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Crypto Users Nearly Doubled in 2018 Despite Market Downturn

Distributed Summary:

  • A University of Cambridge study has found that active crypto users grew to 35 million this year
  • Only 38 percent of all crypto accounts are “active,” as defined by the study
  • +37 percent of crypto companies now support multiple coins; +164 percent people employed in crypto

According to a study from the University of Cambridge's Centre for Alternative Finance, the number of people using cryptocurrency doubled in 2018, despite the steady decline in value of most cryptocurrencies this year.

Growing Account Activity

The study’s most interesting finding was that the total number of “active” cryptocurrency accounts doubled in the first three quarters of 2018.

The researchers noted that defining what constitutes an “active” cryptocurrency account can vary because the report studied crypto accounts on a variety of platforms and users interact with those platforms in different ways. But, in general, the report defined active accounts as those that were logged into at least once a week, or performed other actions — such as withdrawals or deposits — at least once a month.

The total number of active crypto accounts in 2018 represented only 38 percent of all crypto accounts in existence. However, that figure reflects a slight increase in user activity since 2017, when only 37 percent of the total accounts in existence at the time were considered active, according to the study.

Lest crypto advocates become too excited, the researchers found a fourfold increase in the total number of active crypto accounts during 2017, compared with only a twofold increase during the first three quarters of 2018. So, the rate of new active account creation is slowing, even though total numbers continue to grow.

Still, it’s noteworthy that total active accounts continued to grow at all during a period when most cryptocurrencies lost value. The value of bitcoin, for instance, has declined by nearly 80 percent since the start of 2018. Most other cryptocurrencies have followed similar trajectories.

Other Findings

The report presented several other notable findings as well, including the following:

  • Eighty-four percent of crypto companies studied now support multiple coins, up from 47 percent last year.
  • Crypto mining operations are more geographically dispersed than many people think, and Canada and the U.S. are seeing especially high rates of mining growth.
  • A growing number of crypto companies are undertaking efforts to comply with regulatory laws proactively, even if regulators are not actively working to impose requirements on them.
  • The number of people employed in the crypto industry continues to grow, with a 164 percent increase during 2017.
  • A majority of crypto companies serve users who live in the same geographic area where the companies are based. This finding suggests that, despite the border-agnostic nature of crypto and regulatory concerns in certain countries, crypto companies remain more focused on serving local or national bases of customers than on trying to cater to the global community.
  • The total value of crypto assets stolen to date amounts to $1.5 billion.

As for future predictions, the researchers suggest that stablecoins, off-chain payment networks like Bitcoin’s Lightning Network and multi-coin support will prove important areas of focus for crypto businesses in 2019.

Browser Extension Lets Users Shop on Amazon With Lightning Network

Source: CoinDesk

The crypto payment processor Moon has announced that users can now leverage a Lightning Network wallet to pay for Amazon purchases through its browser extension. The extension also enables e-commerce payments with litecoin, ether and bitcoin cash through Coinbase accounts.

FinCEN Takes First-Ever Enforcement Action Against Cryptocurrency Trader

Source: FinCEN

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has assessed a civil money penalty against a peer-to-peer bitcoin trader for violating anti-money laundering (AML) regulations, its first enforcement action against a cryptocurrency exchanger. According to the agency, the exchanger failed to register as a money services business and failed to report "suspicious transactions," among other violations. The exchanger has been assessed a $35,000 fine and is now prohibited from providing money transmission services.

2019 Investments in Crypto and Blockchain Startups at $850 Million

Source: Reuters

According to data compiled by Pitchbook for Reuters, venture capital investment in crypto and blockchain startups has reached $850 million so far this year.

EEA Launches 'Token Taxonomy Initiative'

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance has announced a "Token Taxonomy Initiative" to develop universal definitions for tokens to encourage their interchangeability across blockchain platforms. Members of the initiative include Microsoft, R3, ConsenSys, IBM, EY, Accenture and Intel.