The Demographics of Bitcoin (Part 1 old)

These were the initial findings of the Bitcoin community survey, based on 102 responses.  Much better figures based on 1,000 responses are HERE.

Some highlights…

  • The average user is a 31.7 year old libertarian male.
  • Top motivators for new users are curiosity, profit, and politics.
  • Bitcointalk.org is the dominant community platform.
  • Far more people have used Bitcoin to make donations than to buy narcotics.
  • 39% of users do not drink, smoke, gamble, or take drugs.

The “average Bitcoin user” is male (95%), 31.7 years old, libertarian / anarcho-capitalist (37%), non-religious (57%), with a full time job (43%), that is in a relationship (52%).

Bitcoin User Age Range

Bitcoin User Age Range

But of course there is no such thing as an average Bitcoin user, and flattening out the figures like that ignores the large numbers of users who are left-leaning (30%), Christian (22%), and single (42%).

The arrival of new users correlates with price and media coverage, with Q2 2011 the most popular quarter for the question “When did you first install the Bitcoin client”.

The biggest motivation in exploring Bitcoin is curiosity (4.3/5), followed by profit (3.6/5) and politics (3.5/5). Trailing behind are practical concerns (3.2/5), community (2.8/5) and challenge (2.8/5).

The age distribution around the average of 31.7 is fairly balanced, with people in their late twenties slightly overrepresented. The standard deviation is 9.8 years.

The sample is too small to draw reliable conclusions about location and language, although the strong contingent of Russian and German Bitcoin users is already visible.

Miners

Distribution of Hash Rates

Distribution of hash rates among miners

Just over half of users have mined bitcoins, most of them as part of a mining pool. The average hash rate (using geometric mean) is 318 MH/s. The average miner has spent $3,126 on a rig, but the spread is huge, half of miners have spent nothing, while 4% have spent over $10,000.

How does a miner spend nothing? Well, 9% of respondents have mined bitcoins on someone else’s hardware, so that’s one way to do it.

Community

As expected Bitcointalk.org is the dominant platform of discussion, used by 68% of users. Reddit (43%) and Google+ (40%) also had a strong showing, while the classic IRC got a mere 23%.

The greatest community fear for Bitcoin is “reputation problems” (21%), followed by “regulatory/legal intervention” (17%). A large number of people answered “Other” and in the free-form field wrote to the effect that Bitcoin was too technically demanding for mainstream use.

The most common use of bitcoins was for gifts/donations (53%), while computer services was also quite high (44%). Only 9% of respondents have bought narcotics (using Bitcoin that is). In fact the community has a very large contingent of clean-living ascetics, 39% of respondents do not drink, smoke, take drugs, or gamble.

Overall more people seem to find Bitcoin intellectually rewarding (74% have learned more about cryptography) than socially rewarding (20% have made friends).

Here are the other graphical elements of the survey in full:

Which of the following roles might describe you (in relation to Bitcoin)?
User 85 83%
Miner 31 30%
Merchant (of BTC) 10 10%
Merchant (of other goods, accepting BTC) 14 14%
Investor 58 57%
Gambler 12 12%
Activist 29 28%
Researcher 19 19%
Developer 21 21%
Other 6 6%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.
When did you first install the Bitcoin client?
2009 Q1 2 2%
2009 Q2 1 1%
2009 Q3 1 1%
2009 Q4 0 0%
2010 Q1 4 4%
2010 Q2 3 3%
2010 Q3 1 1%
2010 Q4 2 2%
2011 Q1 9 9%
2011 Q2 17 17%
2011 Q3 7 7%
2011 Q4 9 9%
2012 Q1 6 6%
2012 Q2 8 8%
2012 Q3 11 11%
2012 Q4 7 7%
2013 Q1 9 9%
I have not yet installed the client. 5 5%
How important were the following motivations for your initial involvement with Bitcoin? – Practical Concerns
1 14 14%
2 17 17%
3 25 25%
4 21 21%
5 22 22%
How important were the following motivations for your initial involvement with Bitcoin? – Profit
1 11 11%
2 11 11%
3 18 18%
4 29 28%
5 30 29%
How important were the following motivations for your initial involvement with Bitcoin? – Curiosity
1 3 3%
2 5 5%
3 10 10%
4 25 25%
5 57 56%
How important were the following motivations for your initial involvement with Bitcoin? – Community
1 15 15%
2 21 21%
3 36 35%
4 20 20%
5 7 7%
How important were the following motivations for your initial involvement with Bitcoin? – Challenge
1 24 24%
2 17 17%
3 28 27%
4 19 19%
5 11 11%
How important were the following motivations for your initial involvement with Bitcoin? – Politics
1 19 19%
2 7 7%
3 14 14%
4 21 21%
5 37 36%

Demographics

What is your gender?
Female 3 3%
Male 97 95%
Other / Prefer not to answer 1 1%
What is your mother tongue?
English 54 53%
Mandarin 1 1%
Spanish 3 3%
Hindi 1 1%
Arabic 1 1%
Portuguese 2 2%
Bengali 0 0%
Russian 9 9%
Japanese 0 0%
Punjabi 0 0%
French 2 2%
German 9 9%
Italian 0 0%
Korean 0 0%
OTHER 20 20%

Acquiring Bitcoins

Have you mined any bitcoins?
Yes 52 51%
No 47 46%
MINERS ONLY — Are you part of a mining pool?
Yes 39 38%
No 17 17%

Using Bitcoins

What have you bought with your bitcoins?
Computer services / software / hosting 34 44%
Computer hardware 13 17%
Other legal goods 40 52%
Narcotics 7 9%
Other non-legal goods 3 4%
Gambling services 30 39%
Gifts / Donations 41 53%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

Community

Which of the following platforms have you used to discuss Bitcoin with others?
Bitcointalk.org 65 68%
Bitcoin.it Wiki 17 18%
Facebook 26 27%
Google+ 38 40%
IRC 22 23%
Quora 0 0%
Reddit 41 43%
StackExchange 8 8%
Twitter 19 20%
Other 10 11%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.
Have you committed any Bitcoin sins?
Stolen bitcoins 0 0%
Mined bitcoins on someone else’s hardware 9 75%
Other 3 25%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.
What is the largest obstacle to mass adoption of Bitcoin?
Market manipulation 14 14%
Computer (in)security 14 14%
Regulatory/legal intervention 17 17%
Reputation problems 21 21%
Rival crypto-currency 3 3%
Risk of 51% attack 2 2%
Other 31 30%

Politics, Religion, Lifestyle

Page 3/3
Which of these closest matches your political views?
Anarchist / Syndicalist / Anarcho-Collectivist 9 9%
Communist / Marxist 4 4%
Socialist / Social Democrat / Left-of-Centre 16 16%
Liberal / Progressive Democrat 19 19%
Green / Environmentalist / Ecologist 1 1%
Centrist / Moderate / Swing Voter 7 7%
Conservative / Traditionalist / Right-of-Centre 5 5%
Libertarian / Anarcho-Capitalist 38 37%
Nationalist / Nativist 0 0%
Monarchist / Imperialist 0 0%
Theocratic 1 1%
Which of these most closely describe your religious beliefs?
Agnostic 20 20%
Atheist 38 37%
Buddhist 5 5%
Christian 22 22%
Confucian 0 0%
Hindu 0 0%
Jewish 1 1%
Muslim 1 1%
Pagan 1 1%
Shinto 0 0%
Sikh 0 0%
Spiritualist 4 4%
Taoist 0 0%
Other 10 10%
What is your employment status?
Self-employed 22 22%
Full-time employed 44 43%
Part-time employed 4 4%
Contracting 1 1%
Freelance 3 3%
Full-time student 14 14%
Homemaker 0 0%
Unemployed 6 6%
Retired 1 1%
Other 7 7%
What is your marital status?
Single 43 42%
In a relationship 21 21%
Engaged 5 5%
Married 27 26%
Separated 0 0%
Divorced 4 4%
Widowed 0 0%
It’s complicated… 1 1%
Which of the following habits do you have?
Drink alcohol 55 56%
Smoke cigarettes 19 19%
Smoke cannabis 18 18%
Consume other narcotics 8 8%
Gamble 10 10%
None of the above 38 39%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

And finally…

Which of the following things have happened because of Bitcoin?
Met new people. 42 43%
Made new friends. 19 20%
Bought new hardware. 21 22%
Spent a lot of money. 19 20%
Made a lot of money. 37 38%
Learned about cryptography / encryption. 72 74%
Learned about security / anonymization / TOR. 64 66%
Learned about the law. 41 42%
Learned about markets and finance. 74 76%
Other 9 9%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

Finally, here is the obligatory wordle based on users’ “favourite aspect of Bitcoin.”

Users's favourite aspects of Bitcoin

Words used in descriptions of “favourite aspects of Bitcoin”

You can also download the raw data to play with.  As the survey is still open, the data may differ slightly from the snapshot above taken after 102 responses.

I’m still just getting to grips with Bitcoin, and considering it as a dissertation topic.  If you enjoyed this survey feel free to send a few satoshis my way to play with.
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19 responses to “The Demographics of Bitcoin (Part 1 old)

  1. Pingback: Results of Bitcoin community survey | Bitcoin News Bits - CoinBits.com·

  2. Pingback: Bitcoin Survey - The Demographics of Bitcoin (Part 1) - Bitcoiney Bitcoin Directory·

  3. Pingback: Survey - The Demographics of Bitcoin (Part 1) - Unofficial Network·

  4. Just put my data in , we should see at least 10 000 people participating to get the real picture.
    This is great idea-keep it going.

    • It now has 264 responses… 10,000 may be a bit ambitious! I would be more than happy with 1,000. That’s the kind of number that in a random sampling gives a margin of error of 3% (at confidence level of 95%). Not that I’m claiming our sampling is random.

      • You’re up to 627 responses as of 2013-03-08. If you graph the new data, maybe overlay the original data too, I am curious how well the first responders tracked the later responders!

        • I posted an update here.

          There was surprisingly little difference between the initial responders and the later responders. A few slight distinctions:

          - Google+ users were quicker to respond (possibly because they were more comfortable on a survey which uses Google Forms?)
          - Later results had more miners
          - Early responders were slightly more likely to identify as left-wing, later responders were more likely to identify as “green”

  5. Pingback: The Demographics of Bitcoin (Part 1) | Peer2Politics | Scoop.it·

  6. Does the article auto-update whenever there is new data? It would be nice to see how the numbers change. It could also be used as a reference.

    • I’m afraid it doesn’t auto update. I will post an update when the numbers pass 500 (which should happen in the next day or two).

  7. Thank you very much for this survey!

    If you have gathered more statistics (I am sure you will get them) I would be interested
    in analyses concerning the following aspects:

    Do the motiviatons of certain groups (Americans Russians Germans … ) to use
    bitcoins differ ? I expect all our preconceptions to be approved (I am German).

    What the hell do the female bitcoin users do expect from bitcoin.

    Go ahead, A.

    • Hi Andreas, I will take a look and see if there are any major differences. I think US, German, and Russian are the only groups big enough to look at individually.

  8. Pingback: The Demographics of Bitcoin (Part 1 updated) | Space Druid·

  9. I will blog about this on my Blog tomorrow and I just filled in the data. I really do hope that more and more people will be using Bitcoin to emancipate them from the current Oligarchic Banking systems that have crippled the world at Large.

  10. In the politics poll, you should change the first option where it says “Anarchist” to “Anarcho-Syndicalist”. Since Anarcho-Capitalism is also a form of “Anarchism”. In the third option, you should remove “Socialist” as all three options (from top to third) are examples/variations of Socialism.

    In the religion poll, you should remove the “Pagan” option, since several of the listed religions are examples of paganism. If by “Pagan” someone means ancient forms of paganism not listed, they can simply choose “Other”.

  11. Pingback: Survey – The Demographics of Bitcoin (Part 1) | Mocco·

  12. Pingback: Bitcoin Demographics community Crypto()CurrencyCrypto()Currency·

  13. Pingback: Bitcoin Bible and I | elcidharth·

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