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'Money' has evolved throughout economic history, and has included moving from:

  • barter economies (i.e. no 'Money' - simple trading of final goods/services)
  • commodity money - money whose intrinsic value - e.g. the gold/silver/copper/alloys it was made from - has real value
  • fiat money (e.g. where the paper a bank note is made from isn't actually worth much/anything)
  • digital currency equivalents of fiat, as computing became common place where the 'Money' is a record in several banks' computer systems
  • to crypto currencies where the 'Money' is bits in a distributed ledger
  • probably more I've missed (e.g. bank issued notes).

Question

Bitcoin is the largest of the class of currencies/assets known as 'cryptocurrencies', and the USD is the largest in the class of traditional currencies, what is the 'size' of bitcoin relative to the USD?

That is, how does bitcoin compare to the US Dollar in terms of any/all of:

  1. Total estimated annual transaction volume on final goods and services
  2. Total value (e.g. if all BTC were converted to USD at the current market rate, or vice-versa, how would their values compare?)
  3. Other measures?

Sensible assumptions in measuring the above are welcome.

Note: I thought about also including comparison of the total number of accounts, bit I think that's useless since creating accounts in cryptocurrencies is so trivial that one person could create billions, making comparison fairly uninformative. I also thought about comparing the number of (human) users, but suspect that could be difficult since it's not possible to know how many human users there are for most of the large crypto currencies.

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The Wall Street Journal ran a great article comparing cryptocurrency sizes. The article compared the asset classes by relative market capitalizations if you added everything up.

Top Seven Cyrpotcurrencies Source: WSJ

Market Size Comparison

Source: WSJ

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