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Crypto Trading and Bitcoin Prices: Evidence from a New Database of Retail Adoption


  • Raphael Auer
  • Giulio Cornelli
  • Sebastian Doerr
  • Jon Frost
  • Leonardo Gambacorta
  • Raphael A. Auer


Prices for cryptocurrencies have undergone multiple boom-bust cycles, together with ongoing entry by retail investors. To investigate the drivers of crypto adoption, we assemble a novel database (made available with this paper) on retail use of crypto exchange apps at daily frequency for 95 countries over 2015–22. We show that a rising Bitcoin price is followed by the entry of new users. About 40% of these new users are men under 35, commonly identified as the most “risk-seeking” segment of the population. We confirm these findings by exploiting two exogenous price shocks: the crackdown of Chinese authorities on crypto mining in mid-2021 and the social unrest in Kazakhstan in early 2022. Moreover, we find that when prices rise retail investors buy, while the largest holders sell — making a return at the smaller users’ expense. Overall, back of the envelope calculations suggest that around three-quarters of users have lost money on their Bitcoin investments.

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  • Raphael Auer & Giulio Cornelli & Sebastian Doerr & Jon Frost & Leonardo Gambacorta & Raphael A. Auer, 2023. "Crypto Trading and Bitcoin Prices: Evidence from a New Database of Retail Adoption," CESifo Working Paper Series 10266, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_10266

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Schilling, Linda & Uhlig, Harald, 2019. "Some simple bitcoin economics," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 16-26.
    2. Auer, Raphael & Tercero-Lucas, David, 2022. "Distrust or speculation? The socioeconomic drivers of U.S. cryptocurrency investments," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
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    8. Fujiki, Hiroshi, 2020. "Who adopts crypto assets in Japan? Evidence from the 2019 financial literacy survey," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 58(C).
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    Cited by:

    1. Chen, S. & Doerr, S. & Frost, J. & Gambacorta, L. & Shin, H.S., 2023. "The fintech gender gap," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 54(C).
    2. Hokkanen, Topi, 2023. "Externalities and market failures of cryptocurrencies," BoF Economics Review 4/2023, Bank of Finland.
    3. Katherine Baer & Ruud A. De Mooij & Shafik Hebous & Michael Keen, 2023. "Taxing Cryptocurrencies," CESifo Working Paper Series 10372, CESifo.
    4. Karau, Sören, 2023. "Monetary policy and Bitcoin," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 137(C).

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    More about this item


    Bitcoin; cryptocurrencies; cryptoassets; regulation; decentralised finance; DeFi; retail investment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E51 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • L50 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - General
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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