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How the 10 Crore Indians Holding Crypto is a Bogus Claim!

Oversimplified analysis can yield extreme results. That’s why we dig deeper to check how many Indians actually hold crypto assets.

Yesterday Coin Crunch India (CCI) published a report that over 10 crore Indians may hold crypto assets. The number is too huge to be believed easily. That’s why the CCI team started to look for the final source and methodology which came up with such an incredible number.

Looking for the Ultimate Source

Our news report quoted another report by the Times of India (TOI). TOI in turn cited a research report by BrokerChooser, which is a company that “helps independent investors and traders to find an online broker fitting to their needs.”

When CCI checked the BrokerChooser research, it was found that the company itself had sourced the statistics from somewhere else and quoted it verbatim.

“The number of crypto owners (in a country) is taken from Triple A’s Cryptocurrency Across the World report and is taken as a percentage of the total population.”

Afterwards, we checked TripleA’s report. We first realized that TripleA is a Singapore based startup that provides crypto payments services. Finally, we reached the two ultimate sources: a Statista report and a Hootsuite report, both from 2020.

Statista Report Findings

The Statista report reveals that the report was compiled through the responses collected during the Statista Global Consumer Survey in 2020.

Around 2000 to 12000 people were asked to fill a questionnaire in each of the surveyed countries. The question asked was phrased as “Which of these financial products and investments do you currently use/own? (multi-pick)”. 

The figures reported, “concern respondents who selected the option Cryptocurrency (e.g. Bitcoin)”.

A point to note is, “This survey was not held at the same time across all mentioned countries: Some countries had their survey earlier in the year than others.”

Also, the target age group was 18-64 years.

So the caveats are mentioned in the report.

As per this survey, Nigeria with 31.9% is at the top which contradicts the previous report we published.

This statistic means that 31.9% of the respondents (between 2000 and 12000 people) in the target group (18-64 years) own crypto assets.

Similarly, in the case of India, 8.8% of the respondents said they own crypto assets.

Hootsuite Report Findings

Hootsuite researched in collaboration with Kepios and We Are Social for its Digital 2020 report.

It says that the “Percentage of internet users aged 16 to 64 who report owning any form of cryptocurrency in India is 8%.”

Source: Digital 2020 Report

The data was sourced from “GlobalWebIndex (q3 2019). Figures represent the findings of a broad survey of internet users aged 16 to 64.”

We could not get to the final source in this research, but we are assuming that it is taken verbatim.

This research too carries some caveats about the sources and methodologies. It mentions that there could be differences in reported metrics due to differences in data collection treatment methodologies.

The Numbers We Can Arrive At

The percentages of people holding crypto as per Hootsuite and Statista are 8% and 8.8% in the age group of 18-64 and 16-64, respectively.

According to World Bank’s data, India’s total population in 2020 was 1.38 billion or 138 crores, and 67.265% of it is between 15 and 64. In absolute numbers, this is 92.8 crores.

If we go by both these numbers assuming that every single one of them is using the internet (which they are not) and generalise the percentages to the population segment of 15-64 (for the sake of convenience), we would arrive at 7.42 crores (for 8%) and 8.16 crores (for 8.8%).

It is still less than the previously reported 10 crores.

A user base of 10 crores is actually 7.3% of the whole 138 crores.

So, we cannot generalise the survey to the whole population. We can only do it to the sampled segment of the population(s), which in this case are 18-64 and 16-64.

That’s why the research reports by Statista and Hootsuite have used the words the “percentage of respondents”.

TOI indirectly quoted TripleA’s report that had generalized the statistic to the complete 138 crores rather than the 18-64 or 16-64 segment of the population.

Furthermore, we do not know the biases and assumptions made during the surveys, samples, and many other factors. Without the knowledge of such elements, we cannot determine the statistical significance and test the hypothesis (in layman terms it means whether we should generalize the results or not).

The Data is With The Exchanges

Only the exchanges have precise numbers. Recently, CoinSwitch Kuber claimed that it had onboarded 10 million or 1 crore users.

In May, Nischal Shetty, founder of WazirX, had revealed that the whole industry has only 1.5 crore users.

 The real number might or might not be a lot lower than 10 crores. Only the exchanges can tell.

If the user base is 10 crores now, it means the cryptocurrency industry in India is witnessing astronomical growth.

Any research quoted should be verified. If it cannot be done, the methodology should be mentioned so that the users can self-verify.

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