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What the Data Tells Us About Bitcoin in 2017

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Jameson Lopp is an engineer at BitGo and the creator of Statoshi.info.

The following article is an exclusive contribution to CoinDesk's 2017 in Review.

I’ve always been fascinated with the raw numbers relating to the operational status and growth of bitcoin, especially as we ride the rollercoaster of the adoption life cycle.

That's why I created Statoshi.info in 2014 to track bitcoin metrics from the perspective of a full node.

To that same end, I've compiled statistical measurements of bitcoin's growth in 2017 from a variety of sources.

A couple things are clear: bitcoin is at the forefront of an increasingly complex ecosystem that continues to grow in a variety of ways. And for the ninth straight year, it stubbornly refused to die.

Bitcoin obituaries proclaimed per year:
2010: 1
2011: 6
2012: 1
2013: 15
2014: 29
2015: 39
2016: 28
2017: 93https://t.co/ERqWe9S6Vi

— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) December 19, 2017

While 2017 is well known as the year that institutional investors started showing interest in bitcoin, it was also picking up steam in smaller countries.

Countries with the most relative interest in searching for Bitcoin in 2017. https://t.co/Wgrqev6fP7 pic.twitter.com/YXZpK6Oqu2

— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) December 31, 2017

Academic interest continued to increase, which is great for the long-term prospects of this industry as we continue to gain a greater understanding of what we're building.

Google Scholar articles published mentioning Bitcoin:
2009: 83
2010: 136
2011: 427
2012: 737
2013: 1,570
2014: 3,790
2015: 4.380
2016: 5,470
2017: 5,840 (will continue to rise due to listing lag)

— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) December 19, 2017

Venture capital funding continued to flow it in at pretty healthy levels, though there's more to this story.

Blockchain industry venture capital funding:
2012: $2.13M
2013: $95.05M
2014: $361.53M
2015: $490.48M
2016: $601.15M
2017: $554.45M

— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) December 19, 2017

It may be that VC funding did not accelerate because new funding avenues have opened up for entrepreneurs in this space. The initial coin offering (ICO) boom of 2017 saw unprecedented levels of funds raised in a non-traditional form. CoinDesk's ICO tracker logged over $3.5 billion in funds raised via ICOs!

On top of the ICO explosion we also saw another type of boom: in a new type of bitcoin fork that has come to be known as an "altcoin airdrop."

While most of the crypto assets in existence have been created via software forks of Bitcoin Core, they have historically started with a new genesis block and thus a new distribution scheme for the tokens themselves.

You can see a fairly complete list of the airdrops at btcdiv.com, but many of them don't even show up on market cap lists because they have little value.

From looking at the top few forks you could claim that about $50 billion in value was created/raised via bitcoin forks in 2017.

As an engineer who had to deal with the fallout from the fork frenzy, it became tiring pretty quickly as it was clear that the vast majority of........

© CoinDesk