Pacific Northwest Study on Popularity of Cryptocurrency on Reddit: Bitcoin Reigns King


  • Bitcoin (BTC), the flagship cryptocurrency, continues to remain the most popular and widely used digital asset.
  • Bitcoin is also the most frequently discussed crypto on social media platform Reddit, according to recent reports.

Bitcoin Still Most Popular Crypto on Reddit

After analysing 3 years’ worth of Reddit discussion from January 2015 to January 2018, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory had a message no one is surprised by – Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency on Reddit.

There is an average of 3,600 comments posted daily about the digital currency, with Ethereum and Monero trailing in the next two places at 500 and 380 daily comment respectively.

The new research paper also described how the researchers measure the speed and scale of discussions on the top three mentioned cryptocurrencies spread, stating cryptocurrencies “are disproportionately used by criminals and hackers, and their use has political and economic implications.”

Adding, “The way information about these novel distributive technologies spreads across online social platforms shapes online and offline discussions, and could potentially influence peoples’ beliefs and decision making. Thus, it is crucial to understand, explain, and anticipate the social behaviour and communication patterns in the social environments surrounding cryptocurrencies to understand these phenomena and devices appropriate responses.”

Unsurprisingly, they found not all comments result in discussion with Bitcoin and Ethereum mentions being up to five times more likely to not trigger discussion than with Monero – despite Bitcoin cornering the market on the largest discussions.

“Our results demonstrate that while the largest discussions on Reddit are focused on Bitcoin, posts about Monero star discussions that are typically longer and wider. Bitcoin posts trigger subsequent discussion more immediately but Monero posts are more likely to trigger a longer lasting discussion. We find that moderately subjective posts across all three coins trigger larger, longer, and more viral discussion cascades within both focused and general communities on Reddit.”

Acknowledging the Negative Aspects of Cryptos

The data overall showed that Redditors responded faster to posts about Bitcoin while having the lowest median lifetime of all three, Monero has the largest median lifetimes, and Ethereum has the largest possible lifetimes.

Their paper also unsurprisingly touches on the negative connotations associated with cryptocurrency – that it’s associated with rhetoric on its popularity with criminals and that Monero is largely favoured by criminals on the dark web. There are reports about Bitcoin’s relationship to crime all the time, focusing on it as if to prove its badness, while rarely reporting that criminal enterprise still vastly favours cash which is used in state sanctioned banks.

Interestingly, past research has suggested Bitcoina’s positive price fluctuations start with criminals using the crypto for illegal trades.

You can find the full research paper to read for yourself here: https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3313702.

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