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Author Topic: How to track real-world bitcoin adaption?  (Read 3153 times)
johannl
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April 14, 2012, 08:46:03 AM
 #1

Hey guys,

for my little side project, it would be good if there was some kind of way to "measure" progress in the bitcoin adaption for real world applications.

By that I mean:

- normal people using bitcoin to for "normal" purchases (buying services, products)
- not bitcoin speculation/trading
- not mining

I feel like bitcoin price itself and also mtgox trading volume don't really work.

Ideas? Maybe the guy out there alrady running a bitcoin business can tell a little bit about how it eveolved over time in terms of customers.

thx
johann
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Stephen Gornick
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April 14, 2012, 09:54:46 AM
 #2

Here's a thread describing some recent uses:
 - http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=75621.0

The problem you are describing though is by design.  A pseudonymous digital currency does not give up much information -- which makes tracking real-world adoption difficulty, just as it is for tracking businesses that primarily use cash.

There are some businesses seeing fantastic success.  They are easy to spot because what happens is one starts to do well and grow and the next thing you know there are a half dozen competitors -- yet as they duke it out the better rise to the top and those not-as-nimble might just stagnate or fade away.

Here are some examples of the categories doing very well right now:

 - http://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Trade#Dedicated.2FVirtual_Server_Hosting  (Web Hosting)
 - http://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Trade#Connectivity (Anonymous VPN)
 - http://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Trade#Precious_.26_Base_Metals.2FCoins (Gold & Silver Bullion)

In hindsight these make sense.  Anonymous VPN, paid for anonymously.  Check.   Gold and silver, ... hard money being paid for using ... hard currency.  Check.

Then there is one single merchant that offers more than a quarter-million different items for sale even, including commercial items such as a case of packing tape:
 - http://www.bitcoindeals.com/shop/product/442983?p=0

But if you add up all the purchases each day through all these merchants, ... you are only counting a tiny fraction of the 8,000 or so transactions we are seeing each day.  That might be the answer to your question ..., bitcoin just hasn't made much progress when used as a merchant payment system that competes against a Visa/Mastercard, for instance.

Instead the vast majority of the thousands of transactions each day occur to move funds back and forth to the exchanges for speculation, transactions to move funds to the miners when they receive payments for what their rigs earn as well transactions when they move out of bitcoins and into cash.

Funds are moved person-to-person (similar to how PayPal person-to-person payments is performed), as well.

To a lesser degree, bitcoin is used for online gambling:
 - https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=75883.0
and for sending micropayments and tips:
 - http://BTCTip
and for buying new music:
 - http://www.CoinDL.com
and for trading in-game currencies person-to-person:
 - http://www.Ogrr.com
and for buying auctions when bids are succesful:
 - http://www.bitmit.net
and for ordering takeout:
 - https://www.eatgrubgo.com/bitcoin.htm
or delivery:
 - http://coincard.ndrix.com (Papa Johns)
or having dessert arrive in the mailbox:
 - http://www.mandrik.com
and for cigarettes:
 - http://www.cigs.eu
or the smokeless kind:
 - http://www.mandrik.com
and for sending a donation to a useful service:
 - http://archive.org/about/faqs.php#311
and for getting the ability to relax playing WOW:
 - http://bitcoincodes.com/index.php?unit=store&op=moreinfo&cat=7&info=10
and for paying rent:
 - http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=73712.0
and then, of course, let's not forget what was at one time Bitcoin's most famous merchant:
 - http://www.grasshillalpacas.com/alpacaproductsforbitcoinoffer.html (seller of Alpaca socks)

But mostly, ... Bitcoin today is used for transferring funds to and from the exchanges.  Speculators buying in and miners cashing out.

That's essentially the extent of it.

For now.

Stephen Gornick
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April 18, 2012, 01:27:46 AM
 #3

Just an update where some metrics are available:

Seals With Clubs poker.  I used to remember seeing 25 to 30 users online.  They're now over 50 quite often:
 - https://sealswithclubs.eu

Ogrr, 2,266 members.  They had around 1300 on Feb. 26th  That is about an 8% growth rate per-week.
 - http://www.thebitcointrader.com/2012_02_01_archive.html
 - https://ogrr.com

BitLotto jackpot is over 200 BTC (800 tickets) in under its first three weeks of a month.  That's a record (though there was a big better in the first few days):
 - http://bitlotto.com
 
Mt. Gox can't keep up with all the activity occurring through Dwolla:
 - https://mtgox.zendesk.com/entries/21290798-dwolla-delays
 - https://mtgox.zendesk.com/entries/21269668-outage-23824-dwolla-delays
(it's not Dwolla, its the balance Mt. Gox keeps with them / a cash management estimating problem)

BTCPak selling MoneyPaks at an increasingly faster rate.  $2K in its first week. Total so far well over $25K USD worth and more than 150 transactions.
 - http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=64805.msg853621#msg853621

BitInstant - Buy Bitcoins and send through e-mail service! In addition to being able to buy bitcoins using cash deposit at a bank for deposit at an exchange, you can now automatically have that purchase converted to bitcoins and sent via e-mail (thanks to new BTC->e-mail transfer service Coinapult.com )
 - http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=76863.0

1209K's betting site, which, like BitLotto, differs from others because the proof is in the blockchain, started seeing growth at 400% PER-DAY this week so the operator shut it down cut the max bet drastically fearing regulatory repercussions.
 - http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/segz0/anyone_want_to_run_my_bitcoin_casino

GLBSE v2 and MPEx exchanges.  You'ld think last week's "IPO" worth $50K USD would have sucked up all the excess bitcoins people wanted to invest.  No sir!   The price on that issue is up 50% from what the shares were going for privately just before the IPO.  And there've been IPOs since and they keep coming!
 - https://glbse.com/asset/view/GIGAMINING
 - https://glbse.com/ipos

tl;dr: Not everything bitcoin-related is turning golden, but there certainly are some rising stars!

publio
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April 18, 2012, 01:41:59 AM
 #4

There is a "bitcoin days destroyed" metric.  It may be a more reliable method than trading volume, to gauge real transaction volume.  I say may be, because there was some discussion on its viability a few months back.

See blockchain.info for graphs.

kjlimo
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April 19, 2012, 11:24:54 PM
 #5

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=35083.0

This is a summary of all the businesses accepting bitcoins. 

It's steadily growing, but I'd like to see the number go up faster than it currently is.

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/69/nooftraders150412.png/

There's less than 300 "new" businesses added to the stat since June and I'm not sure how much stock can be put into the starting number.


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