Bitcoin : the economists demonstrate” a certain degree of ignorance of the subject “

Forum. In a column published in the Financial Times, 30 November, Jean Tirole has ruled that bitcoin was a pure financial bubble that had no public utility. Before him, other winners of the Nobel prize in economics have already expressed in the same sense : Joseph Stiglitz, has estimated, in an interview with Bloomberg, 29 November, that the american government had acted well in trying to” turn off “the bitcoin, and Paul Krugman was held as early as 2013, in the New York Times, that “Bitcoin is Evil” (” Bitcoin is Evil “). What is the bitcoin ? Bitcoin is the name of a protocol, that is to say, a set of rules and standards that enable computers (and those who control it) will understand it. The main success of Bitcoin is to guarantee exclusive property rights recognized by all units of account.

These units of account are “bitcoins” (without the uppercase B). To succeed in this tour de force in a network of digital data which may a priori be copied infinitely at no cost – where nobody can be trusted, Bitcoin mobilizes concepts of cryptography, but also in game theory and theory of incentives.

The “blasting” at the heart of the construction of the blockchain

If Jean Tirole is obviously legitimate on many economic and financial topics, forum on Bitcoin reveals a certain ignorance of the subject, and in particular its technological aspects. An example quite revealing is his description of the process of “mining” as a new seigneuriage confiscated by private entities.

The mining is not simply linked to the process of money creation, it is at the heart of the protocol Bitcoin and the construction of the blockchain. Simplifying, for a transaction in bitcoins is recorded and registered in the blockchain, several steps are necessary. First, the transaction…

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