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If you are a company wanting to adopt bitcoin as a payment method or an academic wanting to study the bitcoin market it is important to know as much as possible about the bitcoin users. Since bitcoin is pseudonomous it is hard to gather direct information on the users. However, if users want to make transactions then they need to broadcast to the network. Although the IPs are not stored in the block-chain, there are ways to learn them. With the IP addresses, it is possible to use IP Geolocation to get an idea of where the user is. Hence the question:

Is there data available on the geographic location of users of bitcoin? Especially on volume of bitcoin transactions from given geographic areas?

Or is it impossible or unlikely that such data can be gathered? If the majority of users use Tor for instance, then it would not be possible to get a good location data. Are there other technical constraints that make it impossible to use this or other approaches to learn the geographic locations of a large number of users?


Meta note

Since bitcoin is new, it is possible that such data is unavailable yet just due to the novelty. Please don't provide such answers, we can just wait until such a study is done and given as an answer. A 'no' answer is interesting only if it explains a technical constraint that would stop such studies from ever happening.

Also, it is possible for a committed user to invest effort in order to hide their location. However, unless there is reason to believe that most users use such efforts, this is also not a very relevant answer.

This question is an attempt to turn our lowest voted question into a legitimate specific question.

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This shows bitcoin nodes based on IP address location.

http://www.weusecoins.com/globe-bitcoin/ (UPDATE: link is broken)

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    You say "(miners)" but also "bitcoin nodes". Is this just miners or everyone running a client? – D.H. - bitcoin.se Sep 7 '11 at 17:19
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    It is bitcoin nodes. This actually won't include many miners as they tend to use mining pools and don't necessarily run Bitcoin nodes. – David Schwartz Sep 13 '11 at 16:47
  • Here is a map showing where bitcoin meetup groups have formed around the world. bitcoin.meetup.com – osmosis Sep 21 '11 at 4:10
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    Your link is not working anymore. I found two others, although I dont really know if they tell the same: blockchain.info/nodes-globe and bitcoinglobe.com – Kozuch Nov 12 '13 at 8:26
  • This is why we typically prefer explanations rather than just pasting in a link. – David Perry Feb 10 '14 at 10:40
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Quote from question:

Also, it is possible for a committed user to invest effort in order to hide their location. However, unless there is reason to believe that most users use such efforts, this is also not a very relevant answer.

It's not likely that most people will try to hide their location but it's still pretty likely that the location of nodes won't reflect the location of users. Computer usage today is more and more about web applications and less about downloading programs so it's not a wild guess that online wallets will be the choice of most "regular users".

The best source for location data about bitcoin users in the future might prove to be visitor statistics from Bitcoin web sites (merchants, e-wallets, exchanges etc.).

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Check this out - the Country of Host charts shows a geo distribution of p2p clients over time. The site has loads of other interesting stats.

  • interesting link, but bad answer since it provides zero-context for the link. I think you should give a little summary of what we find on the other side of that link. – Artem Kaznatcheev Sep 8 '11 at 9:07
  • @Artem - right you are. Corrected. – ripper234 Sep 8 '11 at 9:39
  • Your link is broken... – jorijnsmit Mar 5 '15 at 21:06
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BitNodes.co shows a global map of Bitcoin nodes.

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I looked at this back in 2011. It was easier then as Bitcoin clients used to all connect to an IRC channel:

http://41j.com/blog/2011/09/the-distribution-of-bitcoin-users/

Overall the majority of clients were in the US and Germany at that point.

  • Interesting blog post! However, you could perhaps extend your post here a bit. By the way, if you consider population size, the US isn't that "far ahead to everyone else": Your numbers divided by population sizes give e.g. 8,68 clients per one million inhabitants in the US and 10,77 clients per million inhabitants in Germany. – Murch Mar 5 '15 at 13:13
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There are a number of sources for geographic distribution data, depending on your specific needs. There is an extra-fancy WebCL globe with sort of a 3D bar graph showing node density, a simpler Google maps mashup for those who don't have (or don't need) WebCL and of course neither of those could exist without raw data (KML format).

All data is based on IP address geolocation of individual nodes.

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    nice answer, but it refers to the same data as osmosis' answer from 9 hours before your answer. Why not just edit his answer to add these relevant links? – Artem Kaznatcheev Sep 7 '11 at 20:15

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