Combining traditional behavioral finance analysis with blockchain metrics and indicators
The following report belongs to a new series of Blockchain User Behavior Reports. A set of reports by DappRadar intended to provide users with a different perspective of the blockchain industry, combining traditional behavioral finance analysis with blockchain metrics and indicators. The document analyzes trends from the blockchain industry perspective but also identifies patterns in the DeFi, NFT, and Gaming spaces respectively.
By enabling an immutable, accessible, and traceable ledger, different use cases across several businesses have adopted blockchain as the backbone for their future operating models. Furthermore, the industry is growing at an incredibly fast pace, with several decentralized applications (dapps) and use cases created each day. Therefore, we believe there is a need to understand, in the first place, who are the main users of blockchain? How do they operate? But also, shed light on the success stories of our industry. How exactly do whales behave? What common trends do they share? In this report, we aim to analyze and draw some existing patterns based on the behavior of our current users.
First, we’ll analyze global aspects and trends like geographics and devices used for interaction. Then, we’ll dive deeper into the industry, showing how DeFi users relate to NFT users and vice versa. Afterward, we’ll try to draw some patterns between DeFi/NFT specific metrics and industry indicators. Finally, we analyze the top wallets for some of Ethereum’s most important NFT collections, to observe the behavior of crypto whales.
Table of Contents
- Key findings
- The USA and Asia lead usage in the blockchain industry
- Mobile devices dominate the blockchain scene
- Users tend to overlap DeFi and NFTs
- Macro indicator patterns
- Top wallet analysis – NFT perspective
- About DappRadar
- The interest gauged by NFTs mainly comes from the United States and Indonesia, with Russia and India having a presence as well. In the case of DeFi, the US still drives the most traffic, with Brazil, Thailand, Russia, and China stand out.
- The play-to-earn economic thesis is supported by emerging economies; gaming dapps traffic is led by the Philippines, followed by India, Brazil, Venezuela, and interestingly the United States.
- According to global trends, the mobile market share is gaining ground against desktop users; DappRadar data indicates that this global perspective is supported, 53% of users connect via mobile devices whereas Desktop usage is around 46%. Those figures have behaved constantly since May 2021.
- According to DappRadar’s portfolio tracking tool, 85% of our DeFi users have also interacted with NFTs. Compared to May, these figures represent a 10% increase, supporting the trend that NFTs have gained popularity over the last two months.
- Over time NFTs collections have become more adopted. Among the Top 5 Ethereum collections, Bored Apes Yacht Club is the most distributed; only 4% of the collection is owned by the Top 5 wallets and it currently has more than 5,100 unique owners.
- On the other hand, the whale concentration index is way higher for CryptoPunks and Avastars, at 9% and 21% respectively; however, we spotted an increase in total holders during the last two months.
The USA and Asia Drive the Blockchain Industry
DappRadar attracted more than 500,000 users during July 2021. Besides useful data-driven insights like the NFT and DeFi pages and rankings, DappRadar offers a wide array of products such as the Portfolio Tracker, the TokenSwap functionality, and NFT valuation tools among many others.
In the first part of this geographical overview, we analyze DappRadar’s overall audience. This analysis can serve as a starting point towards the potential behavior of the blockchain industry as a whole. Afterward, we dive deeper into the most popular segments, specifically DeFi, NFTs, and gaming.
Analyzing the period from July 1st to August 7th, we identify the Philippines as the country with more users followed by the U.S. Southeast Asia’s presence in the industry is very considerable. Between Vietnam and Indonesia, there are more than 65,000 users utilizing our products. When including China’s and India’s numbers, Asia’s involvement in the industry is predominant. Also worth noting is the strong presence in Brazil, Russia, and the UK. The BRIC group is totally represented in the industry.
Diving deeper into the blockchain sectors, we start by analyzing which of our users were interested in DeFi during July 2021. For this DeFi as well as NFTs and games analysis, we consider click-out rates for each category.
In the case of DeFi, we see a strong presence coming from America. The U.S. appears to be the country most interested in DeFi, followed by Brazil. Asia generates strong interest in the DeFi sector as well. Binance Smart Chain (BSC), Polygon, and Ethereum are well represented by China, India, and Russia respectively, driving a good amount of usage. However, Thailand stands out as the country garnering the most interest in this sector. In Europe, Spain, and the UK users were commonly interacting with DeFi dapps.
On one hand, this result was expected. Countries like the US, UK, and China possess important capital markets, which is the natural comparison with DeFi in a more traditional way. On the other hand, it is quite encouraging to see countries like Brazil and Thailand being involved. Getting visibility in this type of country will definitely boost the search for mass adoption. Due to their large populations.
On the NFT side, the situation is slightly different. The U.S. appears to be the most interested in NFT collectibles and marketplaces as well, but with a higher margin in respect to other countries. The U.S. is also traditionally amongst the top markets for any type of collectibles, from rare toys to sports memorabilia. There is no surprise in seeing them replicate the interest in the digital space. In Asia, Indonesia stands out. Russia and India appear to be interested in NFTs as well but to a lesser degree than DeFi.
Finally, the hottest sector in the industry, gaming. The play-to-earn sector has had a massive impact on the industry. Blockchain games have generated microeconomies that are being embraced in emerging economies. Our traffic insights supported this thesis. The Philippines is driving the most gaming interest by a good margin. Other countries that are visible in this category include the US, Brazil, Thailand, Vietnam, and Venezuela.
Mobile Devices Dominate the Blockchain Scene
While the geographical analysis shows where the user is coming from, it is also important to understand how users access industry data. According to DappRadar’s July web data, 53.4% of our users connect via smartphones, whereas 45.7% use a Desktop as their way for connection.
The usage as a whole increased by 16% from numbers seen in June whilst maintaining a constant proportion between the two most dominant channels. Moreover, our numbers go in line with diverse publications that focus on global trends, where the mobile market share is gaining ground against desktop users. This trend is something to watch for in the upcoming months as more dapps prepare developments for Android and iOS devices.
After analyzing global trends like geographics and device market share, we dive deeper into blockchain usage metrics and patterns.
Users Tend to Overlap DeFi and NFTs
For this section, we focused solely on those wallets that are using our Portfolio Tracker feature and considered only the Ethereum ecosystem. After analyzing the wallets interacting with DappRadar throughout July, we found a growing trend in NFTs that begins to overlap with incumbent DeFi users.
When analyzing those wallets that have interacted with DeFi dapps across different protocols, only 15% interacted with DeFi dapps whilst 85% of the wallets transacted with NFT collections or marketplaces to some extent. Clearly, the NFT movement continues its strong performance. Compared to May figures, NFT usage by DeFi users increased by 10%.
On the other hand, we saw a 6% increase in wallets that connected to Ethereum NFTs when compared to May. 75% of wallets with NFT presence also interacted with Ethereum DeFi dapps. 25% of NFT wallets concentrated on this space exclusively.
We can conclude that the NFT hype is real. It has become probable that more experienced blockchain people such as DeFi users, will realize the full potential of NFTs and their multiple applications. Furthermore, according to Dune analytics, there are now more than 3 million DeFi users on Ethereum. Extrapolating our recent patterns with the estimated population results in 2.5 million NFT users. With new collections coming out daily, and record volumes being invested into the NFT space, there is no doubt that the space entails a huge upside in the mid-term.
Macro Indicator Patterns
Cryptocurrencies are one of the most important pillars of the blockchain industry. We consider crypto under the Efficient Market Hypothesis that can be applied to traditional capital markets with rational investors and time-sensitive variables.
In this section, we compare indicators that are widely used for analyzing cryptocurrencies (macro indicators), along with aggregated blockchain metrics that are critical for understanding the DeFi and NFT spaces separately but can also help categorize the blockchain industry as a whole variable.
Note: DeFi users shown in the following analysis consider DeFi and DEX dapps while NFTs include collectibles and marketplaces.
- BTC Price
- ETH Price
- ETH Gas Price (GWei)
- Fear & Greed Index
- BNB Price
- MATIC Price
Although not an official metric, the Fear & Greed Index (FGI) is widely used among crypto traders as a unit to measure the overall sentiment across the industry. The FGI is a score from 0 to 100 that classifies the market from Very Fearful (0) to Very Greedy (100). We compared the FGI to the number of unique users in the industry since April finding expected but interesting results.
We see an important upwards trend in industry-unique users in early April that experienced a downwards trajectory in mid-May. The FGI goes from Greedy to Fearful in a matter of days as a result of the crash in crypto prices. Naturally, the hype generated by the industry was interrupted by the dip in prices, halting the increasing trend in usage. Nonetheless, the unique users consolidated around 1 and 1.2 million daily users from the end of May to mid-July in a still fearful market. It was around the 20th of July when the industry started gaining traction, probably matching the NFT euphoria and supported by a recovery in cryptos which drove the FGI towards greed again.
Another analysis that reflects the latest state of the industry is the comparison between Ethereum’s gas price and the unique users in Ethereum, BSC, and Polygon. In our latest industry reports, we have emphasized the surge of the multichain paradigm caused by the need of having cheaper transaction fees and higher latency than those presented in Ethereum’s current version.
This movement gained strength as Ethereum reached historical gas prices. For instance, on May 12, one day after the gas price reached almost $300 GWei, BSC saw its adoption rise to 990,200 unique wallets. The fluctuations between both metrics remained constant until mid-July when play-to-earn games commenced their journey on the Binance network.
Once the community realized that there are options that could increase the investor’s utility, the market reacted accordingly. Initially, it was BSC that attracted thousands of blockchain users, but slowly they also recognized Polygon as another option in the industry. The multichain paradigm was clearly strengthened once Ethereum’s gas prices were at their peak and the rest is history.
Moreover, when analyzing DeFi and NFTs separately, we can draw some conclusions as well. Starting with DeFi, while there are obvious correlations between macro and blockchain variables like the price of a certain asset and the underlying Total Value Locked (TVL) of its protocol, the usage pattern in DeFi is closely tied to the price of its asset. For instance, the price of Ether still seems to dictate the trends of the DeFi landscape.
Whilst both BSC and Polygon have made enormous strides recently, Ethereum still leads all protocols in terms of TVL. The response of the market is as expected, whereas an increase in the price of the underlying asset, Ether, in this case, drives interest in the whole DeFi market eager for added gains.
On the other hand, the NFT space has yet to mark a trend in respect to its underlying asset. While the price of Ether is intrinsically volatile, the adoption, volumes, and usage of NFTs have only increased constantly. Although as of today there is no clear pattern between both indicators, it will be interesting to see how a more mature NFT space reacts to more substantial movements in the price of ETH.
Top Wallet Analysis – NFT Perspective
Finally, we analyzed the top 5 wallets that hold the most assets (NFTs) for five of Ethereum’s most important collections. As we have seen, the NFT space is constantly growing and evolving, thus analyzing the rationale behind the top holders of the most important collections may help understand the feeling around these NFT projects.
Collections under analysis
- Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC)
- Art Blocks
CryptoPunks have become the standard of NFTs and have been on a recent tear. The collections floor price has risen above $115,000 at the time of this writing, making these pixelated characters inaccessible to most of the industry users. As Punks are seen as units of storing value, it is natural to still see a high concentration ratio. The whale concentration index for CryptoPunks is around 9%, meaning that the top 5 holders own around 900 Punks or more than $103 million in this single collection.
On top of that, we also observed that Punk holders are very loyal to Larva Labs. Amongst the top 5 holders, there is not a single BAYC in the portfolios, while they own 948 Meebits and 388 Art Blocks respectively.
The whale concentration in Meebits (7.2%) is very similar to the one found in Punks. They also follow the same principle of avoiding BAYC. Two of the top 5 Meebit owners play the same role for CryptoPunks.
From the other collections in scope, BAYC is the most distributed. Only 4% of the total collection is owned by the Top 5 wallets and that number is probably going even lower. One of the biggest strengths of the BAYC has been its community. The Bored Apes’ main holders have been vocal on Twitter and Discord regarding the importance of onboarding as many owners as possible. The bigger the community, the stronger it might get. BAYC currently has more than 5,100 unique users, amongst the highest representative ratios (51%) in the entire NFT space. On the other hand, Avastars is the collection with the highest whale concentration index at 21%.
As the NFT space becomes more mature and consolidated, it will become natural and healthy to see those high whale concentrations decrease. Trends like the fractionalization of NFTs will probably result in a completely different scenario for the blue-chip collections, distributing the ownership from a few hands into thousands of investors.
Behavioral Finance is widely applied in traditional finance to identify patterns in human behavior to explain their economic decisions. Whilst there are glaring differences between blockchain and capital markets, there are also similarities that can be drawn. For instance, we clearly see that the smartphone penetration happening worldwide also translates to the blockchain industry where mobile devices are the preferred choice.
We also observe that the interest in our industry comes mainly from the US and Asia. Despite regulations, legislation, and miners’ exodus, individuals are becoming aware of the industry’s huge upside. Latest trends like the play-to-earn microeconomies are fueling the mass adoption narrative by evangelizing regions like the Philippines, Thailand, and Venezuela with notions about the potential of cryptos and blockchain as a whole.
Furthermore, we can assume that investors behave rationally in the crypto space. Decentralization plays a vital role as the democratization of assets brings trading to the masses. The market feels overconfident at times, resulting in active and speculative trading that boosts the whole industry in the everlasting seek for mass adoption. DeFi users are getting more involved in NFTs as the space capitalizes in different ways to reward users with added value and promising use cases for the near future.
After analyzing NFT whales for top Etherum collections, we also see a favorable behavior trend. While currently, the market hasn’t had any effect on the rising demand for NFTs, some crypto macro indicators are being affected by the NFT movement. Specifically, ETH gas price. We have seen for two weeks in a row how bidding wars in gas prices occur as users try to get their hands in popular collections like Stoner Cats, CryptoPunks, and more recently, PudgyPenguins. As collections become more diluted from a few wallets, NFTs are creating communities where real value beyond the digital space is being generated.
As discussed, we are clearly in front of an Efficient Rational Market present behind the industry, it is always important to DYOR (Do your own research). Avoiding deterministic and representative heuristics is key to success in this type of industry. Getting biased for some type of people or products can work in both ways, so it’s utterly important to deeply understand the logic behind the space.
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