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从骇客走向时尚:论社交媒体对比特币的价格影响

瑞士一流的科技大学苏黎世联邦理工学院最近发布了一篇研究报告,研究发现公众对比特币的看法正在发生改变。 人们不再把比特币仅仅当做怪才或者罪犯使用的神秘货币,而是对它有了更深层次地了解。 苏黎世联邦理工学院系统设计部门的博士后研究员David Garcia说比特币在世人眼中的形象发生了根本性变化: “以前,比特币是骇客和码农用的东西;现在,时尚达人都用它来买饮料了。” 这篇名为《泡沫的数字轨迹:比特币经济中社会经济信号的反馈循环机制》的研究报告着眼于社交媒体对比特币价格的影响,并从社会维度分析比特币用户以及他们与这种影响的相互作用。 报告的作者说: “由于这种神秘的货币经过了大肆的宣传,所以我们很难找出哪些因素参与了它的增长过程并影响了它的价值。由于比特币较多地依赖于它的用户而不是一个国家的中央集权,它的分散结构表明这种经济受社会因素的驱动比较强,这些社会因素是由市场参与者之间的互动形成的。” 数据峰值 Garcia和其同事测试了谷歌搜索里比特币的峰值,并假设比特币价值的增加会因网络活动尤其是社交媒体而加速。 为了验证这一假说,他们分析了四个不同的社会经济参数:用户群、价格波动、搜索趋势以及在诸如推特一类的社交媒体平台上的互动。

swiss-ethzurich-survey-2014(1)

他们发现价格的动态,新比特币用户的数量,互联网搜索以及与比特币有关的微博之间有很强的联系。他们还确定了两种积极的反馈循环机制。首先,比特币不断提高的知名度导致人们对它的需求增加,这反过来又刺激了社交媒体上的活动。第二种机制与用户群密切相关:使用人数越多,价格就越高。 但是,消极反馈也存在:价格明显下跌之前,互联网上的相关活动空前高涨。因此研究员得出结论:网络和社交媒体活动的重大变化会导致比特币价格出现大幅波动。 网络的力量 Garcia的同事,同时也是这篇报告的合作者Nicolas Perony则从社会现象的量化分析中看到了比特币的巨大潜力。 “我们可以用电子货币检测到某些用现金观测不到的方面,”他说,“这样我们可以更好地了解市场是如何运作的。” Perony认为,得益于区块链技术(block-chain technology),人们可以将同样的方法运用到其他社会领域。他还指出,比特币的网络是500台最强大的超级计算机合起来的300倍。 “最大的问题在于人们如何才能利用这样一个具有强大协作能力的系统,让它不仅仅只是作为一种货币产品,”Perony说。 Perony相信,人们可以用这个系统来管理特定商品的所有权或者帮助开展合作研究工作,因为比特币的网络可以用来进行各种集合概念的研究。

A new study carried out by ETH Zurich, Switzerland’s leading technology university, has found that the public perception of bitcoin is changing.

Rather than being a mysterious cryptocurrency for geeks or criminals, bitcoin has transformed into a much bigger phenomenon.

David Garcia, a postdoctoral fellow at the ETH Zurich Department of Systems Design, said the image of bitcoin has changed fundamentally:

“Previously bitcoins were something for hackers and computer nerds. Today hipsters pay for their drinks with it.”

The research paper, which is entitled ‘The Digital Traces of Bubbles: Feedback Cycles Between Socio-Economic Signals in the Bitcoin Economy’, looks at how the social dimensions of the users of bitcoin and their interactions with social media affect its price.

The authors say:

“Amidst the hype surrounding the cryptocurrency, it is difficult to recognize which factors participate in its growth and influence its value. Bitcoin’s decentralised structure, based on the contribution of its users rather than a central authority, implies that the dynamics of its economy may be strongly driven by social factors, which are composed of interactions between the actors of the market.”

Spikes in the data

Garcia and his colleagues examined the spikes in Google searches for bitcoin, and postulated that the increase in value was accelerated by online activity, especially social media.

To test their hypothesis the researchers analysed four different socioeconomic parameters: the development of the user base, price fluctuations, search trends and interactions on social media platforms like Twitter.

swiss-ethzurich-survey-2014

The researchers found strong correlations between price development, the number of new bitcoin users, Internet searches and tweets related to bitcoin. They also identified two positive feedback loops. In the first, the increased popularity led to growing demand, which in turn stimulated activity on social media. The second loop relates to the user base: the more users join the network, the higher the price.

However, there is also negative feedback: before a significant drop in prices, the level of activity on the Internet skyrockets. The researchers concluded that big changes in online and social media activities lead to major price fluctuations.

The power of the network

Garcia’s colleague and co-author Nicolas Perony sees great potential in the quantitative analysis of social phenomena.

“With digital currencies we can examine certain aspects of the economy which cannot be observed with cash,” said Perony. “That way we can better understand how the market really works.”

Perony argues that the same methodology can be applied to other areas of society, thanks to block-chain technology. He points out that the bitcoin network is 300 times more powerful than the 500 most powerful supercomputers combined.

“The big question is how one could use such a powerful system for collaborative activities that go beyond the production of money,” said Perony.

Perony believes it would be possible to use the system to manage ownership of certain goods or to help collaborative research efforts, as the network could be used to conduct research on various collaborative concepts.


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