January 2021 saw a new all-time record for the number of active Bitcoin wallets.
Glassnode reports this on Twitter, revealing that more than 22.3 million unique public addresses were found to be active on the Bitcoin blockchain during the month, which is the highest monthly number in the entire history of Bitcoin so far.
It should be noted that the previous record was set in December 2017, when just over 21.6 million addresses were active during the month on the Bitcoin blockchain.
For example, in December 2020, when the price of BTC returned to December 2017 levels, there were only 20.8 million, which confirms that the late 2020 rally was markedly different than the late 2017 rally.
It should also be noted that the post-bubble 2017 low point was reached in June 2018 with 10.9 million active addresses, which is less than half of those active in January 2021.
After hitting this minimum, they were back to around 14 million at the end of 2019, and it has been an almost continuous increase since then.
In May 2020, i.e. during the month of the halving, the number of addresses active during the month on the Bitcoin blockchain had already returned to 17 million, while in August of the same year there were 19 million. The real boom occurred between November 2020 and January 2021.
Active wallets, price and network: Bitcoin’s records
As such, January 2021 is the month of records for Bitcoin, as it not only set its highest price ever, but also other records concerning the usage and the network.
The curious thing is that the cost of BTC transactions has instead been lower.
While during the peak of December 2017 it actually became necessary to spend more than $32 on a single transaction, in January 2021 the median never exceeded $9.
This is certainly due to a lower daily concentration of transactions, as the absolute record is still that of December 16th, 2017, with over 450,000 transactions recorded on Bitcoin’s blockchain in a single day, compared to the peak of 392,000 on January 7th, 2021, although these numbers alone do not justify the difference.
There are probably two other factors that have contributed to keeping the cost of transactions lower during the recent boom.
The first is the increasing use of SegWit addresses, which in fact reduce transaction costs.
The second is the use of the Lightning Network, which, although still not widespread, means that only the opening and closing of the channel need to be recorded on the blockchain, while all other transactions are extremely cheap and immediate. In fact, some exchanges are starting to offer their users the possibility of making deposits and withdrawals using LN, in order to reduce time and costs, especially for smaller transactions.