Cambridge University releases its second annual cryptocurrency study

Wei Lin

By Wei Lin

"Between May and July 2018, the research team collected survey data from over 180 start-ups,established companies, and individuals from 47 different countries across all major regions. The objective of the study is to provide new insights into the current state of the ecosystem and, in combination with publicly available data sources, capture major trends of the rapid market development." Synopsis below:

Univ. of Cambridge: Second Global Cryptoasset Benchmarking Study
• Total user accounts at service providers now exceed 139 million with at least 35 million identity-verified users, the latter growing nearly 4X in 2017 and doubling again in the first three quarters of 2018.
• The cross-segment expansion observed in 2017 has continued: 57% of cryptoasset service providers are now operating across at least two market segments to provide integrated services for their customers, compared to 31% in early 2017.
• Multi-coin support has nearly doubled from 47% of all service providers in 2017 to 84% in 2018; a trend primarily driven by the emergence of common standards on some cryptoasset platforms (e.g. ERC-20 on Ethereum) that has resulted in a rapid increase in the supply of tokens.
• The study estimates that as of mid-November 2018, the top-6 proof-of-work cryptoassets collectively consume between 52 and 111 TWh of electricity per year. The mid-point of the estimate (82 TWh) is the equivalent of the total energy consumed by the entire country of Belgium – but also constitutes less than 0.01% of the world’s global energy production per year. A notable share of the energy consumed by these facilities is supplied by renewable energy sources in regions with excess capacity.
• Cryptoasset mining appears to be less concentrated geographically, in hashpower ownership, and in manufacturer options than commonly depicted: the mining map exhibits that hashing facilities and pool operators are distributed globally, with growing operations in the USA and Canada.
• Industry actors are pro-actively adopting measures that appear to comply with existing regulation despite not necessarily being explicitly subject to regulations. The increasing number of self-regulatory initiatives, combined with the emergence of sophisticated and professional services, reflect the growing maturity of the industry.

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