Is Bitcoin really growing faster than the internet?

June 21, 2024
Nigel Green

BITCOIN'S growth continues to be a topic of much discussion, with many proponents claiming that its adoption rate is outpacing even that of the internet during its early years.

This assertion is backed by several compelling statistics and trends, painting a bullish picture for the future of Bitcoin.

One of the primary indicators of Bitcoin’s rapid growth is its user base. As of 2024, the number of Bitcoin users is projected to reach approximately 200 million.

To put this in perspective, the internet had around 500 million users in its first two decades. In contrast, Bitcoin is on track to reach 1 billion users within the same timeframe.

This comparison highlights the exponential growth rate of Bitcoin, which has seen its user base expand from around 35 million in2018 to over 200 million this year.

The crypto’s market capitalisation has alsoexperienced a meteoric rise. In 2013, Bitcoin's market cap was a modest $1billion.

By 2021, it had surpassed $1 trillion, achieving this milestone faster than many major tech companies like Google and Amazon.

For context, it took Apple 42 years to reach a $1 trillion market cap, whereas Bitcoin accomplished this in just 12 years. This rapid increase underscores the growing confidence and investment in Bitcoin as a store of value and medium of exchange.

The Bitcoin network’s transaction volume is another testament to its impressive growth. In 2020, Bitcoin’s annual transaction volume exceeded $3 trillion, up from $1 trillion in 2017.

The network now processes more transactions per second than ever before, reflecting a robust and expanding user base. Additionally, the number of Bitcoin addresses holding at least 0.1 BTC has been steadily increasing, and is now at an all-time high, indicating growing user engagement and investment.

Institutional adoption has played a significant role in crypto’s rapid growth. Major financial institutions, hedge funds, and publicly traded companies are now incorporating Bitcoin into their portfolios.

Notable examples include MicroStrategy, whose CEO Michael Saylor announced the company has acquired an additional 11,931 BTC for around $786m. Today it is reported that the firm owns 226,331 Bitcoins as of May 1, 2024.

Technological innovations are crucial to Bitcoin’s scalability and usability. The development of the Lightning Network, a layer-2solution, has significantly enhanced Bitcoin's transaction speed and reduced costs.

This advancement makes the crypto more viable for everyday use, from microtransactions to larger purchases. Plus, improvements in blockchain technology and increased cybersecurity measures have bolstered user confidence in the safety and reliability of Bitcoin transactions.

Bitcoin’s decentralized nature and global reach are key factors driving its rapid adoption. Unlike the internet, which faced initial infrastructure and accessibility challenges, Bitcoin is accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

This universal access is particularly impactful in regions with underdeveloped financial systems. Bitcoin offers a viable alternative for individuals in countries facing hyperinflation, restrictive banking systems, or political instability.

The ability to transfer value across borders quickly and cheaply is driving adoption in these areas, further accelerating Bitcoin’s growth.

Comparing Bitcoin’s growth to that of the internet, it’s clear that Bitcoin is growing at a faster rate than the internet in its earlier years.

The internet took approximately seven years to grow from 16 million to 70 million users, while Bitcoin achieved similar grow thin just four years. This rapid adoption is driven by the increasing integration of Bitcoin into mainstream financial systems, tech advancements, and a global shift towards digital assets.

Nigel Green, deVere Group CEO and Founder