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I'm creating a course on the Bitcoin on Udemy that serves as both an introduction to the bitcoin and also a source to explain how mining and speculation work. I'm working on lecture three which is on the bitcoin economy and I'm wondering what metrics I should include to explain how one can understand the bitcoin economy. So far I have the following:

Distribution of Wealth
Supply and Demand
Exchanges (by trade volume) Currencies exchanged for bitcoins
Pools (by hash volume) Oligarchiness (the influence any one group has on the bitcoin)

It appears that blockchain has the most accessible data for neophytes. Are there any other data pools you'd recommend for people to use?

  • To add a bit of data, my goal is to discuss the factors that have an impact on currency prices and then relate those factors to the Bitcoin. Then I will add Bitcoin specific factors into the fray to help people understand the Bitcoin price if they choose to speculate. – Charles Hoskinson Apr 17 '13 at 18:12
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Though it might not help much with economics, if you run a node then you can also gather information on orphaned blocks, IP addresses, and unconfirmed transactions (some of which may never confirm, if insufficient transaction fee is paid or the transaction size is too big).

Gathering statistics on Bitcoin is tough, as little can be collected reliably about Bitcoin users. Other questions have looked at that issue here and here.

It's generally impossible to even prove that particular bitcoins have not been destroyed (eg the exchange that apparently lost its wallet when Amazon EC2 crashed), though in some cases proof can be given they were destroyed (where bitcoins are sent to a particular address that nobody can realistically have the private key for). I suppose in that regard it's no different to cash.

You might also be able to get some idea of publicity and levels of user interest from activity levels on bitcointalk.org, reddit.com/r/bitcoin and Google search statistics

  • I have considered deploying some web scrapers using scrapy to collect some signals about Bitcoin commerce. The blockchain is also a wealth of information, but you are right about proof of destruction, which is why they created the bitcoin days destroyed. I suppose there should be a metric for hoarding within the community. – Charles Hoskinson Apr 18 '13 at 2:37
  • @CharlesHoskinson, no - bitcoin days destroyed tries to measure something else: the transaction volume. en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Bitcoin_Days_Destroyed – Highly Irregular Apr 18 '13 at 8:21
  • It is related however because you can see certain coins which have a very large BTCDD and infer that they might be dead. – Charles Hoskinson Apr 18 '13 at 16:14
  • @CharlesHoskinson, it would be the opposite I believe. If bitcoins are transacted (and thus adding to the BTCDD statistic for the network), it is some proof they still exist. "Days" are considered "Destroyed" when the bitcoins are transacted, so Bitcoins that have not been transacted for a long time would have a very low figure. You seem to be thinking of just the "Days" aspect of it. – Highly Irregular Apr 18 '13 at 19:09
  • I'm saying you assume all the accounts transacted today and measure the btcdd for each. Whatever is the highest in relation to size of the coins could be a dead coin – Charles Hoskinson Apr 18 '13 at 19:57

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