Payments made using cryptocurrencies will surpass $10 billion in total transaction value globally for the first time this year, skyrocketing more than 70 percent from 2021. Meanwhile, the number of US adults who own and use cryptocurrencies for payments will surge by double digits through 2023.

Ownership and usage

“It is easier now to invest in cryptocurrency than ever before,” says Nazmul Islam, forecasting analyst at Insider Intelligence. “In 2021, cryptos became easier to purchase within apps consumers were already using, while major financial institutions embraced crypto investments. Add the hype surrounding meme stocks like Dogecoin to this easier accessibility, and you have a huge spike in ownership rates.”

By the end of 2022, the number of US adults who own at least one cryptocurrency will climb 19.0 percent to 33.7 million.* That equates to 12.8 percent of the population, having surpassed 10 percent last year. The largest ownership group will be adults ages 25 to 34, followed by those ages 35 to 44. The smallest but fastest-growing group will be adults ages 65 and over.

“Younger investors have a genuine positive outlook on blockchain technology and are buying crypto to hold for a while, expecting prices to continue increasing in the long run,” says Islam. “Older investors will be more risk-averse and leery of the volatile crypto market. Although, they are increasingly starting to invest in crypto as more retirement funds offer it as an option.”

Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency on the market, is the most popular crypto in the US, with 25.2 million owners** this year, up 16.7 percent over last year. (Our definition of an “owner” means those who hold the currency in their portfolios but don’t necessarily transact with it.) Exactly three-quarters of crypto owners will have Bitcoin in their portfolios this year. But the currency’s share of the market will decline to 70.6 percent next year as rivals grow in popularity.

Meanwhile, the second-largest coin, Ethereum, will have 13.1 million owners in the US this year, a gain of 26.8 percent over last year. That means 38.9 percnt of crypto investors will own Ethereum.

For this forecast, Insider Intelligence also looked at users*** of Coinbase. Their definition of a “user” includes those who transacted with the currency at least once in the last month. This year, 11.3 million US adults will actively use Coinbase, rising 24.5 percent over last year. That means usage will surpass one-third (33.6 percent) of all US crypto owners.

Payment users and transaction value

Following triple-digit growth last year, crypto payment transaction value**** globally will surge 70.5 percent in 2022 to reach $10.40 billion. By the end of 2023, transaction value will grow another 55.4 percent to exceed $16 billion.

This year, 3.6 million US adults will use cryptocurrency to make a purchase*****, up 68.6 percent over last year. That means 10.7 percent of crypto owners will actually use a currency to make a purchase.

“Last year was all about networks building crypto payments infrastructure,” says David Morris, principal analyst at Insider Intelligence. “The growth in stablecoin usage is also helping alleviate asset volatility, and CBDC developments are spurring interest in crypto assets as a payment method. We also expect that more crypto options will be layered into how people pay, like cards and digital wallets. These factors should spur high crypto payment growth rates over the next few years.”

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*individuals ages 18+ who own cryptocurrency (such as Bitcoin, Ether, Dogecoin, etc.) in digital storage/an account

**individuals ages 18+ who own the cryptocurrency Bitcoin in digital storage/an account

***individuals ages 18+ who have accessed a Coinbase account digitally and have completed a transaction at least once in the past month

****the value of payments completed by users using cryptocurrency on any platform (such as PayPal, BitPay, Coinbase, other crypto wallets linked to Visa accounts, etc.) to make a payment for goods or services or to another person

***** individuals ages 18+ who have used any cryptocurrency (such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, etc.) to make a payment for goods or services or to another person in the past 12 months