From the on-chain data, we can very accurately find out how many ADA stakers there are. Unfortunately, the number of stakers does not correspond to the real number of people who own ADA (through exchanges, so they do not hold their own keys). Not all ADA coins are staked. We don't have information about how many people stake ADA from centralized exchanges, and we can only estimate it. Let's take a look at several studies that looked at how many people hold cryptocurrencies. ADA is a popular cryptocurrency and it is making its way into the statistics. We can estimate the number of ADA holders relatively accurately. However, this is only an estimate.
What does the data say?
First, we look at the results from Morning Consult.
This company does research repeatedly every quarter, and we can look at the long-term development of interest in Cardano. The results are based on a representative sample of 4,400 American adults. The US population is 336M, adults aged 20-54 roughly 140M.
22% of American adults own cryptocurrencies, which is a 3% increase since January 2022. When asked what cryptocurrencies they own, respondents answered as follows: Bitcoin 16% (22,4M owners), Ethereum 12% (16,8M owners), and Cardano 7% (9,8M owners).
From the results, we can see that Cardano is growing in popularity faster than Bitcoin. In January 2022, BTC was held by 14% of respondents, in April 2023 it was 16% of respondents. That's an increase of 2.8M. Cardano's popularity rose from 4% to 7% over the same period, a 3% increase, or 4.2M.
Let's add that the data is the most recent available to us. The growth is surprising and it is appropriate to ask if the research was done well.
The information about which cryptocurrencies the respondents sold in recent months is interesting. 46% of respondents said they sold BTC while only 22% of respondents sold ADA. Most people sold BTC and ETH. Coins of younger SC platforms (ADA, SOL, DOT) were sold the least by people.
Based on this result, we can assume that trust in the Cardano project is growing and therefore the number of people holding ADA is growing.
Another available research comes from BuyBitcoinWorldwide. According to their results, 13% of people in the US (33.7%) hold cryptocurrencies, which is 2% less than the global average. The research is from January 2023.
In the results, you can see that 5% of Americans own BTC, 3% ETH, and 2% ADA. In the other 27 countries, this ratio is similar but often surprising. For example, in India BTC is owned by 8% of the population and ADA is together with ETH at 6%. In Indonesia, ADA is owned by 3% of the population, which is also the same number of people who own ETH and only 1% less than BTC owners.
Number of ADA holders in other major countries: India 86M, Canada 800K, Brazil 6.5M, Mexico 2.6M, Vietnam 4M. The average of ADA holders in the surveyed countries is roughly 2.5%.
Let's add, BuyBitcoinWorldwide writes that "Adoption of Cardano (ADA) sits at around 19% of crypto owners.".
There are 8 billion people on our planet. 15% of them are 1.2B. If 19% of cryptocurrency holders own ADA coins, that's 228M by our calculations. In the case of BTC holders, it works out to 432M.
Does that seem like a lot? Us too. Let's take a look at the other results.
Crypto-com investigated the number of cryptocurrency holders and their results are lower than in the previous case. According to their results, only 425M people globally owned cryptocurrencies at the end of 2022. This is significantly less than in the previous case.
Another reputable research company is Statista-com, which has been researching cryptocurrency adoption since 2019.
The results show the number of respondents who either owned or used cryptocurrencies in the past in 56 countries from 2019 to 2023. In the US, adoption rose from 5% to the current 16%. Currently, the number of cryptocurrency holders in the US would be 53M.
The company Finder-com conducted research in the USA and the results are from January 2023. Their research shows that 15% of Americans own cryptocurrencies and 10% plan to buy them. Also interesting is that 9% answered the question if they ever owned cryptocurrencies that they owned cryptocurrencies in the past, but not now.
Unfortunately, ADA is not on the list of the most popular cryptocurrencies in the US (Doge, LTC, and SHIB are there). Interestingly, however, ADA has a 4% share as the cryptocurrency that Americans bought first. For BTC it is 52% and for ETH 12%.
Tripple A researched cryptocurrency holdings in great detail across the globe. Their results show that roughly 420M people hold cryptocurrencies.
Unfortunately, this company did not research how many people in the US hold ADA. We only know that 73% of cryptocurrency owners hold BTC, 51% ETH, and 30% altcoins (28% of crypto owners hold XRP).
You can see the results of all research below.
How many ADA holders are there in the world?
The results from BuyBitcoinWorldwide are probably too optimistic. Based on the aforementioned studies and other sources, we believe that cryptocurrencies are owned by approximately 425M people globally. The largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance has roughly 130M users and Coinbase has 110M users.
The ratio between owners of BTC, ETH, and ADA is believable. The difference between the number of BTC and ETH holders is not very large. While the number of BTC holders is still the largest, it is not that much larger than ETH holders.
There seems to be few maximalists who stick to a single project. It is more common that people to have mixed portfolios and they very often hold both BTC and ETH. We can assume that ADA may be in a large number of portfolios of those who diversify, but the proportion may be low compared to BTC and ETH. People can diversify into many other altcoins and not own ADA.
Let's go back to the data we saw and believe the ratio. Let's say ETH is held by roughly ⅔ of BTC holders. In the case of ADA, the ratio could be roughly ⅓, i.e. ADA holds roughly ⅓ of the people who hold BTC. For every 100 BTC holders, there are roughly 66 ETH holders and 33 ADA holders.
Let's assume there are 425M cryptocurrency holders in the world. 75% of them hold BTC, 50% of them ETH, and 20% ADA. The number of holders would be as follows: 318M people hold BTC, 212M people hold ETH, and 85M hold ADA.
Based on results from 2 analytics companies, it looks like the number of ADA holders in the US may be around 6-10M. The US has approximately a 13% share of the total number of cryptocurrency holders, so the result roughly equates to 85M ADA holders in the world. If the ratio does not apply (which is possible), we can look at it from another point of view. 1% of 425M cryptocurrency holders are 4.2M. So if only 5% of the total cryptocurrency owners also held ADA, that would be 21M.
Is it realistic that there are really that many ADA holders? The results themselves surprise us, especially in relation to the number of 1.3M stakers and the number of 2.3 addresses on which there is value. Most people seem to hold ADA on exchanges.
The Bitcoin address on which the value is roughly 40M. Since many holders use multiple addresses (I personally have about 10), it is realistic to assume that only about 10M users can have their own BTC wallet (each user would have 4 addresses). This would correspond to about 3% of all BTC holders. In other words, the vast majority, probably about 90% of bitcoiners, hold BTC on exchanges or other custodial solutions. Regarding addresses and number of users, it is similar for Cardano (and other projects). One user can have multiple addresses.
It seems likely that even with Cardano, a large number of people will hold ADA on centralized exchanges. Exchanges can stake from fewer addresses (Binance often delegates 32M ADA from two addresses).
Consider the information in the article as indicative results only. We don't have our own data and have to rely on what third parties find out. Feel free to share your data.