The recent surge in crypto values, propelling Bitcoin beyond $40,000, has sparked a celebratory chorus on social platforms declaring a resurgence. And they’re not mistaken. Bitcoin isn’t just positioned as the top-performing asset of 2023; it has garnered backing from financial titans like BlackRock, signaling a push toward mainstream finance. Simultaneously, we’re witnessing the revival of cringe-worthy catchphrases from the bubble era, like “WAGMI” and “to the moon,” echoing across these spaces after a prolonged absence.

While this signals the end of the extended Crypto Winter, a crucial element seems conspicuously absent this time: app downloads, as highlighted by The Block and others.

During the boom periods of 2017 and 2021, consumer crypto apps surged up Apple’s App Store charts as people hurried to join the action. Coinbase, for instance, ascended to the top spot. But presently? Despite Bitcoin’s surge, Coinbase hovers around No. 318 overall and ranks at No. 21 among consumer finance apps, a rather lackluster performance.

The question remains: what does this signify? Optimists argue that app downloads as a gauge of consumer interest lag behind and anticipate a flood of newcomers fueling the most significant boom yet. However, I’m skeptical. The absence of retail customers might not solely be due to market timing; it could be a consequence of public sentiment shaped by recent news, steering clear of an arena where Sam Bankman-Fried is among its most visible figures.

A more neutral perspective suggests that a significant portion of younger individuals, who are more inclined toward crypto ownership, might already possess wallets from the previous bull cycle. Thus, platforms like Coinbase are now vying for a shrinking pool of new users just dipping their toes into the crypto world, not substantial enough to spike app downloads significantly.

Should this be the case, Coinbase and similar entities must lure back a wave of previous one-time customers—many of whom suffered losses in the prior cycle—to re-engage with crypto. Without this resurgence, while crypto prices may climb aided by Wall Street players, the surge might lack the dramatic enthusiasm of previous cycles. This could be a positive, deterring naive investors from squandering money on speculative assets like Floki dog tokens. However, it may also dampen claims of crypto’s mainstream embrace.


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