Bitcoin does not fit so neatly into pre-existing boxes from the past, including concepts such as "money," "commodity," and "property." My work on Bitcoin has centered on re-examining fundamental concepts from economic and legal theory in light of it while raising public understanding of how it works.


I did an interview on bitcoin and economic theory with Andreas Tiedke for the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Germany, entitled "Bitcoin, blockchains, and economic theory." It was done in English and then translated into German and first appeared on 11 October 2017. It covers some fundamental issues in understanding how bitcoin works as well as observations on current issues.

I analyze the bitcoin/bitcoin cash chain split with some inspiration from evolutionary theory in: Descendants with modifications: Bitcoin’s new and possibly beneficial evolutionary test (5 Aug 2017). With a follow-up: BTC plus BCC showing strong combined gains as market attention shifts to next controversy (20 Aug 2017; note: it has since become clear that the proper code is BCH; changed in the text, but not in the title to preserve link consistency). I challenge accusations that BCH "is a scam" in my 20 Dec 2017 post Why can't I see that Bitcoin Cash is a scam?

To understand the basic technologies behind Bitcoin and how they were combined to form a key innovation, read one of my most popular and recommended articles: Bitcoin: Magic, fraud, or ‘sufficiently advanced technology’? (19 Sep 2014)

Here is an interview in which I apply political economy principles to the Bitcoin block size limit issue: Bitcoin Block Size Political Economy (4 May 2016). Here is a PDF version.

Are Bitcoins Ownable? Property Rights, IP Wrongs, and Legal Theory Implications (6 Nov 2015) [Amazon] [Other versions] is a monograph examining the relationship between property rights theory and bitcoin with reference to leading philosophical justifications for property rights and leading criticisms of IP rights. Does bitcoin shed any light on these issues and where does it fit within these existing models, if at all?

Covering different territory is my article in The Journal of Prices and Markets, “Commodity, scarcity, and monetary value theory in light of bitcoin” (accepted 20 Oct 2014; published 24 Feb 2015; HTML, PDF). This goes into core economic-theory concepts with applications to bitcoin.

 Visiting a bitcoin mine, where electricity is turned into bitcoin, heat, and fan noise.

Visiting a bitcoin mine, where electricity is turned into bitcoin, heat, and fan noise.

My most comprehensive treatment of bitcoin and the theory of money so far is “On the origins of Bitcoin: Stages of monetary evolution” (3 Nov 2013) [PDF] [ePub]. It combines fresh interpretations of the origins of money with a bitcoin-specific economic history. This was among three papers nominated for a 2014 Blockchain Award (Satoshi won).

Below are links to a selection of my other bitcoin-related writings. In this interview (15 Nov 2015), I discuss the development of my views on bitcoin in relation to wider issues in economic and legal theory.

Other selected articles

Bitcoin as a rival digital commodity good: A supplementary comment (11 Mar 2015)

Sidechained bitcoin substitutes: A monetary commentary (25 Oct 2014)

Gold standards, optionality, and parallel metallic- and crypto-coin circulations (21 May 2014)

The helpful fable of the “bitcoin”: Duality models revisited (20 May 2014)

MtGox fiasco highlights advantages of Bitcoin and damage from regulation (27 Feb 2014)

Hyper-monetization reloaded: Another round of bubble talk (7 Nov 2013)

Bitcoin and social theory reflections: A review essay between Amsterdam and Atlanta (3 Oct 2013)

Bitcoin as medium of exchange now and unit of account later: The inverse of Koning’s medieval coins (14 Sep 2013)

A short Bitcoin commentary on “Deflation and Liberty” (29 Mar 2013)

IN-DEPTH | Bitcoins, the regression theorem, and that curious but unthreatening empirical world (27 Feb 2013)