The (A)Political Economy of Bitcoin

  • Vasilis Kostakis Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia,
  • Chris Giotitsas P2P Lab, Ioannina, Greece,
Keywords: digital currencies, cryptocurrency, commons, bitcoin, money, open source, P2P money, distributed capitalism


The still raging financial crisis of 2007–2008 has enabled the emergence of several alternative practices concerning the production, circulation and use of money. This essay explores the political economy of the Bitcoin ecosystem. Specifically, we examine the context in which this digital currency is emerging as well as its nature, dynamics, advantages, and disadvantages. We conclude that Bitcoin, a truly interesting experiment, exemplifies "distributed capitalism" and should be mostly seen as a technological innovation. Rather than providing pragmatic answers and solutions to the current views on the financial crisis, Bitcoin provides some useful and timely questions about the principles and bases of the dominant political economy.

Reflections (Non Peer-Reviewed)