As bitcoin hovers just below the $10,000 mark, reports from October show that Coinbase, the most popular U.S. platform to buy and sell the digital currency, has eclipsed Charles Schwab Corp. (SCHW) in terms of total user accounts.
While bitcoin’s price has a history of extreme volatility, its recent rally has prompted many previously on the fence to get in on the action. The cryptocurrency blew past the $9,000 mark over the weekend, less than a week after it broke $8,000 for the first time and a month following its $7,000 milestone.
Some 300,000 users joined Coinbase in the last week alone, deciding it’s not to late to get in on the blockchain-based technology. Between Nov. 22 and 24, the exchange added a whopping 100,000 users, bringing the total number of accounts on the platform north of 13.3 million, according to data compiled by Alistar Milne of the Altana Digital Currency Fund.
Bitcoin's Future, Bitcoin Futures
In October, Charles Schwab, the No. 2 brokerage firm, reported 10.6 million active brokerage accounts, compared to the 11.7 million users Coinbase posted over the same period. While the number of users on Coinbase is now greater than Schwab’s, its assets under management hit a record of $3.26 trillion at the end of last month. By comparison, Coinbase indicates it has exchanged over $50 billion in digital currency as bitcoin’s market value has skyrocketed to $166 billion.
Bitcoin’s rising mainstream acceptance has resulted in a major clash on the Street with some, such as JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s (JPM) Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, calling it a “fraud” and others, including billionaire angel investor Peter Thiel, indicating that it is “underestimated.” While bitcoin has been kept largely in the fringe of the financial mainstream, a decision by Chicago-based exchange operator CME Group Inc. to launch bitcoin futures by the end of 2017 is working to change things. (See also: JPMorgan May Not Rule Out Bitcoin After All.)