Sunday, December 15, 2013

Bitcoin Chart of the Day

Daily number of Bitcoin transactions versus Bitcoin market capitalization in dollars:

This chart shows a dramatic reduction in the total number of transactions, irrespective of size, per dollar of bitcoin’s market cap, from December 2012 – December 2013. In absolute terms, market cap has generally gone up, and the number of transactions has mostly just bounced around a lot. The total value of bitcoin is going up, but it’s mostly getting parked rather than being put to work. Apparently there just aren’t a lot of appealing ways to spend bitcoin, anecdotal news stories to the contrary notwithstanding.
Instead, an increasing amount of bitcoin’s putative value (as measured in USD) is being squirreled away by larger and larger miner-investors. It’s not fueling a diversifying, all-bitcoin economy: if it were, transactions would be keeping up with or even outpacing market cap, particularly if bitcoiners came to rely increasingly on bitcoins and decreasingly on dollars for day-to-day purchases. That’s very clearly not happening.
Instead, people are mining additional bitcoin, and speculators are buying in – and thus both of them are growing bitcoin’s notional market cap – but these folks simply aren’t adding all that much to the number of daily transactions. Even a bitcoin mining pool would only disburse its proceeds once, and if the individuals in the pool mostly just held their bitcoin, you’d get a graph a lot like the one above.
 Yes, it is a speculative bubble.  People are hording the things.  They won't hold their value.

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