How Many People Own Bitcoin in 2024? A Small Business Consultant‘s Perspective

As a consultant who advises small businesses on adopting new technologies, one question I get asked frequently is: how many people actually own bitcoin?

This is an important question for small business owners looking to accept bitcoin as payment, or even invest in it themselves. Understanding bitcoin ownership demographics can provide valuable insights.

In this article, we‘ll explore the data on global bitcoin ownership rates and trends. Keep reading for an in-depth analysis from my perspective as a small business technology consultant.

The Challenge of Measuring Bitcoin‘s User Base

Calculating bitcoin‘s total user base is tricky for several reasons:

  • Bitcoin addresses are pseudonymous, not directly tied to identities
  • Many bitcoin owners create multiple addresses or wallets
  • centralized exchanges hold bitcoin on behalf of millions of users
  • some bitcoin has been permanently lost or inactive for years

With these caveats in mind, we have to rely on estimates based on available blockchain data. Here are some of the best current estimates:

Source Methodology Est. Total Bitcoin Owners
Cambridge Study 2021 Analyzed active BTC addresses 25-50 million
Exchanges Accounts on major exchanges >200 million
Surveys Global crypto ownership surveys >100 million
Percent of Population Based on above data 1-5%

Table showing sources and estimates for global bitcoin ownership.

Based on these sources, it‘s clear tens of millions worldwide own at least some bitcoin today. Total ownership likely ranges from 50 to 200 million people globally.

Bitcoin Usage Still Lags Behind Total Owners

However, the number who actively use bitcoin on a regular basis is much lower than total owners – likely in the hundreds of thousands globally:

  • Only 400k-800k bitcoin addresses transact each day
  • Daily bitcoin transactions range from 150k-400k

Many owners treat bitcoin as an investment asset rather than a payment method. The industry needs to incentivize and facilitate greater usage to unlock bitcoin‘s full potential.

As a small business consultant, I always emphasize concrete use cases to clients. For bitcoin to become a mainstream payment method, more businesses need to actually accept it for payments.

Demographic Trends in Bitcoin Adoption

Bitcoin ownership varies widely depending on country and demographic factors like age, income, and gender.

For example, in the U.S. 43% of adults age 18-39 own crypto, compared to only 16% of all adults. And awareness differs across countries:

  • 93% are aware in UK
  • 90% in U.S.
  • 88% in Japan
  • 66% in Europe

Younger and more affluent demographics tend to adopt bitcoin first. However, less than 10% own bitcoin in most countries, signaling there is still vast room for growth globally.

The Path Ahead for Bitcoin Adoption

While only 1-5% of the global population owns bitcoin today, we‘re still in the early stages of adoption. As awareness spreads, bitcoin should continue making inroads across new demographics and regions.

For small business owners, it‘s worth being cognizant of bitcoin‘s current limited usage. While accepting bitcoin as payment may generate buzz, it may not deliver significant transaction volume yet. Monitoring ownership trends in your region can help determine if bitcoin-accepting makes business sense today.

In summary, bitcoin ownership has grown impressively but remains niche. Tens of millions own at least some, but active usage is more limited. As bitcoin evolves and delivers more practical benefits, both ownership and usage appear primed for steady growth.