Nearly One Trillion Dollars Worth of Bitcoin Has Been Transferred in 2018, Close to Half a Trillion For Ethereum


An estimated $830 billion worth of bitcoin has moved so far this year according to our calculations of blockchain data as adjusted by Coinmetrics. In a statement introducing the new measure, they say:

“From the perspective of the blockchain, all transactions are equally valid – but from the perspective of an analyst or economist, it’s useful to isolate only the meaningful economic transactions, so that’s what we’ve done here.”

They claim to have removed, or at least have attemted to remove, things like “mixers, self-churn, privacy enhancements, spam, and change outputs.” Providing a picture as below:

Bitcoin and ethereum transfers in dollars, August 2018.

We manually summed up the above with some shortcuts to try and underestimate the measure so as to come up with a conservative number.

We thus took the amount transferred on the last day of the month, then timed it by the number of days. So for January that was around $7 billion on the 31st, giving a rounded total of $220 billion for the month.

That continues to fall throughout the year. Just $140 billion is transferred in February, while March, April and May remain somewhat stable at around $100 billion.

That falls in June and July to circa $70 billion, with August giving around $30 billion so far, making a total of circa $800 billion for the year.

Ethereum shares the same story, starting at $120 billion in January. Then halved to $60 billion in February, and halved again to around $30 billion in March.

Unlike bitcoin, ethereum has a bump in May, back up to $60 billion, then halved again and remaining at around $30 billion, although for this month just circa $10 billion has been transferred so far.

Price, of course, affects these sums, but a similar story is told by the raw unadjusted data of amounts of eth transferred as provided by Santiment:

Sums of eth transferred in 2018 up to August 2018.

As can be seen there, the year opened with about 20 million eth transferred a day, or some 20% of all supply. Now that is down to an average of 2 million a day, making it circa $600 million worth of eth being transferred daily.

There can be some outliers. When Circle acquired Poloniex, for example, they moved a lot of coins to new wallets, but the adjusted data tries to minimize any more common noise, such as mixers.

Some of this economic activity is probably transfers to and from exchanges, but for ethereum it is estimated that only 30% of on-chain activity is related to exchanges.

These all are estimates, so they may be off by 10% or so either way, something which for eth would mean around $200 billion of real economic activity has been undertaken so far. Significantly more than its current market cap of just under $30 billion.



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