Bitcoin is Memory
William J. Luther
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, E49working papers series
Date posted: June 9, 2013 ; Last revised: August 23, 2014
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