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Characteristics of Bitcoin Users: An Analysis of Google Search Data


  • Wilson, Matthew
  • Yelowitz, Aaron


The anonymity of Bitcoin prevents analysis of its users. We collect Google Trends data to examine determinants of interest in Bitcoin. Based on anecdotal evidence regarding Bitcoin users, we construct proxies for four possible clientele: computer programming enthusiasts, speculative investors, Libertarians, and criminals. Computer programming and illegal activity search terms are positively correlated with Bitcoin interest, while Libertarian and investment terms are not.

Suggested Citation

  • Wilson, Matthew & Yelowitz, Aaron, 2014. "Characteristics of Bitcoin Users: An Analysis of Google Search Data," MPRA Paper 59661, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:59661

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stephens-Davidowitz, Seth, 2014. "The cost of racial animus on a black candidate: Evidence using Google search data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 26-40.
    2. Chris Hand & Guy Judge, 2012. "Searching for the picture: forecasting UK cinema admissions using Google Trends data," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(11), pages 1051-1055, July.
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    More about this item


    Bitcoin; Digital currency; Google search data; Libertarians; Illegal Activity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • K49 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Other

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