Chart of the Week: Coinbase, Revisited
After rocketing to a nearly $20,000 valuation in December 2017 (and subsequently slumping to about 25% of that value just 6 months later), Bitcoin investors and exchanges are making efforts to recast the cryptocurrency as a stable currency that’s ready for everyday use by mainstream consumers. Just last week, one of the biggest exchange operators announced Bakkt, an effort to better integrate Bitcoin into the retail economy – for example, allowing consumers to spend Bitcoin at popular retailers like Starbucks. With the prospect of spending crypto on your next cappuccino on the horizon, we thought we’d revisit our earlier analysis of Coinbase, one of the most popular crypto exchanges currently on the market. Has Bitcoin’s market volatility impacted its user base over the past 6 months?
Is Bitcoin’s Volatility Impacting Coinbase’s User Growth?
Founded six years ago, Coinbase likes to claim that it has more accounts than traditional financial institutions like Charles Schwab or Vanguard. And the company is gaining traction as one of the most prominent cryptocurrency exchanges, with several notable hires and plans to add more types of coins to the platform. But cryptocurrency – and especially Bitcoin – have had a rocky year marred by shaky valuations, theft and hacking, and security concerns. How have these growing pains impacted Coinbase’s monthly user numbers (among U.S. adults, 18 and above)?
According to Verto Watch data, Coinbase’s monthly user base has, to some extend, mirrored the valuation of Bitcoin itself: while Coinbase claimed nearly 11.1 million unique users in January 2018, that number has progressively fallen over the past six months. By June 2018, Coinbase reported just 5.6 million users, less than half of its January number. A look at Coinbase’s demographics also reveals that its user base is fairly evenly spread across consumers regardless of age (with a slightly larger share among users between the ages of 25-34). However, males form a vast majority: 84% of Coinbase users were men as of June 2018, a slight improvement over a commonly-cited statistic that estimates women comprise 4%-6% of crypto investors and stakeholders.