About our research
A crypto asset is an intangible digital asset whose issuance, sale or transfer are secured by cryptographic technology and shared electronically via a distributed ledger (blockchain). Starting with the issuance of Bitcoin in 2008, thousands of crypto assets have been issued over the last decade. The crypto asset ecosystem currently encompasses assets with very diverse underlying technological features (specific cryptographic technologies and electronic sharing protocols), as well as varying governance solutions (private vs. open access to the ledger and a variety of consensus algorithms).
Under the current standards, a crypto asset does not meet the definition of either cash or a financial instrument because it does not represent a claim or contractual relationship that results in a monetary or financial liability on any identifiable entity. A crypto asset, however, is an intangible digital asset as it is without physical substance (intangible), but is digitally identifiable (digital) and held in expectation of future economic benefits (asset). As such, crypto assets have been sold by issuers ranging from genuine to outright fraudulent, bought by scores of investors with different degree of sophistication, and, consequently, attracted the scrutiny of regulators worldwide.
While the majority of crypto assets will become worthless, some could end up being adopted widely enough to ensure their survival. Furthermore, a very small number of crypto assets could – despite likely booms and busts in their prices – become preferred assets of the future used by large and small investors alike to store and transfer wealth in a cryptographically protected, intangible, digitally-native form.
The Centre engages in high quality academic research in the area of crypto assets, conduct outreach in the form of conferences, workshops and visits. It develops courses on this and related subjects for both degree and Executive Education programmes.
Questions and initial areas of research
- How are investors going to be making optimal selection decisions over many available crypto assets?
- Which features of these intangible digital assets would drive investment choices?
- Which types of assets (that do not represent on-blockchain liabilities) will survive and which will become extinct?
- What is the future for central bank digital currencies, stablecoins, crypto currencies, and crypto tokens?
- How do crypto assets interact with stocks and bonds, physical commodities, and other types of assets?