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Impact of Cryptocurrencies on Economies


Cryptocurrency has continued to solicit attention from different groups, including entrepreneurs, investors, regulators, and the general public. Recent discussions surrounding cryptocurrency have had a significant influence on changes in their prices. A cryptocurrency is considered to be a virtual or digital currency that is secured by cryptography. Cryptography makes it nearly impossible for the currency to be counterfeited or double-spent. In most cases, cryptocurrencies exist on networks that are decentralized and engage the use of blockchain technology (Alekseenko 305). Perkins (1) defines cryptocurrency as being a form of digital money that is in electronic payment systems that do not require the backing of the government or the involvement of financial intermediaries such as financial institutions.

A discussion concerning cryptocurrency and the impact it has on the economy has to take into consideration a significant number of factors so as to comprehend the relatively new, but highly significant technological development in the context of modern economies. Bitcoin, the first form of cryptocurrency, was introduced in 2009, and since then, the economic impact of the technology on the economy has been considered to be both overt and subtle. Over the years, cryptocurrency as a digital form of money has taken the form of coins or tokens and has been able to establish itself as a viable currency that can be used to facilitate investment. That has seen the impact of cryptocurrency on society continue to grow (Alekseenko 305).

The economic impact of cryptocurrency can be narrowed down to a number of areas. Different forms of cryptocurrency are developed, and as of 2020, there were over 5,100 cryptocurrencies worth $ 231 billion. It is estimated that nearly 36.5 million people living in the United States own a form of cryptocurrency. It is important to comprehend that cryptocurrency has not been able to impact larger sections of the economy, such as the stock market. However, there have been billions of dollars that have flown into cryptocurrency, which makes it a viable investment vehicle and an important aspect of the United States economy (Perkins 1).

The participation of the United States in the crypto and digital currency marketplace has experienced significant growth over the years. The understanding developed by the country’s Treasury officials is that the unregulated asset class that is associated with cryptocurrency has a potential negative impact on the United States economy since they interact with regulated financial institutions, especially with assets that are not considered to be securities. Therefore, there is the perception that cryptocurrencies can impact the stability of financial systems in the United States in the event the interconnection they have with the traditional financial systems grows without being regulated or encouraging the enforcement of existing regulatory structures (Financial Stability Oversight Council 4).

The focus of this paper is to analyze the multifaceted impact of cryptocurrencies on the United States economy. The objectives include exploring the economic, financial, and regulatory perspectives of cryptocurrencies. It also examines the historical and technological aspects of cryptocurrency and provides a comprehensive analysis of cryptocurrency implications for the United States economy.

Economic Views on Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies have emerged as a critical force that impacts operations in the global financial landscape, and that has contributed to varying perspectives from different economists concerning the influence of cryptocurrencies, benefits, and risks to the United States economy (Giudici et al. 3). Therefore, it is important to explore the views of economists concerning cryptocurrencies and the potential benefits it has on the economy, such as increased financial efficiency and inclusion. There is also the need to explore concerns associated with cryptocurrencies that, include volatility and speculative behavior. The other important aspect associated with cryptocurrencies is the role of behavioral economics in the cryptocurrency market and the potential societal impact. Monetary policies and macroeconomics interact with cryptocurrencies in different ways, which determine the impact of virtual currencies on the economy.

Cryptocurrencies provide users with the option of using them as a means of payment or be used as a financial asset. Findings of different studies suggest that the main reason why individuals purchase cryptocurrencies is mainly speculative investment (Brière et al. 366). That has seen the introduction of financial securities such as exchange traded notes (ETNs) and derivative products (CFDs) that replicate the price performance of different cryptocurrencies to be made available to consumers by financial brokers. That has expanded speculative investment opportunities to a significantly large set of investors in the financial market. Therefore, it is important for cryptocurrencies to be evaluated as financial assets (Brière et al. 367).

Returns associated with cryptocurrencies are considered to have been inefficient in the early years of existence, but that changed with time (Giudici et al. 8). Corbet et al. (30-31) explored the relationship between three cryptocurrencies and other financial assets. The findings suggested that there was no significant relationship between cryptocurrencies and other financial assets. Concerning whether cryptocurrency pricing is similar to that of stocks, findings suggest that the risk factors that influence stock price movements do not apply to cryptocurrencies. Also, movement in commodity prices, exchange rates, and macroeconomic factors that are conventionally significant in the case of other assets play a limited or no role in influencing most cryptocurrencies. The conclusion drawn by scholars concerning cryptocurrencies is that they act as a credible investment asset class, which also acts as a legitimate and valuable payment system (Corbet et al. 193).

Cryptocurrencies are isolated from conventional financial assets, which suggests that cryptocurrencies offer investors diversification benefits with short-term horizons. Cryptocurrencies are considered to be suitable for purposes of diversification since their returns are not related to those of most major assets. Cryptocurrencies are used in some cases as speculative assets, which is a reflection of the behavior of United States cryptocurrency investors (Giudici et al. 8). There has been increased interest in exploring the differences and similarities between cryptocurrencies and traditional assets, with the focus being on the relationships known for traditional assets. A pattern that has gained a lot of focus involves the co-movement of the trading volume and volatility of financial assets. In the case of cryptocurrencies, their trading volume does not influence their returns. However, the trading volumes of cryptocurrencies impact return volatility. Therefore, it means that there are similarities in the forces that influence the cryptocurrency market to those that rule the traditional financial assets market. That supports the view that cryptocurrencies are investment assets, which means they play a role in facilitating the growth of the United States economy (Giudici et al. 8).

According to Fantazzini and Zimin, there are risks associated with cryptocurrencies based on volatility. The prices of cryptocurrencies may experience a drastic fall because of perceived scams or suspicion of a hack or related hidden problems. For instance, in 2019, the Bitcoin price experienced a more than 10% loss in just a few minutes because of the outages and crashes of the Coinbase digital exchange (Giudici et al. 8). Therefore, it means that cryptocurrencies are more likely to become illiquid with their values experiencing significant decline.

There are studies that focus on explaining market phenomena that go against neo-classical predictions, incorporating the aspects of unquantifiable risks and ambiguity. Ambiguity involves the difficulty of assigning probability values to events that may or may not occur. In the case of cryptocurrencies, ambiguity arises because the technology is rather complicated and opaque to investors and traders who are unsophisticated. Also, the fundamental values underlying cryptocurrencies are unclear. It means that cryptocurrency trade outcomes are not dependent on the degree of optimism and pessimism like it is the case with other financial instruments (Giudici et al. 8). Speculative behavior is a concern attached to cryptocurrencies and a point of criticism. Some economists point out that the predominant use of cryptocurrencies as an investment asset rather than being used as a medium of exchange has the potential to create a bubble and the existence of irrational market behavior. That is because the lack of intrinsic value and reliance on market sentiments makes digital currencies susceptible to speculative bubbles. When such a bubble bursts, it will have a significant ripple effect on the broader economy (Yue et al.).

The cryptocurrency market can be understood by taking into consideration the principles of behavior economics. Conventional economic models are based on the assumption that rational decision-making is bound to happen. However, in the case of the cryptocurrency market, such assumptions are usually defied. Behavioral economists understand that human behavior is based on psychological factors, social dynamics, and cognitive biases. Therefore, in terms of societal adaptation, the extent to which society integrates cryptocurrencies into existing systems depends on several factors. People are bound to resist change, especially when they challenge established systems that have been in place for years. However, it is also possible that in the event cryptocurrencies offer clear advantages in the form of lower costs and increased financial access, it is possible for society to embrace the change introduced (Figà-Talamanca and Patacca 72-73).

The application of classical economic theories to cryptocurrencies provides a basis for the development of insights into interactions that virtual currencies have with monetary policies, macroeconomic factors, and the potential impact they have on the supply of money and collection of government revenue. Monetary policies are developed with the understanding that they ought to control inflation by influencing the money supply. However, the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies makes such a prospect challenging to achieve. That is because central banks find it challenging to influence or regulate cryptocurrencies directly. The situation raises questions as to the effectiveness of conventional monetary policy tools in the evolving financial landscape and the possibility that they can evolve to adapt to changes (Giudici et al. 9).

The other consideration is that cryptocurrencies have a potential impact on money supply. That is because cryptocurrencies have a capped supply, as seen in limits imposed on different cryptocurrencies. That is in contrast to traditional money currencies that are exposed to inflationary pressures. Therefore, the fixed nature of the supply of cryptocurrencies raises concerns regarding their role in a dynamic economy and the ability of digital currencies to adapt to the different changes experienced in economic conditions. Government revenues depend on the ability of the state to regulate currency. Cryptocurrency has the potential to disrupt that ability. The pseudonymous and decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies makes it challenging for governments to impose tax enforcement. Hence, it is vital that governments adapt existing taxation models to take into consideration transactions that are carried out using virtual currencies (Hacker and Thomale 647).

Financial Market Dynamics

Financial markets have undergone significant changes over the years, and the changes accelerated with the establishment of cryptocurrencies, which prompted the need for revolutionary changes in the landscape. That has prompted the need to explore the efficiency of the cryptocurrency markets and determine whether the prices incorporate a reflection of all available information. The efficient market hypothesis and its applicability in the cryptocurrency market is something that has drawn the attention of scholars (Tran and Leirvik 3). There are risk factors that have been identified in relation to cryptocurrencies and historical returns, which can then be related to conventional assets.

The efficient market hypothesis holds that the prices of different assets are a reflection of all the available information in the market. That makes it challenging for investors to achieve above-average returns on a consistent basis by analysis of disparities in information. However, the application of the efficient market hypothesis in the case of cryptocurrencies is a relatively complex and dynamic task. Proponents of cryptocurrency point out that the accessibility and transparency of blockchain technology make the digital currency efficient. On the other hand, critics of cryptocurrency argue that the inherent susceptibility and volatility that is associated with virtual currencies are linked to speculative behavior (Lengyel-Almos 170).

Cryptocurrency markets portray varying efficiency levels. It means that the efficiency of cryptocurrencies that are widely traded, such as Bitcoin, is often higher compared to that of less-known cryptocurrencies. The efficiency of a market is determined by the availability of information, technological advancement, and the speed at which market participants process news. Therefore, the continuous evolutionary nature of the cryptocurrency ecosystem brings significant challenges when it comes to the application of conventional financial market theories (Apopo and Phiri 1-2).

Exploration of the historical performance of cryptocurrencies reveals fascinating insights. For instance, Bitcoin, which is the pioneer of cryptocurrency and is usually used as a benchmark of the cryptocurrency market, has experienced varying trends in its prices, fluctuations in market capitalization, and changes in trading volume. Significant events have contributed to the variations, including the Bitcoin halving. Bitcoin halving is a predetermined reduction in the rewards that miners receive, and it has had a significant impact on the consistency of the market undercurrents (El Mahdy).

Price trends associated with cryptocurrencies are characterized by periods of rapid appreciation, which are followed by periods of price corrections. In 2017, Bitcoin experienced a significant increase in prices, which was then followed by a price correction phase in the subsequent years. Market capitalization is a key indicator of the overall value of cryptocurrencies and also experiences significant levels of fluctuations. Market capitalization is usually influenced by factors that include regulatory development, adoption, and trends in macroeconomics. Bitcoin halving happens every four years, and it has a significant impact on the cryptocurrency market. That is because Bitcoin halving reduces the rate at which new Bitcoins are created. That leads to instances of potential supply shortages, which in turn, exerts an upward pressure on prices. Historical data concerning trends in the cryptocurrency market suggest that after Bitcoin halving, that is usually followed by a bull market, which signifies the relevance of the event in shaping trends in the cryptocurrency market (El Mahdy).

Concerning the assessment of risks and potential returns, investments in cryptocurrencies provide investors with a unique set of risks and potential returns. The cryptocurrency market is highly volatile, and that is a risk factor. That is because the prices are subject to sudden and significant fluctuations. The other uncertainty in the cryptocurrency market that investors have to grapple with concerns regulatory uncertainties, which looms large. Governments in different parts of the world are exploring ways of regulating and integrating cryptocurrencies into mainstream financial systems. Assessment of historical return provides a basis for comprehending the potential gains and losses associated with investments in cryptocurrencies. There are investors who have realized significant profits during the bullish phase of the cryptocurrency market, and there are those who have realized significant losses in phases where the cryptocurrency market corrects itself. The relationship between cryptocurrencies and traditional assets such as bonds and stocks is something that remains under exploration. That is because cryptocurrencies have been perceived by investors as a diversification tool and, in other instances, a speculative asset class that is connected closely with the broader financial market (Caporale et al. 142-145).

Regulatory Environment

The regulatory environment around cryptocurrencies has experienced a transformation over the years as digital assets continue to gain popularity in contemporary society. Therefore, it is important for the regulatory landscape surrounding cryptocurrencies to be explored. The focus should be on cryptocurrencies being classified as securities, taxation considerations, and the different legal frameworks that govern initial coin offerings. According to Maume and Fromberger, the regulatory environment around cryptocurrencies is multifaceted. That is because different jurisdictions have varied approaches to regulating digital currencies in place. In the case of the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission plays an important role in determining whether a specific cryptocurrency can be considered a security. Such a classification has significant implications when it comes to regulatory compliance, which impacts the legal requirements for issuers and investors in the cryptocurrency market.

The United States has varying perceptions concerning cryptocurrencies across the different federal entities and laws introduced in the states. Despite the United States having one of the largest volumes of cryptocurrencies in comparison to other major economic powers, the country has been slow to put unified and consistent regulatory guidelines in place. Since the country does not have a uniform system of rules concerning cryptocurrencies, most blockchain startups avoid the country because of the implications of future taxation. However, there are regulatory bodies that have taken the initiative to either recognize or not recognize cryptocurrencies or have in place regulatory guidelines. For instance, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) does not consider cryptocurrencies to be legal tender (Morton 132).

Another important aspect concerning regulatory frameworks involves the taxation of cryptocurrencies. The Internal Revenue Service in the United States views cryptocurrencies as property. That means that cryptocurrencies are subjected to capital gains tax by the Internal Revenue Service. The introduction of taxation to cryptocurrency transactions such as sales, purchases, and mining activities affects both institutions and individuals who invest in cryptocurrencies. The Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) considers cryptocurrencies as commodities (Morton 133).

Initial coin offerings (ICOs) and token sales are aspects associated with cryptocurrencies. Both fall under the category of fundraising methods and are popular within the cryptocurrency environment. However, over recent years, regulators have increasingly scrutinized the practices because of their potential to be misused and facilitate fraud. Various legal frameworks have been introduced whose purpose is to regulate initial coin offerings and token sales with the purpose of protecting investors and ensuring the integrity of the market is preserved (Maume and Fromberger).

FinCEN is tasked with the responsibility of safeguarding the financial system from illegal and combat crimes such as money laundering and terrorism. The agency also promotes national security by using financial authorities to collect, analyze, and disseminate financial intelligence. In fulfilling its mission, FinCEN requires money service businesses to ensure they have in place measures that satisfy the requirements of anti-money laundering. Therefore, money transmitters such as PayPal have to adhere to such requirements, which in part extend to the cryptocurrency market (Lindsay 166-167). The Securities Exchange Commission, on its part, is responsible for regulating securities, which means that the body regulates cryptocurrencies that have been identified as securities. The Howey Test that was set out in the Securities and Exchange Commission v. W.J. Howey Co. et al. by the Supreme Court is used as a basis for determining the cryptocurrency that is identified as a security. The test is used to determine whether a cryptocurrency investment contract meets the threshold of being a security as a way of offering protection to investors (Lindsay 167).

The evolving cryptocurrency regulator environment has significant implications for the future of virtual currencies in the United States economy. That is because regulatory changes have the ability to influence the use of cryptocurrencies in the economy. Regulations provide clarity and legitimacy in the cryptocurrency market. The existence of clear regulations provides a basis to attract institutional investors and promote the adoption of cryptocurrencies in the mainstream financial system, which contributes to the growth of the digital currency ecosystem. On the other hand, stringent regulations can have an adverse impact since they have the potential to stifle innovation and limit the development of the cryptocurrency market (Zetzsche et al. 177).

BlackRock is one of the leading investment management organizations in the world, and it has shown increased interest in cryptocurrencies. It is important to comprehend that the organization is not directly involved in cryptocurrencies, but it has played a vital role in exploring the potential of blockchain technology, which is the underlying technology behind the development of cryptocurrencies. Also, the organization has acknowledged the growing relevance of blockchain and digital assets in the current financial industry (Zetzsche et al. 181).

Historical Comparisons

The rise of cryptocurrencies shares certain similarities with the historical financial happenings that transformed global economies. For instance, the introduction of electronic banking and the proliferation of credit cards in the mid-20th century played a critical role in paving the way for the development and acceptance of cryptocurrencies. That is because the two developments are a representation of the transition from the conventional forms of money and banking to convenient alternatives that rely on technological innovations. The late 20th century experienced the dot-com boom, which is another relevant historical aspect for comparison. The same way the Internet transformed communication is the same way cryptocurrencies are revolutionizing what members of society perceive and transact with value. Both phenomena have ignited periods of immediate speculations and innovations, with the mature markets setting apart winners and losers (Giudici et al. 6).

Cryptocurrencies draw parallels with past disruptions that have been experienced in the financial industry. Some of the disruptions include the introduction of fiat currencies and the formation of central banking systems. A shift was experienced in how societies conducted economic transactions when fiat currencies were introduced. That is because they involved the replacement of commodity money that was backed by physical assets such as silver and gold to currencies that are issued by governments. Also, the formation of central banks represented a departure from banking systems that were decentralized to a centralized one. That introduced some aspects of stability and regulatory frameworks that defined national economies. Cryptocurrencies have been developed on decentralized blockchain technology, which in essence challenges the conventional role of central authorities tasked with regulating and controlling the supply of money (Giudici, et al. 6-7).

Innovations being experienced in the financial market are not new occurrences because there are historical precedents that can be used to comprehend the possible trajectory that cryptocurrencies will take. The stock exchanges emerged in the 17th century, which was followed by the subsequent development of financial instruments. That shows the ability of the financial systems to adapt to changes that are triggered by evolving economic needs. Cryptocurrencies are presented as the next frontier of financial innovations. The digital currencies act as digital assets, which offer new opportunities for exploitation of peer-to-peer transactions, and encourage financial inclusion (Giudici, et al. 6-7).

In 2021, El Salvador became the first country to officially adopt a cryptocurrency in the form of Bitcoin as a legal tender. El Salvador took the initiative since it was motivated by the need to enhance financial inclusion for people not incorporated in the banking system and reduce remittance costs. However, the implementation of the move was faced with several challenges, which included protests since citizens of the country were concerned about the volatility associated with cryptocurrencies (Gaikwad and Mavale 112). In Argentina, the country employed a more gradual approach when it came to recognizing cryptocurrency as legal tender. That saw individuals and businesses in the country turn to cryptocurrencies as an avenue to gain shelter from inflation and economic uncertainties. The process was successful in Argentina because the country is characterized by economic volatility, which has contributed to currency devaluation. Therefore, that made cryptocurrencies an attractive offer for individuals and businesses seeking a stable way of storing value (Moreno 7-8).

Technology behind Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies have captured the imagination of members of society because they represent an intersection between technology and finance, with blockchain technology being the foundation. Blockchain technology lies at the heart of cryptocurrencies, and it incorporates a decentralized ledger that records transactions across different computer networks in a secure and transparent way. Blockchain technology is different from conventional centralized systems because it operates without the need for a centralized authority. Blockchain technology relies on a distributed network of nodes that confirms transactions across the platform (Gad et al. 6720).

When an individual triggers a cryptocurrency transaction, the action is broadcast to the network. That makes it possible for the transaction to be verified by a consensus mechanism. The verification process, which can be in the form of proof-of-work or proof-of-stake, is important since it provides a basis for maintaining the integrity of the decentralized ledger. Miners play an important role in facilitating the proof-of-work mechanism. The miners compete to solve complex mathematical puzzles, and the first person to solve them gets the opportunity to add a new block of transactions to the blockchain. The process is referred to as mining, and it is necessary to ensure the security of the blockchain. That is because any alteration made would require the redoing of the entire chain, which is practically difficult to achieve (Xu et al. 3).

Blockchain incorporates security and transparency features, which are pivotal in establishing trust within the cryptocurrency market. The immutability of blockchain is a security feature since it ensures that once a block is added, it cannot be altered. Each block that is added incorporates the cryptographic hash of the previous block, which is the basis for the creation of a chain that links all transactions in chronological order. That makes it possible for blockchain to be resistant to fraud and hacking attempts. Transparency is an important feature in blockchain since it is established in such a manner that the entire transaction history is accessible to all participants who have access to the network (Xu et al. 3).

Blockchain technology has potential applicability beyond cryptocurrencies. Blockchain technology was designed for the purpose of developing cryptocurrencies, but it has far-reaching applications beyond the confines of virtual currencies. The supply chain management industry, voting systems, and healthcare industry are some of the areas where blockchain technology has been applied to enhance traceability, transparency, and security. In the supply chain management industry, the technology is used for the purpose of tracking the movement of goods from the moment they are produced to when they are delivered to consumers. That makes it possible for fraud to be reduced. In the case of the healthcare industry, the technology can be used to streamline access and sharing of data related to patients among different healthcare providers while ensuring patients’ privacy is maintained (Gad et al. 6720).

Preliminary Findings

The preliminary findings of the paper suggest that the impact of cryptocurrencies on the United States economy is multifaceted. That suggests that there is a complex association of market dynamics, economic benefits, and regulatory challenges. From an economic perspective, it can be concluded that cryptocurrencies offer economies the potential to enhance financial inclusion and efficiency. The decentralization and accessibility associated with blockchain technology make it possible for the introduction of new avenues for individuals who have been excluded from conventional financial systems. However, the understanding that can be drawn from the paper is that there are inherent risks related to the volatility and speculative nature of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, which is a challenge that limits the adoption of digital currencies in different jurisdictions across the world.

Market dynamics have been identified to play a critical role in shaping the cryptocurrency environment. Historical performances and trends associated with main cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin can be used to develop a comprehension concerning the volatility of the market and its susceptibility to events such as the halving of Bitcoins, which happens every four years. That impacts the speculative behavior of individual and institutional investors. The market dynamics are influenced by both conventional economic factors and unique characteristics associated with the cryptocurrency ecosystem, which includes regulatory developments and technological innovations.

The regulatory environment surrounding the cryptocurrency ecosystem plays an important role in determining the integration of virtual currencies into the broader economy. The findings drawn suggest that cryptocurrencies are considered to be securities, there are taxation considerations, and legal frameworks put in place to regulate initial coin offerings. The purpose is to ensure investors are protected from fraud and risky investments. Regulatory bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission play an important role in providing clarity and legitimacy to the cryptocurrency market. That fosters investor confidence and addresses concerns that might arise regarding market manipulation and fraud.


The impact of cryptocurrencies on the United States economy is multifaceted. That suggests that there is a complex association of market dynamics, economic benefits, and regulatory challenges. Market dynamics play a critical role in shaping the cryptocurrency environment. The regulatory environment surrounding the cryptocurrency ecosystem plays an important role in determining the integration of virtual currencies into the broader economy. Blockchain technology lies at the heart of cryptocurrencies, and it incorporates a decentralized ledger that records transactions across different computer networks in a secure and transparent way. Cryptocurrencies have been developed on decentralized blockchain technology, which, in essence, challenges the conventional role of central authorities tasked with regulating and controlling the supply of money.

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