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A novel (& possibly nutty) Bitcoin metric: the ‘naka/node’ value

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inverted-pyramid great seal

Who says the monetary base can’t be in the cloud?

The Bitcoin system’s smallest unit – 1/100,000,000th of ‘one bitcoin’ – is called a satoshi, in honor of the system’s pseudonymous creator.

I’ve also recently seen nakamoto used to indicate the market value, at prevailing exchange rates, of all currently-existing bitcoins. (This can also be thought of as the Bitcoin ‘market capitalization’, by analogy to stock-exchange market-caps.) Per the site, one nakamoto is right now almost USD $12 billion – $11,884,797,179.

Arguably, the total value of all Bitcoin is an emergent property of the network’s active nodes working together. In comparison, ‘wallets’ and private-keys are inert and quite possibly offline – they’re just claim tickets, representing extracted surplus value. Only the online nodes, relaying transactions and maintaining the system’s shared state, are workhorses delivering utility and value continuously.

The most recent survey of the Bitcoin network, by the project, estimates the number of full peer nodes at just over 215K – to be precise 215,454.

So for grins we could distribute the market capitalization, one nakamoto, over the peering nodes equally, to discover each node’s pro-rata contribution to the total value. This gives us a sort of ‘per-peerica’ (rather than ‘per-capita’) measure of Bitcoin wealth, a number I’ll call the naka/node (or nakanode) value.

That value, one nakamoto (~$11.8B) divided by the peering nodes (~215K), is currently $55,162.

If you’re running Bitcoin-QT – the reference client, free open-source software that will use under 20GB of hard drive space (<$2) and  some fraction of your CPU cycles – your peer node is anchoring over $55K in system value… even if your wallet is empty.

What impressive leverage and value-creation from simple inputs! Should we be encouraged or concerned?

Written by gojomo

2013-12-10 at 17:10