0

This figure can be derived by assuming that out of the 42 million bitcoin wallet addresses on the blockchain, several are no longer in use and that many users occupy several wallets.

Emphasis mine. This is just one example of countless where I've seen "several" used in a bizarre context.

42 million addresses and "several" are no longer in use? Um... What? When I hear or read "several", I think "two, three or maybe four". Not millions upon millions as must be the case here. In fact, what do they even mean by "in use"? You are supposed to use one receive address for each transaction. That's how Bitcoin is correctly used. Re-using the same one twice is considered fundamentally breaking the protocol, although it's still done by extremely careless people, or when it's necessary due to technical restrictions, such as it being printed in a magazine for accepting donations.

Can "several" mean "any number" now? Has that always been the case? Why do they use "several" when they mean "tons" or "many"? It really pisses me off to hear words used all wrong like this, but I'm still wondering if it may be right and I've just fundamentally misunderstood the word?

Note also that they then use "several" properly just a few words later...

Several people are alive on Earth. Several stars exist in the universe. Several rocks are found around mountains.

  • 'Several' is weird here, you are right. I suppose the writer didn't want to use 'many', and imply the greater proportion are no longer in use. – marcellothearcane Aug 24 '20 at 9:29
1

There are two uses of 'several' in one sentence here:

...out of the 42 million bitcoin wallet addresses on the blockchain, several are no longer in use and that many users occupy several wallets.

Let's examine the context. The OP did not state the origin of the text, but I have found it on a site called 'bitcoinjournal.com', which proudly states that it is 'trusted by over 100,000 blockchain investors'. I note in passing that this is a small percentage of 42 million.

The paragraph is at the end of an article headed 'How Many People Use Bitcoin in 2020?', which examines estimates from various sources and in a section titled 'So, How Many People Use Bitcoin? Here’s the Math!', attempts to answer that question. This title hardly suggests a rigorous approach, and the opening section blatantly, and ungrammatically, contradicts itself:

In light of the limited data and the impossibility of accurately determining the number of bitcoin users around the world, we can safely estimate that there will be around 25 million users globally.

The next paragraph contains the text in the OP, and seems to be guessing that, of 42 million wallet addresses, 25 million represent a 'fair estimate'. The phrase 'several million' (users not serviced by Coinbase) is used to justify this.

This it seems that the writer understands the meaning of 'several' but wrote, or edited, the article in haste, and should have placed 'million' after the first 'several' in the quoted sentence.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.