Should Bitcoin Be Classified as Money?


  • Asya Passinsky University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


money, bitcoin, virtual currency, law, finance, social ontology


The advent of virtual currencies such as bitcoin raises a pressing question for lawmakers, regulators, and judges: should bitcoin and other virtual currencies be classified as money or currency for legal and regulatory purposes? I examine two different approaches to answering this question—a descriptive approach and a normative approach. The descriptive approach says that bitcoin and other virtual currencies should be classified as money or currency just in case they really are money or currency, whereas the normative approach says that this question of classification should be answered on the basis of substantive normative considerations. I argue against the descriptive approach and in favor of the normative approach.


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Symposium on Money, Edited by Frank Hindriks and Joakim Sandberg