According to a new report from the Cambridge Center of Alternative Finance, over 101 million users have opened new accounts with providers of crypto-services such as stock exchanges and wallets.

The metric shows strong growth for the nascent bitcoin industry, which has recently been positioned as an alternative to gold and government bonds as a store of value to counter the bleak economic outlook and global downturn.

The sample is comprised of 175 service providers, 75 mining companies and 30 individual miners and was collected between March and May 2020.

100 million turn to Bitcoin and Krypto

According to the report, according to the various crypto companies, by the 3rd quarter of 2020, an estimated 191 million accounts or BTC wallets had been opened or set up by more than 101 million unique users. This growth was three times higher than in all of 2018, when the number of identity-checked users worldwide was only 35 million.

North American, Middle Eastern and African companies appear to have a more geographically diversified customer base, with service providers in both regions reporting that 42% of their customers are from other regions – such as European companies registering users from Middle East Asia.

Service providers with operational headquarters in North America and Europe report that business and institutional clients account for 30% of their clients. However, for APAC and Latin American companies, this figure is much lower at 16% and 10% respectively, the report says.

The composition of the business and institutional client base varies from region to region. While North American and European firms primarily serve crypto-assetted hedge funds and traditional institutional investors, Middle Eastern and African service providers serving non-small investors focus on online traders (50%).

Crypto industry sees slowdown in employment

The growth of the workforce in full-time equivalents (FTE) has slowed down considerably following the market frenzy at the end of 2017, the report says.

Respondents from all market segments reported annual growth of 21% in 2019 compared to 57% in 2018.

Across the industry, full-time equivalent employment growth declined by 36 percentage points between 2017 and 2019, while the median for companies reported a 75 percentage point downward change in employment growth.

The difference between the figures for employment growth at the industry level and at the company level reflects the increase in the number of large companies within each industry group that dominate the aggregate change in employment – and it indicates that a few large companies dominate the industry.

However, not all companies have the same rules: The employment data of individual firms show that a considerable proportion of the firms (26%) have maintained annualized employment growth of over 10% over the last three years.