Bitcoin Usage Now Under 15K, According to Bitcoin Wiki Link UPDATE: Bitcoin Advocates Disagree, Point to Link that Shows... Less than 25K Daily Bitcoin Users
Last week when I discussed seven reasons why Bitcoin is probably not a good alternative for virtual worlds, one of them was, "Hardly anyone seems to use Bitcoin". This chart linked to by Bitcoin's own Wiki seems to strengthen that claims. According to the Wiki, "[t]he best estimation [of users] is to count how many Bitcoin clients connected to the network in the last 24 hours... The estimate as of September 2011 is about 60,000 users." As of July 2012, however, that number has decreased quite a lot:
Less than 10 months later, it's under 15,000 total. Now, 60,000 was not even a lot -- about 400,000 people use Linden Dollars on a monthly basis -- and 15,000 is far less than that. (Ironically, 15,000 is about the number of people who use OpenSim-based grids.) Bitcoin has its defenders -- its very, very, very ardent defenders -- but this lack of usage is probably the failing that's most difficult for them to finesse. The virtual currency may have enormous potential and power, but if hardly anyone's using it (and usage has been dropping rapidly), any value it has quickly becomes moot. Like David Mamet once wrote, "Everybody needs money. That's why they call it money." But they only call it money if everybody does.
Image source: Bitcoin Status.
UPDATE, 7/10: In Comments, a number of Bitcoin advocates point to this Bitcoin platform usage chart, which shows less than 25,000 Bitcoin transactions a day, which suggests the number of unique users is less than that (since many likely transact more than once a day.) "Less than 25,000 daily Bitcoin users does seem like a fair estimate as far as the use of Bitcoins as a token of exchange goes," reader Joel Kaartinen writes. "However, the actual number of people who have Bitcoins is bound to be much larger. For example, I, personally, have a small investment as Bitcoins. I use them (make a transaction) perhaps once, maybe twice a month." That's probably true, but it still points to an extremely small number of users who use Bitcoin on a regular basis.