Charting The Relationship Between Crypto Prices And Crypto Usage

The crypto world had an amazing 2017. Bitcoin’s spiking price brought endless media attention to a growing asset class that was also buoyed by an explosion in coin offering fundraising. Initial coin offerings (ICOs) raised billions for crypto-themed projects in a historic capital deluge.

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The media spotlight came together with huge monetary infusions along with interest from developers and the public alike. In 2018, however, the value of crypto-built assets has fallen dramatically. Over a half-trillion dollars in value has been deleted this year alone. But what impact has the collapse in the value of all crypto products from around $795 billion to around $250 billion (as of the time of writing) had on interest in the market category?

As has been noted before, there is an enormous link between crypto price and crypto hype. As the price of bitcoin goes up, material interest in the sector itself grows.

That’s something underscored by a set of data released by Mixpanel today. In a dataset constructed from dozens of billions of transactions, Mixpanel, a user-focused analytics platform, created the following chart that compares what it described as “crypto user growth” and “percentage user growth.”

This chart is far more attractive and easy to understand than the charts we linked to first, but it makes a similar point: when bitcoin’s value rises, the crypto sector gets a usage bump. So we can now essentially tie interest and usage of crypto products to the price of bitcoin.

That should not surprise. Bitcoin is the most famous crypto product and the most valuable. It’s still worth over $100 billion as of this morning, a huge sum. That its price is a directionally-useful indicator for crypto activity is not mind-bending, but it’s nice to see the relationship in chart form.

Mixpanel also noted in an email that “crypto trading users grew 14 [times] in 2017,” going on to note that “based on the Bitcoin price-user correlation [the fact] could definitely be a bad sign in 2018.” If usage went up with the price, it has likely therefore fallen when prices dropped.

Other usage signals back up the point. December 2017 is a local and all-time maximum for bitcoin, and we’ll probably know when trading is going back up. The price will tell us.


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