The Composition of Metacoins on the Bitcoin Network

[Note: This was originally published on December 24, 2014 at]

Earlier this year, on March 24, “Dexx” – a user on Bitcoin Talk – published a pie chart illustrating the composition of some metacoins.

Over the past six months we have kept in contact and he has updated the chart showing the progress and trend of multisig outputs.

Below is the original chart:

Uan23Z9There were 5,176 meta-coin transactions

  • There were 35,508,561 transactions in total
  • There were 9,819,223 unspent outputs

On July 29, 2014:

41vkzkhTaken at height 312999

  • There were already 46,948 meta-coin transactions
  • There were 43,442,280 transactions in total
  • There were 12,444,288 unspent outputs

On December 9, 2014:

mJ2qWVHTaken at height 333507

  • There were identifiable 152,699 meta-coin transactions
  • There were 53,527,466 transactions in total
  • There were 15,426,367 unspent outputs

This only includes the transactions Dexx was able to identify such as Proof of Existence, Open Assets, Coinspark, Block Sign and the use of OP_RETURN (note: there is still an active discussion between using 40 bytes and 80 bytes). Open Assets and Coinspark are a type of colored coin implementation and both Proof of Existence and Block Sign are a type of notary service (here is an album view).

Dexx originally used the term “multisig transactions” but later replaced it with “unspent outputs.”

Some other closing analysis from Dexx:

Almost all Counterparty transactions carry data via bare multisig and there are about 5000 non-multisig Mastercoin transactions. There are furthermore 17620 unclassified, unspent multisig outputs and 6286 unclassified, spent multisig outputs.

Almost all of those unclassified multisig outputs were created by Wikileaks and actually carry some data too.

Proof of Existence, Open Assets, Coin Spark and Block Sign account for 7363 OP_RETURN transactions. The total number of all OP_RETURN outputs, according to, is close to 11960, so more than 60 % can be mapped to those four.

What does this look like on a day to day basis?

GjZA2rYOver the past several months – according to Blockscan – Counterparty transactions have sometimes accounted for roughly 3% of all traffic on the Bitcoin network.

In the future, observers and researchers may find that coin mixing (via Coinshuffle, Coinjoin, Darkwallet, etc.) as well as P2SH are comprising ever larger shares of the network as well.

Note: there is also continual discussion over the role and use of bare multisig as data carrier.

Happy Holidays!

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