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An Agent Based Model to Analyze the Bitcoin Mining Activity and a Comparison with the Gold Mining Industry

Luisanna Cocco (), Roberto Tonelli () and Michele Marchesi
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Luisanna Cocco: Department of Electric and Electronic Engineering, University of Cagliari, 09123 Cagliari, Italy
Roberto Tonelli: Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Cagliari, 09124 Cagliari, Italy

Future Internet, 2019, vol. 11, issue 1, 1-12

Abstract: In this paper, we present an analysis of the mining process of two popular assets, Bitcoin and gold. The analysis highlights that Bitcoin, more specifically its underlying technology, is a “safe haven” that allows facing the modern environmental challenges better than gold. Our analysis emphasizes that crypto-currencies systems have a social and economic impact much smaller than that of the traditional financial systems. We present an analysis of the several stages needed to produce an ounce of gold and an artificial agent-based market model simulating the Bitcoin mining process and allowing the quantification of Bitcoin mining costs. In this market model, miners validate the Bitcoin transactions using the proof of work as the consensus mechanism, get a reward in Bitcoins, sell a fraction of them to cover their expenses, and stay competitive in the market by buying and divesting hardware units and adjusting their expenses by turning off/on their machines according to the signals provided by a technical analysis indicator, the so-called relative strength index.

Keywords: cryptocurrencies systems; Bitcoin; gold; sustainable development; blockchain technology; agent-based modeling (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O3 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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