Professor Jan Bergstra is director of the Informatics Institute of the Faculty of Science at The University of Amsterdam. He has published various works which reference Nakamoto’s famous white paper of 2008, including several academic studies of Bitcoin. Some of his research in particular examines possible technical classifications for this digital currency and specifically refers to the difficulty of determining whether or not Bitcoin is actually money.
This same question is raised in a heated ongoing discussion within the Dutch Bitcoin community:
- A controversial media campaign launched by Bitonic in the summer of 2014;
- A conversation during Bitcoin Wednesday #15 in September 2014;
- A public debate between Bitonic and other prominent members of the sector in October 2014 during Bitcoin Wednesday #16;
- and most recently A poll taken in February 2015 during Bitcoin Wednesday #20.
At Bitcoin Wednesday #23 on 6 May 2015, Dr. Bergstra will present some of his academic work on the subject in a presentation entitled “Bitcoin and A Classification of Informational Monies.” He will talk about the conditions under which Bitcoin could — technically — qualify for “moneyness” or develop into money through acceptance, circulation, and use, and the difficulties of determining whether or not Bitcoin’s acquiring legal tender status would actually be a step forward in its evolution.
Dr. Bergstra’s current research focuses on informational money, arithmetical datatypes and meadows, personal multi-threading, and decision taking.
The following is Professor Bergstra’s abstract for the talk he will give for Bitcoin Wednesday on 6 May 2015:
Bitcoin and A Classification of Informational Monies
I have argued elsewhere that Bitcoin is a money-like informational commodity. As such Bitcoin may or may not develop into money. Its moneyness may fluctuate in time. Currently Bitcoin fails to qualify for moneyness, but it might develop into a money, mainly by increased acceptance, circulation, and use. At the same time Bitcoin it is not a currency-like informational commodity. In this talk I will distinguish four classes of informational commodities: exclusively informational commodities, strictly informational commodities, ownable informational commodities, and ownership-based informational commodities. For this classification I will derive four kinds of informational money into which Bitcoin might develop, provided it ever develops into money.
Part of Professor Bergstra’s talk will be based on his study Architectural Adequacy and Evolutionary Adequacy as Characteristics of a Candidate Informational Money published on 28 April, 2015.