The Crypto Capitalism Center (CCC): Researching the bitcoin economy
In 2014, we created the Crypto Capitalism Center, a new research group on Cryptocurrency and Capitalism. Currently based at Ivey Business School (Western University), we collect and analyze data on cryptocurrency to explore the socio-economic implications of blockchain-related innovation for capitalist societies.
With a market capitalization that increased from almost nothing in 2013 to more than $8 billion in 2014, bitcoin is paving the way for radical innovation at the heart of the digital economy. Contrary to what is generally believed, mimicking monetary transactions is just one of many possible applications for the technology underlying bitcoin—known as the blockchain.
The blockchain is a distributed public ledger managed by open-source software, which verifies and records data transactions occurring in the user network, but without the need for a central authority. In the context of bitcoin-as-currency, such decentralization implies that states cannot easily tax bitcoin transactions, central banks have no control over bitcoin supply, and intermediaries such as TD Canada Trust or MasterCard are not needed to process payments. Put simply, blockchain technology paves the way for massive disintermediation of economic transactions. It has the potential to render many traditional organizations—from government agencies to business corporations—inefficient or redundant.
If the exponential growth of bitcoin and other blockchain-based applications continues, the next decade could witness the most profound change in the world’s economy since the first industrial revolution.