The Demographics Of Bitcoin

Tyler Durden's picture

With the growing popularity and perhaps relevance of a globally decentralized currency system in a world adrift in fiat devaluation death-matches, it is perhaps interesting to understand just who these Bitcoin'ers are? The ongoing survey of Bitcoin users (here) has some intriguing results already: The 'average Bitcoin user' is male (96%), 32.7 years old, libertarian / anarcho-capitalist (37%), non-religious (61%), with a full time job (43%), and is in a relationship (56%). The biggest motivation for new users are curiosity, profit, and politics; and 39% of users do not drink, smoke, gamble, or take drugs. Just over half of users have mined bitcoins and the greatest community fear for Bitcoin is “regulatory/legal intervention” followed by ”reputation problems”. Overall more people seem to find Bitcoin intellectually rewarding (70% have learned more about cryptography) than socially rewarding (22% have made friends).


Via Space Druid,

Wait: If you haven’t filled out this survey please do so HERE! I will continue to draw on this dataset for future posts, and it is open for others to use, so by responding you are contributing to a community resource.

Some highlights…

  • The average user is a 32.7 year old libertarian male.
  • Top motivators for new users are curiosity, profit, and politics.
  • 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 (96%), 32.7 years old, libertarian / anarcho-capitalist (37%), non-religious (61%), with a full time job (43%), and is in a relationship (56%).

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 Christian (20%) or single (37%).  Also by using the broadest possible terms (ie including liberals and environmentalists), you get a left-of-centre contingent with over 45% of users.

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 (3.7/5) and politics (3.5/5). Trailing behind are practical concerns (3.1/5), challenge (2.9/5), and community (2.7/5).

The age distribution around the mean average of 32.7 is fairly balanced, with people in their late twenties slightly overrepresented. The mode is 31 years and standard deviation is 10.5 years.


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 $3,188 on a rig, but the spread is huge.  The median spend is $500, 35% of miners have spent nothing, while 8% have spent $10,000 or more.

How does a miner spend nothing? Well almost 10% of respondents have mined bitcoins on someone else’s hardware, so that’s one way to do it.


As expected is the dominant platform of discussion, used by 76% of users. Reddit (39%) also had a strong showing, while the classic IRC got a mere 24%.  Google+ had a strong showing among early respondents which is now somewhat dwindled, at 18%.

The greatest community fear for Bitcoin is “regulatory/legal intervention” (29%) followed by ”reputation problems” (19%).  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 (55%), while computer services was also quite high (38%).  Only 11% of respondents have bought narcotics (using Bitcoin that is). In fact the community has a 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 (70% have learned more about cryptography) than socially rewarding (22% have made friends).

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




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


Words used in descriptions of “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 533 responses.


Source: Space Druid

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Mongo's picture

Freedom as big as Currency on that word cloud ... Only BitCoin can do that.

blabam's picture

You can have all the currency you want! I'll take the gold. 

espirit's picture

I stopped reading at "libtards".

SeverinSlade's picture

How would bitcoin fare in the event that gov shut down/controlled ever facet of the internet?

TruthInSunshine's picture

I applaude those amongst the bitcoin crowd who see the current system for what it truly is, and sincerely wish to rectify a tragic crime in the form of fractional reserve fiat circulatory monopoly, but I can't get behind bitcoin because it appears to be anything but transparent, and it seeks to replace one form of "faith" fiat with merely another form of "faith" fiat.

Half_A_Billion_Hollow_Points's picture

So get the fuck out of bitcoin.  Don't buy any of it.  I want to accumulate 2100 btc, which will mean 10,000 people in the globe can equal my stash. 


Just get the fuck out of bitcoin if you will.  


As for transparency, nothing could be more transparent, TiS: Open source and open transactions: will show you all bitcoin transactions.

SeverinSlade's picture

bitcoin only retains value while others are willing to accept it as payment. short supply means nothing.

Half_A_Billion_Hollow_Points's picture

what the fuck


People don't even know about bitcoin yet.  When the Japanese and the Brits find out that hyperinflation is their tomorrow, they'll migrate en masse.    Does a single person in this site trust fiat?


Bitcoin is the new swiss numbered account.  Totally protected, zero inflationary surprises, and anonymous if you know how.  


It's for the rich and smart, not everyone.

TruthInSunshine's picture

 "It's for the rich and smart, not everyone."

Man, it's sentences/phrases like that which set of the warning bells.

I'm not saying Bitcoin is or isn't [fill in the blank since I haven't remarked on its substance in depth], but those words are Madoff-rific.



Inner circle.

You should be so lucky.


Half_A_Billion_Hollow_Points's picture


That's because you have to:


  • Take the time to understand how the internet destroys everything on its path;
  • Take the time to understand that gov'ts have crossed a bridge then burned it, they can't shut down the internet without major infrastructure and supply chain cascading collapses; the Internet is now one of those "hubs" described in the FEASTA "trade-off"paper;  
  • Take the time to understand one-way cryptography and public key cryptography;
  • Take the time to understand that if you want to steal a bitcoin, it's as easy as breaking the RIPEMD function of the result of the SHA256 function of the result of the private key; you might as well be the greatest discrete mathematician of all time if you can break these three tried-and-proven methods **simultaneously**. 
  • Take the time to understand that govt's transferred the risks from banks to fiat, and high inflation and banking holidays lie ahead;
  • Take the time to understand that 1 bitcoin is (today) as scarce as 10kgs of gold.  (5 Billion above ground gold ounces versus 10,881,100 bitcoin). 

Basically, you have to be at the intersection of understanding the antifragility of the internet, the robustness of cryptography, the fragility of fiat, the skin in the game that people into bitcoin have and the zero skin in the game of those in the halls of fiat power---all at the same time.  I talk to cryptographers that simply can't/won't listen to the fragility of the fiat regime; and I talk to major gold bulls that simply don't understand the difference between a bernanke buck that can be created with the stroke of a pen and a bitcoin that takes extreme negentropy to create.


Gold is valuable money because of negentropy, as the 2nd law of thermodynamics tries to destroy it, gold ignores it.  People have realized this intuitively over the centuries, and gold will always be good money.  


Bitcoin has even more negentropy, and absolutely zero use value.  

I never thought I'd be on the other side of TruthInSunshine, who is one of the best commenters here.  Call me Madoff if you want; you haven't done the study; you simply don't know what you're saying.  

TruthInSunshine's picture

I'm not on any "side," I merely asked one question regarding what it is that distinguishes bitcoin from any other faith-based "fiat."

The response to my question was massive condescension by a few bitcoin faithful but some more concrete, even if technical, jargon-laced responses by others.

Again, I admit I don't understand the intricacies of bitcoin. I was merely hoping someone could provide a simple answer as to how and in what specific ways it is more akin to tangible, real wealth than other forms of fiat.


Half_A_Billion_Hollow_Points's picture

Nothing.  You are absolutely right, bitcoin is faith-based, and so is gold (i.e., those reports about tungsten filled bars are just one example of attack on the belief that gold is really safe).  


The two distinguishing features of bitcoin bits and fiat bits are:

  • bitcoin bits come from a trust-no-one network, where the systems independently verify *the honesty of every single transaction*.  
  • if a node of the bitcoin network (miner) explodes in 10 minutes, nobody notices, nobody cares, nobody loses money; while a node in the TBTF banking system, when it explodes, as one will eventually in Spain, Japan, or UK, affects the entire network.  


The current "bubble" is actually a supply shock from the reward drop that happened some months ago, and the scarcity is now being felt.  (We went from 50btc/10mins to 25btc/10mins; in 3 years and so we'll go to 12.5btc/10mins).  It's a reverse-QE.  Paul Volcker is an inflation dove compared to bitcoin.

In essence Bitcoin is backed by the world's only honest international banking system.  

Pseudo Anonym's picture

we've had this debate before, but let's give it another go

In essence Bitcoin is backed by the world's only honest international banking system.

i'm hofjuden and i can create any and all fiat currency (frn, cdn, aud, euro, ..) at no cost.  i want to destroy btc.  what do i do?  i buy btc at no cost since i can print the shit left and right.  i drive btc to 1oz of gold for one btc or more, for example.  and then i start selling.  and i sell the shit out of btc since it costs me nothing.  remember?  i'm hofjuden.  i can print the shit to buy or sell your fucking btc. and i sell the shit out of it after you sunk all your savings in it.  that's why i am richer than you.  or j.dimon.  because i'm hofjuden and i own this town.  including you.  get it?  how's your faith now?

Half_A_Billion_Hollow_Points's picture

>>> i want to destroy btc.  what do i do?  i buy btc at no cost since i can print the shit left and right.  i drive btc to 1oz of gold for one btc or more, for example.  and then i start selling.


At this point, everyone that sold to you has moved on with immense gains, perhaps to litecoin or something else entirely. 


What does the hypocrisy of saying "USD sucks and I want money competition" but "Nononono to bitcoin" tell?

Pseudo Anonym's picture

how about this:  get your savings out of judefetzen. stay in tangibles, use btc for trades; just like you would  any other synthetic fx currency; and then rotate gains back into tangibles.  would that make sense?

WmMcK's picture

has moved on ..., perhaps to litecoin or something else.

So hit and run and then move on to another ponsi, awesome.

ILoveDebt's picture

If people feel that the value of Bitcoin is fleeting and can be dropped for the next cryptocurrency at a whim, all cryptocurrencies would be doomed to failure.  Obviously, this goes back to the whole "faith" thing.  There are two things that Bitcoin has to overcome to get any form of wide acceptance as currency:

1.  Legitimacy.  Most people don't buy gold and silver.  Most people don't buy domain names and hosting services.  The first internet company that sells actual goods that starts accepting it as payment would signal legitimacy.  Very large hurdles, both in legal ramifications and otherwise for this happening for any large company.

2.  Ease of Use.  The entire idea of what a bitcoin is completely flips the concept of how people understand money.  Even if it were somehow easier to obtain, which it isn't, people still wouldn't understand exactly how it works.  I've seen you try to explain it on here to people of above average intelligence, and they don't understand its creation, its backing, or its lack of a physical presence.  I can almost imagine their eyes glazing over as you explain bitcoins are a ledger entry only and that the blockchain is just a giant history or every ledger entry.  Now try to imagine the average Walmart cashier trying to understand why he can use these to trade for things.  That guy is the majority of the world's citizens.

Assuming those two goals are effectively reached, the ban hammer would come down hard.  Precisely because the world is build on a giant pile of bulllshit and fiat.  You say they can't stop it, but they can certainly outlaw it.  You say they can't trace the transactions if you know how, but the people that give out physical goods as in (1) above certainly have to make themselves known to the counterparty, at least to some degree.  They could start making as many fraudulent transactions as possible to shake confidence in the system (fraudulent as in promising goods or services themselves and not delivering, see the RIAA and bad music files in the early days of file sharing.)

I want it to succeed, I mine coins when I'm gone to work during the day (apparently one of the half that have a job), but it's just a hedge against a future where our currency goes to shit faster than the rest of the world.  Yes, I could have gold or silver, but good luck getting anyone to agree on the value of that when the shit hits the fan.  I'd rather have a gun and a shitload of cigarettes.

New World Chaos's picture

You're right, and it's good to see that even ZHers haven't studied it, because it means this isn't the final wave.  Not even close. 

I Wish for a world in which the blockchain spam issue is fixed (see below) and BitCoin can become as big as gold:  10kg/coin!   The next Rothscilds could be anarchists!

Buying a gun anonymously and having it sent to your foreclosed neighbors' house for dropoff: 0.001 BTC

A horde of skate punks pulling fire alarms all day at Mall of America on Black Friday:  0.01 BTC

An angle grinder for every meth addict in a city built around a military base, FEMA camp, or bureaucratic headquarters: 0.1 BTC

A banker's head on a silver platter: 1 BTC

Chaos:  priceless

JimRogers's picture

NWC, you're vision is interesting, but wouldn't 3d printed peopons make bitcoining anonymous ones irrelevant?

WmMcK's picture

Take the time to understand that 1 bitcoin is (today) as scarce as 10kgs of gold.

Then consider my navel lint is even scarcer.

(not to be confused with common dryer lint, mind you)

And it costs even less than $5 to dig up.

LintCoin, patent pending.

Half_A_Billion_Hollow_Points's picture

Awesome, can you point me to the forums where tens of thousands of people are talking about your navel lint?  If not, maybe you just happen to be a moron.

WmMcK's picture

I was addressing scarcity.  Many people also talked about Y2K and the end of the Mayan calender.  Non sequiter followed by ad homineum, nice.

Half_A_Billion_Hollow_Points's picture

You weren't talking about scarcity as a defense from inflation; you were being a jackass--and you know it.

Vendrell's picture

Droppin' that Talebian thought process ayeee

Capitalist Exploits's picture


With all due respect....not that its deserved, Bitcoins have zero intrinsic value.  As a medium of exchange they will possibly last as an alternative only since the respective fiat alternatives are so horribly mismanaged. That is until they are taken down by the establishment. Think e-gold redux.

The only redeeming attributes to bitcoin are that they are limited in supply, and open source.

A good question to ask yourself. Those poor sods in Syria or Egypt who had the internet shutdown. What value were their bitcoins to them then?
Think it can't happen elsewhere?

fnord88's picture

Well they couldn't spend their bitcoins to be sure. But they still had them. They couldn't be stolen ( assuming the owners understand encryption and took precautions ) Much harder for the government to steal my bitcoins than my gold for example. Then as soon as they have access to the internet...they have their money back. Actually they have 4 times as much money as they had when the net was shut down. The biggest problem with bitcoin is actually what many people think is its biggests strength...its the hardest of hard currencies. And the evidence clearly shows people do not like hard currencies, they prefer mild inflation ( see gaming economies) 

malek's picture

And that makes it different how, when compared against FRNs, or other fat currencies, Gold, Oil, Shelter, Food, or Sex?

thisandthat's picture


I want to accumulate 2100 btc, which will mean (only?) 10,000 people in the globe (WHO OWN BITCOINS...) can equal my stash.


But hey, why stop there? With a bit (hah!) of luck you may even be able to own ALL OF THE BITCOINS in the World... - just imagine! ;P

Half_A_Billion_Hollow_Points's picture

You realize that YTD bitcoin has moved from $13 to an ounce of silver to 1.5 ounces of silver, don't you?  


When will you take it seriously, when it's 10 or 100 ounces of silver?  



WmMcK's picture

If someone trades you 10 ounces of Ag for a bitcoin it's because they think they will get more for it from an even greater fool.

This will not end well.

Fiat will go to 0.

Bitcoin will go to 0.

Without intrinsic value all things go to 0.

PM's will last longer than humanity.

Save to pay the ferryman.

Half_A_Billion_Hollow_Points's picture

That's what the people in Encyclopedia Brittanica said about wikipedia.

That's what the people in Microsoft said about Linux.

See also: music industry, newspaper industry, etcetc.


We do agree on ONE point, though:  Bitcoin is "just a toy".

thisandthat's picture

What a bogus comparison: EB and WP are both knowledge bases - paper, cd/dvd or online, it's just the same - value is in the content, not the support; otoh, silver is raw matter with intrinsic worth (given by its unique properties), while bitcoin is just a virtual convention - it has no worth on and by itself.

If you want to compare BT, do it with Paypal, which at least shares its selling-point with it: being a facilitator of online trade whenever other means aren't practical/possible. Incidentally, PP is neither trustworthy (Wikileaks), nor really unique (we have much better/safer/practical option).

WmMcK's picture

That's what the people in Microsoft said about Linux.

What did they say?

Linux/GNU/KDE, etc are neither distruptive nor ponsis.

What are you smoking?

Half_A_Billion_Hollow_Points's picture

You are not worthy of a response, but I'll bite for the last time: 


Microsoft is trying to catch up with linux, as their servers suck.

Microsoft is trying to catch up with linux, as nobody wants their windows phone crap and android (linux) has completely taken over, even beating Apple.


If you study a little you might even learn to spell.


thisandthat's picture

What about never? In fact, the higher it goes, the less I'll care - basic rule of common sense, learned from first hand experience by wise(r) people throughout the ages, right here...

Still, yes, I am - they were like 20€ each some time ago; 35ish, atm - happy?

Are you aware I'm just as (non)obliged to trade against your bitcoins as you are against my gold? That's the problem - it ISN'T mandatory (and it would lose any reason to be before it could ever be); it needs to be individually accepted, just like even a cheque, CC - can turn it down at any moment, without any explanation. Fine, right now, it appears to be a sure beat speculation tool, but no more than any other startup market was (dot.coms, housing, facebook, you name it). So, am I being a fool? Will you be the future Rothschild of virtual (virtuous?) cash? Who knows?... Either way I just can't care - if they are so valuable to you, buy them all, if you can. I won't help you in your quest, sorry - best luck for you, though.

Half_A_Billion_Hollow_Points's picture

Thanks.  Best of luck to you too.  Let the chips fall where they may.

gold-is-not-dead's picture

BTC first adopters and hoarders will be more rich than rothschildz, new era coming...

SeverinSlade's picture

If BTC was truly real money and a viable store of long-term wealth, the Rothschilds would already be heavily invested...

gold-is-not-dead's picture

Yeah, they are the smartest of the smartest, with best genes on the planet, in fact they're the only one worth of reproduction...

Cmon, try better...

JimRogers's picture

Free Bitcoin offer to Truth in Sunshine. 


You've been an epic poster here and I'd be glad to pass some to you for your efforts.


Just drop a public hash and I will reward your day-in-day-out worthwhile commentary on this website. 


Thanks anyway, even if you don'nt post a public addy!

Half_A_Billion_Hollow_Points's picture

Same here, $100 bucks going out for a TruthInSushine posted btc address, for great justice.

The Ponz's picture

Nevermind my avatar and handle, I am TruthInSunshine. Your advocacy and generosity has won me over, so I changed my zerohedge account to this one. Please send your donations here:



On the real, the BTC community thanks for your advocacy HAB. Well done. It's a shame so many of the self-proclaimed open minded here on ZH are blind to the best weapon and investment available to them.


seek's picture

The only thing about bitcoin that isn't transparent is who created it, and given the US's proclivity to use criminal charges to harrass anyone that brings crypto-anything to the masses, I can understand why they keep that secret.

All the economic changes, rewards, and accounting are completely open for inspection. Can't say that about central banks.

I understand your concerns about fiat, but bitcoin is genuinely in a different place than traditional fiat, as it takes real resources to generate them, and the rate of generation is fixed. Imagine how differen the USD would look if they could only "print" 2% of M2 a year and the cost of printing was propotionate to the amount printed. Bitcoin isn't gold, but it's not your father's fiat, either.

TruthInSunshine's picture

I'm not a "slider" or sockpuppet or some other instrument of malice who has it as a goal to obfuscate, distract and tear down bitcoin for some ulterior motive.

I genuinely don't understand what, if anything, of inherent value backs bitcoin or makes it fundamentally different than any other fiat.

I've heard and think I understand the claim that its critical difference is its finite supply, but is there anything else?

SeverinSlade's picture

Agreed. I again don't trust a currency that can be rendered worthless by gov takeover/shutdown of its platform. If gov wants your physical they have to take it from you. Best part is you can defend it/yourself with some lead. Can't say the same about bitcoin.

GMadScientist's picture

That's the problem with most conserbaaahhtives...they're smart enough for firearms, but anything even slightly more complicated and you totally lose them.


nmewn's picture

Oh that's just lovely.

Well then, help this conserbaaahhtive out here then brainiac...can a bitcoin be carried in your pocket?

GMadScientist's picture

Can you carry a USB drive in your pocket?