Cambridge University’s Judge Business School hosts the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, a superb resource for anyone interested in the latest international academic research on finance channels and currencies operating outside of traditional banks and capital markets. The research center regularly publishes reports on the evolution of alternative finance and its use (or lack thereof) around the globe.
A favorite of Blockchain Intel’s is the Global Cryptocurrency Benchmarking Study, offering survey data from 150 cryptocurrency companies and individuals from 38 countries. It is lengthy at 115 pages, but you can easily navigate the report. For the cryptocurrency neophytes (or those wanting a refresher), check out the glossary of terms, many of which you can also find in BlockIntel’s archived “Learning the Lexicon” article.
Read the full study here. In the meantime, here are a few highlights.
Exchanges: The exchange sector is the first to have emerged in the cryptocurrency industry and remains the largest sector both in terms of the number of companies and employees.
- 52 percent of small exchanges hold a formal government license compared to only 35 percent of large exchanges.
Wallets: Wallets have evolved from simple software programs handling key management to sophisticated applications that offer a variety of technical features and additional services that go beyond the simple storage of cryptocurrency.
- The current number of unique active users of cryptocurrency wallets is estimated to be between 2.9 million and 5.8 million.
Payments: Payment companies generally act as gateways between users of blockchain value-transfer systems and the broader economy, bridging national currencies and cryptocurrencies.
- 79 percent of payment companies have existing relationships with banking institutions and payment networks, but the difficulty of obtaining and maintaining these relationships is cited as this sector’s biggest challenge.
Mining: The mining sector has evolved in a short time from a hobby activity performed on personal computers into a professional and capital-intensive industry with its own value chain.
- All mining pools with greater than 1 percent of the total bitcoin hash rate offer an English language version of their website, and 63 percent have two or more language versions available.
BLOCKINTEL’S TAKE: The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance is making an important contribution to the blockchain and cryptocurrency dialogue. Efforts to quantify users, individuals employed by alternative finance, and map the blockchain business ecosystem provide validation to the industry and a means of measuring industry growth in terms that register with traditional business sectors.
The survey’s inclusion of security as a key datapoint is valuable to anyone participating in blockchain-based businesses. We do not suggest using it as your only source of information, but consider benchmarking your own operations or those of the companies you follow off of the small/large exchange data included in the report. Use information in reports like this to help you formulate educated questions that inform your investments or help you direct your teams. (See page 36 of the report for more information on security and exchanges.)