Guest editorial: Cryptocurrency: Tulip Mania or Digital Promise for the Millennial Generation?

Terry Marsh, Rand Low

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialResearch

2 Citations (Scopus)


Cryptocurrency and blockchain: tulip mania or digital promise for the millennial generation? 1. What is a cryptocurrency? Cryptocurrencies and tokens are digital or “virtual” assets – literally blips on a computer screen or in a computer file – that serve as a medium of exchange just as familiar fiat currencies do. The “price” of a cryptocurrency or token in US$ is an exchange rate at which cryptocurrencies can be converted into US$, in the same way that the JPY/US$ exchange rate is the price at which JPY can be changed into US$. Bitcoin is the best-known cryptocurrency, but there are now more than 200 others, the most popular being Ethereum, Ripple, Dash, Litecoin and Monero. Bitcoins and “altcoins” – alternative coins to Bitcoins – also have a store-of-value. In September 2018, that aggregate value was around $US220bn, of which 40 per cent or so is Bitcoin as measured by aggregate market cap (though market caps are at best a rough guide to store-of-value in crypto-land). Tokens are issued in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) by companies looking to fund development of services, loosely a crowd-funding version of the traditional corporate IPOs; the tokens are rights to future payments or services and trade in Bitcoins or altcoins on a secondary market. There were about US$4bn of ICOs in 2017 and US$17bn for the first half of 2018.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-7
Number of pages6
JournalStudies in Economics and Finance
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


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