Bitcoin is Memory

Journal of Prices & Markets, 3(3), 2015: 22-33.

12 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2013 Last revised: 22 May 2018

See all articles by William J. Luther

William J. Luther

Florida Atlantic University; American Institute for Economic Research

Josiah Olson

Kenyon College

Date Written: 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.

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

JEL Classification: E40, E42, E49

Suggested Citation

Luther, William J. and Olson, Josiah, Bitcoin is Memory (June 7, 2013). Journal of Prices & Markets, 3(3), 2015: 22-33., Available at SSRN: or

William J. Luther (Contact Author)

Florida Atlantic University ( email )

777 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33431
United States


American Institute for Economic Research ( email )

PO Box 1000
Great Barrington, MA 01230
United States


Josiah Olson

Kenyon College ( email )

Gambier, OH 43022
United States

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