A major question amongst Bitcoin researchers and investors has been that of knowing how many people actually own and use Bitcoin. Down to the present day, it is most often still the number of addresses in the Bitcoin network that is being used as a proxy to the number of Bitcoin users/holders.
However, it is well established that this approach is fallacious, as a single entity can own and control multiple Bitcoin addresses holding BTC, and conversely, Bitcoin addresses can hold funds from more than one individual (e.g. exchange addresses).
By applying a combination of industry–standard heuristics, proprietary clustering algorithms, and advanced data science methods on top of raw on–chain data, Glassnode has developed the method of entity-adjustment, which helps us obtain a more precise estimate of the actual number of users in the Bitcoin network.
Note that with our approach we only aim at solving one of the two confounding factors that follows from using addresses as a proxy to the number of users: mapping multiple addresses to a single entity. We do not tackle the case in which a single address holds funds of multiple users: In this case the address holding the bitcoins is still controlled by a single entity on the network level (e.g. an exchange) — therefore we deliberately refer to our numbers as “entities” rather than “users” or “individuals”.
Because our entity metrics rely on clustering techniques and statistical information that changes over time, these metrics are mutable (i.e. most recent data points are subject to slight changes as time progresses). However, we have put the necessary mechanisms in place in order to obtain highly stable values that keep these fluctuations to a minimum (on average less than 1%).
Number of New Entities The number of unique entities that appeared for the first time in a transaction in the Bitcoin network.
Entities Net Growth The net growth of unique entities in the network. This metric is defined as the difference between new entities and “disappearing” entities (entities with a zero balance that had a non–zero balance at the previous timestamp).
Number of Whales The number of unique entities holding at least 1,000 BTC.
Number of Active Entities The number of unique entities that were active either as a sender or receiver.
Number of Sending Entities The number of unique entities that were active as a sender of BTC.
Number of Receiving Entities The number of unique entities that were active as a receiver of BTC.
Bitcoin transaction metrics, entity-adjusted to ignore in-house transactions.
The number of transactions performed by unique entities.
The total volume transferred between unique entities.
The mean volume transferred between unique entities.
The median volume transferred between unique entities.
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