Bitcoin – Currency or Asset?
21 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2016
Date Written: November 2015
Bitcoin is defined as digital money within a decentralized peer-to-peer payment network. It is a hybrid between fiat currency and commodity currency without intrinsic value and independent of any government or monetary authority. This paper analyses the question of whether bitcoin is a currency or an asset and, more specifically, what is its current usage and what usage will prevail in the future, given its characteristics? We analyse the statistical properties of bitcoin and find that it is essentially uncorrelated with traditional asset classes such as stocks, bonds and commodities, both in normal times and in periods of financial turmoil. The analysis of transaction data of bitcoin accounts shows that bitcoins are mainly used as a speculative investment and not as an alternative currency and medium of exchange. Bitcoin is still small relative to the size of other asset classes and, thus, does not pose an immediate risk for monetary, financial or economic stability.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation