BoE Economist; Speculation in Crypto Markets Reduces Bitcoin’s Transactional Value


A senior Economist at U.K’s central bank has published a working paper on how speculation affects the value of digital currencies. Peter Zimmerman, a BoE economist, highlighted that crypto coin users are mostly speculative making it hard to realize the transactional value of digital assets like Bitcoin.

According to the paper, a speculative approach to the crypto market has seen more people acquire digital currencies for hoarding purposes. This traffic has however become overwhelming for some blockchain platforms that host the cryptocurrencies. Zimmerman argues in his paper that the decentralized networks become less efficient in process execution owing to the high number of participants.

It therefore beats logic for users to opt for a slower network when they need it most; if the assumption is crypto utility is based on transactions. The paper further emphasized that congesting the blockchain networks creates a competition for space eventually wiping out the monetary value of cryptocurrencies;

“Limited settlement space creates competition between users of the currency, so speculative activity can crowd out monetary usage.”

The ‘Digital Gold’ PoV on Bitcoin

Zimmerman also observed that some Bitcoin and other token HODLers are now viewing the assets as ‘digital gold’. As mentioned earlier, the majority of BTC investors are looking to make a kill with this ‘investment product’. The paper explains this in basic household economics;

“When cryptocurrency is more valuable, households become reluctant to spend it on fees. Instead, they prefer to hoard it and endure slower settlement times. I call this a ‘digital gold’ effect: when cryptocurrency is more valuable, agents view it as an asset to store, rather than money to spend.”

A solution was also offered in the paper to help realize the value of cryptocurrencies in transactions. Notably was the diversification of speculative risk through derivatives that are settled on the crypto market. In addition, implementing the new lighting network could improve the operating capacities of platform’s like Bitcoin blockchain. The views in Zimmerman’s paper however do not represent those of the Bank of England (BoE).

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