2023 Cryptocurrency Gains by Country

2023 was a year of recovery for cryptocurrency markets, with asset prices and market sentiment improving over the course of the year after a challenging 2022. But how well did investors actually fare? In this blog, we share our 2023 estimates of crypto gains based on investors’ interactions with centralized exchanges, including a breakdown of estimated gains by country. 

Our methodology: How we calculate cryptocurrency gains and estimate gains by country

We use on-chain data to estimate investors’ cryptocurrency gains based on movements of crypto assets in and out of services where they can be on or off-ramped into fiat currency. Specifically, we start by measuring the on-chain, macro-level flows of a select group of assets that account for approximately 80% of total market capitalization for all cryptocurrencies, and which are traded on major centralized exchanges offering crypto-to-fiat conversion. Then, we estimate the total, collective gains made on each asset by measuring the differences between the U.S. dollar value of all withdrawals of the asset and the value of all deposits of the asset. The methodology rests on the fact that any deposit to a service offering off-ramping represents a potential conversion into cash, and therefore realization of any gains or losses on the asset. While the methodology isn’t perfect, it gives us a strong estimate of gains across popular assets traded on centralized exchanges. 

Once we estimate gains on crypto assets for users of each service we track using this methodology, we distribute those gains to individual countries based on the share of web traffic each country represents for each service’s website. This combination of transaction data and web traffic is also the same framework we use to calculate our yearly Global Crypto Adoption Index

2023 estimated total cryptocurrency gains

Overall, we estimate that all crypto investors achieved total gains of $37.6 billion in 2023.

While this total is much smaller than the $159.7 billion in gains made during the 2021 bull market, it represents a significant recovery from 2022, which saw estimated losses of $127.1 billion. Interestingly, our total gains estimate for 2023 is lower than 2021, despite crypto asset prices growing at similar rates in each of those two years. One possible explanation for this could be that investors in 2023 were less likely to convert crypto assets into cash, under the expectation that prices would rise even higher given that they didn’t surpass previous all-time highs at any point in 2023, unlike in 2021.  

Crypto gains were relatively consistent throughout the year before two straight months of losses in August and September. Gains rose sharply after that, with November and December dwarfing all previous months. 

2023 estimated cryptocurrency gains by country

The United States led the way in cryptocurrency gains by a wide margin in 2023 at an estimated $9.36 billion. The UK placed second with an estimated $1.39 billion in crypto gains.

Interestingly, we also see several upper and lower middle income countries whose residents appear to have achieved outsized gains, especially in Asia — Vietnam, China, Indonesia, and India, for example, all hit over $1 billion in estimated gains, and place in the top six for all countries. We previously noted in our 2023 Geography of Cryptocurrency Report that countries in these income categories, and lower middle income countries in particular, showed strong cryptocurrency adoption that remained notably resilient even through the recent bear market. Our gains estimates suggest that many investors in those countries have benefited from their embrace of the asset class. 

What could 2024 have in store?

So far, the positive trends of 2023 have carried over into 2024, with notable crypto assets like Bitcoin achieving all-time highs in the wake of Bitcoin ETF approvals and increased institutional adoption. If these trends continue, we may see gains more in line with those we saw in 2021. As of March 13, Bitcoin is up 65.4% and Ether is up 70.2% in 2024.

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