Since its launch in 2009, bitcoin has ushered in a new age of blockchain technology and digital currencies. With all this talk of bitcoin, you'd think it would be everywhere; but how much of the world's money is actually in the form of this cryptocurrency?

Global Money Supply

To get a sense of how much of the world's money is in bitcoin, we must first determine the total amount of money globally. As it turns out, this is not the easiest question to answer. Such a calculation must take into account dozens of categories of wealth, including not only banknotes but precious metals, money market accounts, debt, and many other figures. The Money Project attempted such a calculation in October 2017 and estimated around $36.8 trillion in global narrow money. As of January 2020, this number is surely outdated, but it was also arbitrary enough anyway to warrant our using it for a rough estimate (seeing that it didn't include broad money, global debt, real estate, or many other elements).

Value of Bitcoin

According to CoinMarketCap, the value of all the bitcoin in the world is $156.7 billion as of January 15, 2020. For comparison, Forbes estimates the net worth of Amazon (AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos at $115.5 billion. This makes the market cap of bitcoin just over a third larger than Bezos' fortune.

How does bitcoin compare against gold, to take another example? To calculate the total value of all gold in the world, we begin with the World Gold Council's estimate that, as of the end of 2017, about 190,000 tonnes of gold had been mined throughout history. Because gold is essentially indestructible, and because on average around 2,500 tonnes are mined per year, as of this writing we can safely estimate around 195,000 tonnes of gold in existence. There are 32,150.7 troy ounces of gold in one tonne, and with a current price of gold per ounce of $1,558.15, we can estimate the total value of all gold as:

32,150.7 troy ounces per tonne x 195,000 tonnes of gold x $1,558.15 per ounce = $9.8 trillion.

In total, the current value of all bitcoin is about 1.6% of the value of all gold. It's only about 0.4% of the estimated value of narrow money from The Money Project's report.

Bitcoin is, of course, the most well-known and highly-valued cryptocurrency in the the global economy, but it is far from the only one. If we combine the net worth of bitcoin with that of litecoin​, monero​, ether, and all other cryptocurrencies with a market cap of at least $1 billion, the total value comes to roughly $214 billion. No small amount of money, to be sure, but it's still only about 0.5% of the total value of all narrow money per the above figures.