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Author Topic: What happens when the difficulty and popularity reach a extreme?  (Read 2097 times)
psknives
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May 09, 2011, 03:52:10 PM
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Already with under 40,000 users we are getting weird spikes on the market and difficulty. When do you think that the difficulty would rise so much that even a 6990 won't be getting barely anything.

I am using BTCGUILD until deepbit fixes their shit.
http://deepbit.net/userbar/4dc06de38161971bf8000006_45368c65ca.png
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kiba
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May 09, 2011, 03:54:46 PM
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Yes.

MemoryDealers
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May 09, 2011, 03:59:03 PM
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How can I check how many total bitcoin users there are?
It would be interesting to track how quickly the user base is growing.

proudhon
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May 09, 2011, 04:00:08 PM
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What counts as "barely anything" sort of depends on the market.  At a difficulty of 2,000,000 my 6990 will be bringing in something like 0.01BTC/hour which wouldn't be "barely anything" if the exchange rate were, say, $100/BTC.  

*I don't think the exchange rate will be $100/BTC at that difficulty.  I think it'll be much, much lower.
SgtSpike
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May 09, 2011, 04:08:35 PM
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I think we're certainly looking at a point in the near future where mining will become completely unprofitable, just due to electrical costs.  At that point, a lot of the miners will drop out, and the difficulty rate will stabilize to a semi-profitable state.  Whether that semi-profitable rate is twice the cost of electricity or only 10-20% above it, well, we'll just have to see when we get there.
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May 09, 2011, 04:23:10 PM
 #6

The electricity doesn't cost all that much compared to the mining hardware, so I think the increase in difficulty compared to BTC/USD will almost stop before it comes completely unprofitable most places. It will probably get close enough that you can't earn back the money for a new system before it's outdated, though.
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May 09, 2011, 04:31:33 PM
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The electricity doesn't cost all that much compared to the mining hardware, so I think the increase in difficulty compared to BTC/USD will almost stop before it comes completely unprofitable most places. It will probably get close enough that you can't earn back the money for a new system before it's outdated, though.
Good point, true enough.  I suppose the only reason that difficulty is increasing right now is that people are buying new hardware to mine with.  There might continue to be a slight increase as people with existing high-end AMD cards may want to join in on the fun, but there will be a certain point of profitability where people will simply stop buying additional hardware, in fear of it not being able to pay for itself.
Stephen Gornick
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May 09, 2011, 09:14:13 PM
 #8

How can I check how many total bitcoin users there are?
It would be interesting to track how quickly the user base is growing.

That's the thing with a pseudonymous digital currency where each user has zero, one or many pseudonyms -- it is darn hard to measure.

And even if you knew how many users of the bitcoin software there are, those using an eWallet such as MyBitcoin and those using bitcoin only on the exchanges such as Mt. Gox won't count individually in those numbers either.

Here are some metrics however:
  Map showing IP addresses and locations where bitcoin nodes are running
  - http://maps.google.com/maps?q=https://smsz.net/btcStats/bitcoin.kml

  Node counts
  http://smsz.net/btcStats/accepting

  I get:
  {"up":"1317","down":"5611","unknown":"61","total_known":6928,"total":6989,"rate_accepting":0.19009815242494}

  That snapshot shows:
   1,317 have their firewall configured to allow incoming (or now with the latest client have UPnP enabled) and are running bitcoin software (or have run in within the past hours.  A total of 6,989 nodes have been announcing themselves and relaying transactions.  This 6,989 number is easy to spoof however.

There are about a 1,000 downloads of the bitcoin client each day now (average over past 30 days):
  http://sourceforge.net/projects/bitcoin/files/Bitcoin/stats/timeline?dates=2011-04-10+to+2011-05-09

Trends, rather than actual totals are easier to measure:
  
  http://stats.bitcoin.it/rrd/nodes_total-year.png


  
  http://www.google.com/trends?q=bitcoin&date=2011&sort=0

Real-time stats as far as transactions, trades, and mining (block generation):
  http://bitcoinmonitor.com

Volume of trading on the leading exchange (this view is of volume in terms of USDs traded, not BTCs):
  http://bitcoincharts.com/charts/mtgoxUSD#rg90zigDailyzvzcvzm1g10zm2g25

Alas, the real metric that matters, in my opinion, is likely going to take some method of analysis to provide a meaningful result -- that being the amount spent / transaction volume.  Because most transactions have a change transaction it is difficult to know the actual amount of bitcoins spent.  For instance, a transaction where there is a 112 BTC input and two outputs, one at 2 BTC and the other at 110 BTC -- how much was spent?  Because we don't know which one was the change, picking the wrong one could result in being off by a factor of 55, in this particular instance.

And that number could be spoofed as well.   Someone can send their 10K BTC back and forth between two of their wallets all day.  The result will be huge volume ... but there was no real spending occuring.  One method proposed was to compute each transactions "days destroyed" as the result of the spending, which seems would yield some very good metrics.  Though it has not been developed, or at least not shared publicly that I know of:
  http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=6172.0

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