher than other websites. This also makes sense for Blocktrail, who has a lower count of wallets but a higher count of web traffic because of their blockchain explorer.
Here are some of the sample numbers from the chart (past 6 months):
- Blockchain: 4.6mm visits
- Coinbase: 2.8mm visits
- Xapo: 890k visits
- Circle: 360k visits
- Blocktrail: 110k visits
- BitGo: 95k visits
Who has the most skin in the game
If there is a unit of measure for success, it may be with venture capital. We know that if there is a startup with millions of dollars in backing, that they are going to have a much bigger on-ramp to build and develop their platform and user-base, which will give them light years of a head start over companies with no capital.
Of the wallets we sampled, we pulled out the biggest players with the most venture funding. In total, there is over $300mm in funding.
Here are the top five wallets with the most funding:
- Coinbase: $106mm in funding
- Circle: $76mm in funding
- Xapo: $40mm in funding
- Blockchain: $30mm in funding
- Copay (Bitpay): $32.5mm in funding
With the amount of funding that some of these wallet companies have received, you can see that the companies with large amounts of capital also have the most wallet downloads and web traffic. There may be several reasons for this, including bigger marketing budgets but also, venture capital brings reputation and confidence to a company, which is what consumers want when dealing with their finances.