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Dissecting bitcoin blockchain: Empirical Analysis of Bitcoin network (2009-2020)

Abstract : Bitcoin system (or Bitcoin) is a peer-to-peer and decentralized payment system that uses cryptocurrency named bitcoins (BTCs) and was released as open-source software in 2009. Unlike fiat currencies, there is no centralized authority or any statutory recognition, backing, or regulation for Bitcoin. All transactions are confirmed for validity by a network of volunteer nodes (miners) and after collective agreement is subsequently recorded into a distributed ledger "Blockchain". Bitcoin platform has attracted both social and anti-social elements. On the one hand, it is social as it ensures the exchange of value, maintaining trust in a cooperative, community-driven manner without the need for a trusted third party. At the same time, it is anti-social as it creates hurdles for law enforcement to trace suspicious transactions due to anonymity and privacy. To understand how the social and anti-social tendencies in the user base of Bitcoin affect its evolution, there is a need to analyze the Bitcoin system as a network. The current paper aims to explore the local topology and geometry of the Bitcoin network during its first decade of existence. Bitcoin transaction data from 03 Jan 2009 12:45:05 GMT to 08 May 2020 13:21:33 GMT was processed for this purpose to build a Bitcoin user graph. The characteristics, local and global network properties of the user's graph were analyzed at ten intervals between 2009-2020 with a gap of one year. Small diameter, skewed distribution of transactions, power-law distributed in and out degrees, disconnected graph, and presence of large connected components were the observations from network analysis. Thus, it could be inferred that despite anti-social tendencies, Bitcoin network shared similarities with other complex networks. Network analysis also uncovered twenty types of legal and anti-social entities operating on Bitcoin and provided a path for uncovering these anti-social entities.
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Contributor : Yann Busnel Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, November 30, 2020 - 8:48:07 AM
Last modification on : Monday, April 4, 2022 - 9:28:24 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Monday, March 1, 2021 - 6:20:37 PM


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Pranav Nerurkar, Dhiren Patel, Yann Busnel, Romaric Ludinard, Saru Kumari, et al.. Dissecting bitcoin blockchain: Empirical Analysis of Bitcoin network (2009-2020). Journal of Network and Computer Applications (JNCA), Elsevier, 2021, 177, pp.102940. ⟨10.1016/j.jnca.2020.102940⟩. ⟨hal-03030340⟩



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