Last week when I discussed seven reasons why Bitcoin is probably not a good alternative for virtual worlds, one of them was, “Hardly anyone seems to use Bitcoin”. This chart linked to by Bitcoin’s own Wiki seems to strengthen that claims. According to the Wiki, “[t]he best estimation [of users] is to count how many Bitcoin clients connected to the network in the last 24 hours… The estimate as of September 2011 is about 60,000 users.” As of July 2012, however, that number has decreased quite a lot:
Less than 10 months later, it’s under 15,000 total. Now, 60,000 was not even a lot — about 400,000 people use Linden Dollars on a monthly basis — and 15,000 is far less than that. (Ironically, 15,000 is about the number of people who use OpenSim-based grids.) Bitcoin has its defenders — its very, very, very ardent defenders — but this lack of usage is probably the failing that’s most difficult for them to finesse. The virtual currency may have enormous potential and power, but if hardly anyone’s using it (and usage has been dropping rapidly), any value it has quickly becomes moot. Like David Mamet once wrote, “Everybody needs money. That’s why they call it money.” But they only call it money if everybody does.
In Comments, a number of Bitcoin advocates point to this Bitcoin platform usage chart, which shows less than 25,000 Bitcoin transactions a day, which suggests the number of unique users is less than that (since many likely transact more than once a day.) “Less than 25,000 daily Bitcoin users does seem like a fair estimate as far as the use of Bitcoins as a token of exchange goes,” reader Joel Kaartinen writes. “However, the actual number of people who have Bitcoins is bound to be much larger. For example, I, personally, have a small investment as Bitcoins. I use them (make a transaction) perhaps once, maybe twice a month.” That’s probably true, but it still points to an extremely small number of users who use Bitcoin on a regular basis.
Wow Brian, I really hope you’re trolling and not actually as naive as you let on.
There’s a big difference between historical users, which you link indicates, and active users, which Wagner’s data indicates.
You also can’t add the numbers together, because logically any active users of the My Wallet service are already counted in the count of active users of the BitCoin network itself.
Wagner’s quote is also quite true: Money is anything that others will call money, in other words it’s anything that others will take in return for goods and services. If nobody is taking BitCoin (“nobody” here being used in the general sense), then it ceases to be considered money.
Clients use to do native mining so when they were Socialverse connected, they were actually attempting to make money for the user. This is not the case any longer and it is now considered a vulnerability to keep your client connected 24 hours a day. On top of that, there are many clients that do not even require their own blockchain so there is no reason or context to be “connected” or even track-able.
A comment was a bit outre for a cocktail party, and was escorted outside to calm down awhile.
I’m far from a Bitcoin expert, so maybe I’m missing something, but it seems to me quoting Bitcoin’s own wiki is the most reliable thing to do here. And the Bitcoin wiki says the currency had 60K users last year, and the link it references says it’s now less than 15K.
That graph is perhaps the only graph that could be construed as showing diminishing use of Bitcoin. Unfortunately, that is an illusion as it only shows a part of the whole picture.
That graph shows the amount of users still using the original Bitcoin software. That is, the number of users still contributing a significant amount of storage and bandwidth for the bitcoin-network.
For example, here’s a graph that shows an entirely different picture. The number of unique Bitcoin addresses that were used on any given day as a graph.