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Bitcoin is Memory

William J. Luther

Kenyon College

Josiah Olson

Kenyon College

June 7, 2013

We maintain that the crypto-currency bitcoin is a practical application of what is termed “memory” in the monetary economics literature. After reviewing the theoretical literature on money and memory, we offer a brief overview of the bitcoin protocol and argue that, like memory, bitcoin functions as a public record-keeping device. Finally, we provide evidence that — in line with the standard theoretical account of memory — bitcoin use has soared as the expected cost of storing traditional monies increased.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 19

Keywords: bitcoin, crypto-currency, currency competition, medium of exchange, memory, monetary standard, money, payment system

JEL Classification: E40, E42, E49

working papers series

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Date posted: June 9, 2013 ; Last revised: August 23, 2014

Suggested Citation

Luther, William J. and Olson, Josiah, Bitcoin is Memory (June 7, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2275730 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2275730

Contact Information

William J. Luther (Contact Author)
Kenyon College ( email )
Gambier, OH 43022
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.wluther.com
Josiah Olson
Kenyon College ( email )
Gambier, OH 43022
United States
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