Blockchain.info shows a graph of transactions excluding "long chains" of more than 10: https://blockchain.info/charts/n-transactions-excluding-chains-longer-than-10

This seems to indicate that ~68% of all transactions in bitcoin are part of long chains (which just means they changed hands more than 10 times in a day).

Tumbling is mentioned as one reason these chains are created, but I would like to explore this deeper. What other reasons might long chains be created?

  • Would gambling create long chains? (continuing to send to a service that pays out sporadically to you and others)
  • Are there other examples where two parties would legitimately want to transact between each other rapidly on blockchain?
  • How often does tumbling create long chains? I'm not familiar with which services are popular and how many rounds are recommended.

It would be interesting to understand what is causing the popularity of long chains in bitcoin right now. Thanks!

  • I wonder if blockchain.info's methodology might lead one to believe that long chains are more popular than they really are. For example, if you spend two prevouts, one directly from a coinbase tx and one from long chain of txs, what is the chain length of the new transaction? If they use the max of the chain lengths of all the inputs, then this could lead to sort of an 'spreading' of long chains, where a long chain being used as just one element of a transaction disqualifies that transaction from being counted in the 'transactions excluding long chains' category.
    – morsecoder
    Jun 2, 2015 at 15:00

1 Answer 1


There's an extensive discussion on long chains here.

A "long chain", as defined by bc.i, appears to be a transaction chain whose growth rate exceeds a target value in 24-hour period. Note that transaction chains are destined to become long over time. That's how chain of ownership works. It seems the thing bc.i wants to separate out is rapid velocity transactions.

A long chain requires that a coin is given to a payee, who quickly passes it on, and so on. It's a sign of either highly coordinated effort between multiple users (unlikely) or a single user shaving a coin by making rapid-succession payments.

There are many possible causes beyond the ones you cite. For example, the game SauruTobi supposedly used high-velocity transactions, and from what I understand, so does ChangeTip. Essentially, any direct-payout service can cause long change, which covers a lot of ground.

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