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Economic and regulatory aspects of crypto-assets

Andrea Caponera () and Carlo Gola ()
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Andrea Caponera: Bank of Italy

No 484, Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) from Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area

Abstract: TIn 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.

Keywords: bitcoin; crypto-assets; blockchain; digital tokens; initial coin offerings; exchanges (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E40 E42 E51 G21 G28 K20 M40 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-acc, nep-law, nep-mac and nep-pay
Date: 2019-03
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