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Network-based indicators of Bitcoin bubbles


  • Alexandre Bovet
  • Carlo Campajola
  • Jorge F. Lazo
  • Francesco Mottes
  • Iacopo Pozzana
  • Valerio Restocchi
  • Pietro Saggese
  • Nicol'o Vallarano
  • Tiziano Squartini
  • Claudio J. Tessone


The functioning of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin relies on the open availability of the entire history of its transactions. This makes it a particularly interesting socio-economic system to analyse from the point of view of network science. Here we analyse the evolution of the network of Bitcoin transactions between users. We achieve this by using the complete transaction history from December 5th 2011 to December 23rd 2013. This period includes three bubbles experienced by the Bitcoin price. In particular, we focus on the global and local structural properties of the user network and their variation in relation to the different period of price surge and decline. By analysing the temporal variation of the heterogeneity of the connectivity patterns we gain insights on the different mechanisms that take place during bubbles, and find that hubs (i.e., the most connected nodes) had a fundamental role in triggering the burst of the second bubble. Finally, we examine the local topological structures of interactions between users, we discover that the relative frequency of triadic interactions experiences a strong change before, during and after a bubble, and suggest that the importance of the hubs grows during the bubble. These results provide further evidence that the behaviour of the hubs during bubbles significantly increases the systemic risk of the Bitcoin network, and discuss the implications on public policy interventions.

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  • Alexandre Bovet & Carlo Campajola & Jorge F. Lazo & Francesco Mottes & Iacopo Pozzana & Valerio Restocchi & Pietro Saggese & Nicol'o Vallarano & Tiziano Squartini & Claudio J. Tessone, 2018. "Network-based indicators of Bitcoin bubbles," Papers 1805.04460,
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1805.04460

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Garcia & Claudio Juan Tessone & Pavlin Mavrodiev & Nicolas Perony, 2014. "The digital traces of bubbles: feedback cycles between socio-economic signals in the Bitcoin economy," Papers 1408.1494,
    2. Jeffrey Chu & Saralees Nadarajah & Stephen Chan, 2015. "Statistical Analysis of the Exchange Rate of Bitcoin," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 10(7), pages 1-27, July.
    3. Rainer Böhme & Nicolas Christin & Benjamin Edelman & Tyler Moore, 2015. "Bitcoin: Economics, Technology, and Governance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 213-238, Spring.
    4. Hanna Halaburda & Miklos Sarvary & Guillaume Haeringer, 2022. "Beyond Bitcoin," Springer Books, Springer, edition 2, number 978-3-030-88931-9, December.
    5. Jan-Christian Gerlach & Guilherme Demos & Didier Sornette, 2018. "Dissection of Bitcoin's Multiscale Bubble History from January 2012 to February 2018," Papers 1804.06261,, revised May 2019.
    6. repec:stz:wpaper:eth-rc-14-001 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Gandal, Neil & Hamrick, JT & Moore, Tyler & Oberman, Tali, 2018. "Price manipulation in the Bitcoin ecosystem," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 86-96.
    8. Spencer Wheatley & Didier Sornette & Tobias Huber & Max Reppen & Robert N. Gantner, 2018. "Are Bitcoin Bubbles Predictable? Combining a Generalized Metcalfe's Law and the LPPLS Model," Papers 1803.05663,
    9. D'aniel Kondor & M'arton P'osfai & Istv'an Csabai & G'abor Vattay, 2013. "Do the rich get richer? An empirical analysis of the BitCoin transaction network," Papers 1308.3892,, revised Mar 2014.
    10. Dániel Kondor & Márton Pósfai & István Csabai & Gábor Vattay, 2014. "Do the Rich Get Richer? An Empirical Analysis of the Bitcoin Transaction Network," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 9(2), pages 1-10, February.
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    12. Adam Hayes, 2015. "A Cost of Production Model for Bitcoin," Working Papers 1505, New School for Social Research, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chengyi Tu & Paolo DOdorico & Samir Suweis, 2018. "Critical slowing down associated with critical transition and risk of collapse in cryptocurrency," Papers 1806.08386,, revised Nov 2019.

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