a survey of Bitcoin charts, 2012-07-22

The price of Bitcoin has zoomed up in the last couple of months, since the end of May, from around $5/ⓑ to around $9/ⓑ:


This doubtless both reflects increased interest in Bitcoin from the broader world and also stimulates increased interest.

Here are some other measurements related to Bitcoin.

currency exchange trade volume

First, trade volume on the currency exchanges. This is the sum of the values of trades of Bitcoin in exchange for some other currencies, summed up over the course of one week. The overall pattern is that trade volume has been increasing in recent weeks and is at or near and all-time high for most currencies, but not for USD.

BTC ↔ USD — ~$3.0M/week


In the most recent week for which there is complete data, more than $6.5M changed hands in trades of Bitcoin for United States Dollars. Adding in some other exchanges which also allow trades of BTC for USD (not shown), it comes up to about $7.0M in the most recent week. This, however, is an outlier and to my eyes there is no major trend over the last year. The more typical weeks saw less than $3.0M per week.

BTC ↔ EUR — ~$370K/week

In constrast to USD, for which a single exchange ("mtgox") dominates and accounts for more than 90% of all trades, there are several exchanges handling a substantial fraction of trade of Bitcoin for Euros:




Summed together, these show a clear trend of increasing weekly trade volume of ⓑ↔€, from ~€90K (~$120K) per week through most of the year 2012, rising over the last couple of months to ~€455 (~$550K) in the most recent week.

BTC ↔ SLL — ~$185K/week

For reasons obscure to me, one of the biggest currencies that is exchanged for Bitcoin is "Linden Dollars" from the "Second Life" multiplayer virtual world:


The trend is upward, the trade volume has been more consistent week after week than most other currencies, and the volume for the most recent week was almost SLL 50M (~$185K) per week.

If I'm eyeballing this page correctly:


It looks like SLL is exchanged for EUR at a volume of ~€100M (~$80M) per week‽ And USD at ~35M per week‽

BTC ↔ GBP — ~$125K/week

There are two exchanges where you can trade Bitcoin for British Pounds:



The trend is definitely up over the course of the year, recently reaching ~£200K (~$125K) per week.

BTC ↔ CAD — ~$60K/week

There are two exchanges where you can trade Bitcoin for Canadian Dollars:



Adding the two together shows a definite trend of increasing trade volume. The most recent week is an outlier at ~CAD 100K (~USD 100K), with the weeks before that being at about ~CAD 60K (~USD 60K) per week.

BTC ↔ CNY — ~$24K/week


In the last two weeks of May there was an unusually high volume of trades of ⓑ↔¥. The last week of May saw ~¥750K exchanged (~$120K). However, even disregarding those two weeks as outliers, it looks to me like the weekly volume of  ⓑ↔¥ has grown from ~¥50K (~$8K) to ~¥150K (~$24K).

That's nothing compared to the volume of ⓑ↔$, of course, but it is an interesting trend, and it is interesting to wonder who is trading Bitcoin for Chinese Renminbi and why.

total transaction fees per day and estimated transaction volume per day


This is anemic! Serving as a transaction processor ("miner") currently means you are competing with all the other transaction processors on the globe for a share of a measely ~ⓑ20 (~$180) per day.

(The transaction processors currently also get, independent of transaction fees, a reward of ~ⓑ7200 newly minted Bitcoin (~$65K) per day shared out among them probabilistically in proportion to their computational contribution. That reward is due to become smaller and smaller over time, starting later this year when it will drop to ~ⓑ3600/day.)

Contrast with this chart which shows how much money people are moving from one person to another by means of Bitcoin payments:


This number can't be known for certain, so what we are looking at here is an estimate provided by the folks at blockchain.info. They estimate that ~$1.5M worth of Bitcoin per day changes hands.

(Note: all of the "currency exchange trade volume" discussion above is about people trading BTC for other currencies, like USD. This one is about people sending BTC to one another over the Internet.)

nodes connected to the network


This has declined throughout 2012 but seems to be leveling off around 15,000. Note: this does not mean there are 15,000 users or customers of Bitcoin! This number would probably be better understood as the number of redundant servers on the Bitcoin network. Any one server could probably serve at least tens of thousands of users/customers. The fact that there are 15,000 redundant servers distributing the ledger across the world and cross-checking one another's correctness — that is awesome.

total combined power of transaction processors (miners)


The total combined hashing power dedicated to validating Bitcoin transactions and preventing double-spends is approaching the high that it experienced during the first Bitcoin boom in mid-2011. This is while the price of Bitcoin in USD is still around 1/3 of what it was at its height that summer. This seems like an encouraging sign -- the amount of hash power dedicated to ensuring the safety of transactions is as high as it has ever been even without the high reward and high stakes.

transaction confirmation times


This is a live view of the network so it changes every time you look at it, but it typically shows that thousands of transactions have been posted in the last few hours, that most of them were confirmed within the first half hour, and that a few of them took hours to be confirmed.

Bitcoin market capitalization in USD


This number is the total number of Bitcoin generated up until a certain time multipled by the USD/BTC exchange rate at that time. This is a better number to look at than just the price (which we started with at the beginning of this note), because new Bitcoin is generated continuously at a rate of about ⓑ7200 per day. So if the price held constant, this would suggest that the demand for Bitcoin was increasing at the same rate as this increase of supply.

On the other hand, this number does not reflect Bitcoin that is lost forever due to people accidentally deleting their private keys. Unfortunately, we have no measure of how much that has happened. That phenomenon means that there is an unknown rate at which the supply of Bitcoin is being reduced, counter to the known rate at which the supply is increasing.

Anyway, the graph is very interesting.

The absolute value of USD on the Y axis needs to be taken with a grain of salt — multiplying the total volume of Bitcoin ever created until today times the most recent trade price for USD suggests that the value of all Bitcoin ever created is ~$85M. But that statement is kind of meaningless — if you owned all of the Bitcoin in the world, you couldn't sell it for $85M. So, that number is meaningful only as a reference to itself at other times, if that.

previous posts in this series

Here are some of my greateat hits/misses in posting about Bitcoin:

• 2011-11-14 "Oh boy, the price of Bitcoin in USD has fallen to $2.20.com. If I had any more USD to risk I would be all over that." — https://plus.google.com/108313527900507320366/posts/dPvh9mZdpmG

• 2011-12-19 Bitcoin rising from its own ashes — https://plus.google.com/108313527900507320366/posts/QDga9NM3Dgp

• 2011-12-22 the Bitcoin protocol in one lesson — https://plus.google.com/108313527900507320366/posts/GFrJHiYfPAG

• 2012-04-30 Bitcoin miners deploying FPGA — https://plus.google.com/108313527900507320366/posts/2ztAhLnXQKm

• 2012-05-11 a Botnet herder mining Bitcoin — https://plus.google.com/108313527900507320366/posts/1oi1v7RxR1i

Disclosure: the author owns some Bitcoin
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