Aspetti economici e regolamentari delle «cripto-attività» (Economic and Regulatory Aspects of Crypto-Assets)

55 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2019

Date Written: March 18, 2019

Abstract

Italian Abstract: Il presente lavoro analizza i profili economici, contabili e prudenziali delle “cripto-attività” tipo bitcoin e illustra la regolamentazione delle piattaforme di scambio adottata nelle varie giurisdizioni. La letteratura esaminata mostra che questa particolare classe di “cripto-attività” non rientra nelle categorie di moneta e di strumento finanziario. La natura economica di questi gettoni digitali, in particolare l’intrinseca instabilità del prezzo e l’illiquidità del mercato, ne influenzano i trattamenti contabile e prudenziale. Il lavoro fornisce una sintetica descrizione del protocollo blockchain, degli exchanges, dei wallet providers, e di altri aspetti correlati (initial coin offerings, smart contracts), tra cui una tassonomia dei gettoni digitali (DLT digital tokens).

English Abstract: In this study, we investigate the economic characteristics of bitcoin and similar crypto-assets. Following an introduction to the blockchain protocol, the role of exchanges and of digital wallet providers, we consider the regulatory measures adopted in various jurisdictions. Lastly, we examine the accounting and prudential aspects related to crypto-assets, of which significant uncertainties still remain. The paper provides a taxonomy of crypto-assets, and describes the basic features of the initial coin offerings (ICOs) and related aspects. The literature shows that bitcoin, and similar crypto-assets, do not fully fall within the category of money and financial instruments. This class of digital tokens, based on a permissionless distributed ledger technology (DLT), is highly volatile and absent of intrinsic value. The instability of their price, which is often undetermined, must be considered when evaluating these instruments from an accounting and prudential standpoint.

Note: Downloadable document is in Italian.

Keywords: bitcoin, crypto-assets, blockchain, digital tokens, initial coin offerings, exchanges

JEL Classification: E40, E42, E51, G21, G28, K20, M40

Suggested Citation

Gola, Carlo and Caponera, Andrea, Aspetti economici e regolamentari delle «cripto-attività» (Economic and Regulatory Aspects of Crypto-Assets) (March 18, 2019). Bank of Italy Occasional Paper No. 484, March 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3432976 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3432976

Carlo Gola (Contact Author)

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184
Italy

Andrea Caponera

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184
Italy

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