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It can be confusing for cryptocurrency newbies to learn that one of the oldest bitcoin companies, launched in 2011, is named Blockchain, and the distributed ledger technology on which bitcoin was built, in 2008, is called “blockchain.”
Nevertheless, Blockchain, the company, which is the world’s No. 1 provider of free wallet software for storing cryptocurrency, hit a significant milestone this week: 25 million customer wallets. (For the uninitiated: if you own cryptocurrency, you must store the access keys to your coins in a digital wallet— or to be extra cautious you can practice “cold storage” by using a hardware wallet.)
These days, the average American who is not steeped in crypto understanding, but decides they want to buy some bitcoin, is likely to head to Coinbase, the largest mainstream U.S. site for buying cryptocurrency. And until this year, Coinbase and Blockchain were not really competitors. Blockchain, which is headquartered in the UK, has long offered bitcoin buying services there, but not in the U.S., where about 40% of its users reside. This year, Blockchain has slowly begun rolling out the option to buy and trade bitcoin in the U.S.
And Blockchain’s 25 million wallets edge out Coinbase’s 20 million users. Twenty-five million is also more than the customer base of TD Ameritrade (11 million accounts) or Charles Schwab (9 million), Blockchain points out in a press note.
To be sure, Blockchain’s wallet count is not the same metric as individual users, since some users have multiple wallets. But 25 million global wallets still speak to the company’s staying power as the leading wallet provider. Blockchain is also known for blockchain.info, its free “blockchain explorer” site that shows real-time activity on the bitcoin blockchain.
“We’ve experienced unprecedented growth in the last few months,” a Blockchain spokesperson says. The company has raised $70 million in funding to date.
Blockchain has also made a slew of recent notable hires: Vice President of engineering Peter Wilson, formerly of Facebook and Google; head of institutional sales Breanne Madigan, formerly of Goldman Sachs; and head of research Garrick Hileman, a veteran of Allianz and Bank of America.
“Everyone should have some meaningful yet small allocation,” Blockchain CEO Peter Smith said on a panel at Yahoo Finance’s live cryptocurrency summit in New York on Feb 7. “You should buy crypto in amounts that you’re not worried about, and you should sell it whenever you start thinking about it once a day.”
Correction, June 2, 2018: The original version of this article stated that Coinbase had 13 million users as of November; Coinbase has in fact recently said it now has 20 million users. We’ve updated the story with the new number.
Daniel Roberts covers bitcoin and blockchain at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.