On day two of Devcon, the founder of Etherscan, Matthew Tan, delivered a presentation to share statistics about the users of Ethereum. Addressing an audience in the main hall, Tan shared data about the age, gender, interests, and location of Ethereum users.
His most stunning revelation was the changing geography of Etherscan’s users. From 2016 to 2017, users in the United States as a proportion of total site visitors declined dramatically. In 2016, US users accounted for 44 percent of Etherscan’s user base, but in 2017, US users have accounted for just 20 percent.
“China’s definitely a growing market,” said Tan, highlighting the surge of cryptocurrency interest, which has propelled China to the second spot in this year. In 2016, China didn’t even break into the top five countries. Of course, it’s important to remember that Chinese officials recently banned token offerings and the nation’s cryptocurrency exchanges ceased trading just a few days ago. Another “new player” in the Ethereum scene is South Korea, which now accounts for about 4.4 percent of Etherscan visitors. Russia and Germany have remained relatively consistent over the last year.
According to Tan, the average Ethereum user is a technology-oriented young man, in his mid-20s to early-30s. He’s likely located in the US, China, or Russia and has an interest in financial services. None of this seems all that surprising (this writer, for example, meets a number of those criteria).
Tan also noted that approximately two-thirds of users access Etherscan using a desktop computer, while approximately 30 percent utilize a mobile device (the remaining three percent is comprised of tablet users). With regard to operating systems, 50 percent of users work with Win dows. Android and iOS trail at 17 and 16 percent respectively. And, far and away, Etherscan’s visitors use the Chrome browser (59 percent), but Safari supports 15 percent of users and Firefox supports 9 percent. It’s unclear whether these data points are a result of user preference or the functionality of the platform itself.
The day after his presentation, Tan graciously walked some writers through Etherscan’s features (I was among the lucky few). He talked about the importance of offering a platform that seems “easy,” and has a clean feel. As the Ethereum user base has grown, he’s also worked to “noobify” the platform a little bit. Data oriented toward software developers is still present, but now it’s buried a little bit deeper in sub-menus.
Since Tan suggested that user demographics might help developers tailor programs, the most disconcerting statistic was the nearly complete male- domination of the cryptocurrency space. While 92 percent of Ethereum users are male, only 8 percent are female. It seems pretty obvious that the cryptocurrency community must do something to rectify this extreme imbalance.
Understandably, there is a disproportionate number of younger users but overall, the Ethereum community appears much less representative of the global population than one might hope. If there’s one takeaway from Tan’s talk, it’s that the cryptocurrency community remains young and male. These are not bad identities, but the absence of older (and hopefully, wiser) folks and women feels unsettling.