The number of active bitcoin users will reach 4.7 million by the end of 2019. However, usage will be continue to be dominated by exchange trading, with retail adoption largely restricted to relatively niche demographics.
A new report from Juniper research has found that while the number of active bitcoin users numbered just 1.3 million last year, that number will reach nearly 5 million by 2019.
According to the report, while a number of high profile retailers are enabling Bitcoin payment, activity levels from both online and offline deployments are extremely low.
“While average daily transaction volumes have increased by around 50% since March 2014, the indications are that much of this growth results from higher transaction levels by established users rather from any substantial uplift in consumer adoption,” said the report’s author Dr Windsor Holden.
The report cited a number of factors which it claimed would continue to inhibit growth, most notably the difficulty in communicating the concept of cryptocurrency payments to end users. It also argued that Bitcoin’s historical association with – and continued use by – criminals for illegal purchases and money laundering was likely to act as a further deterrent to mass adoption.
Meanwhile, the report observed that with many Bitcoins being hoarded by early speculators, currency supply could be further restricted with Bitcoin mining profitability threatened by a combination of the cryptocurrency’s volatility, lower Bitcoin yields and rising electricity costs.
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