Scarcity in the Digital Realm

DGI is a research and development center of excellence about “scarcity in the digital realm”: Bitcoin, crypto-assets, and the underlying blockchain technology.

Focused on consulting services, training programs, and software solutions,
we are engaged in the scientific and academic debate, where the cypherpunk movement meets the Austrian school of economics.

Cryptography, monetary theory, computer networking, and game theory: we explore all cornerstones and can assist in understanding them.


Bitcoin: Digital Gold

The most successful attempt at creating scarcity in the digital realm without a trusted third party, Bitcoin is a bearer asset that can be transferred (over computer networks using private/public key cryptography) but not duplicated. Accessible to anyone, it is intrinsic to a public distributed uncensorable settlement ledger, known as blockchain, updated with cryptographic techniques and secured by large amounts of energy in the form of computational work (mining). Bitcoin is the digital equivalent of gold: scarce, used as money, voluntarily accepted without central planning. As much as gold has played a crucial role in our civilization and the history of money and finance, Bitcoin could be disruptive for the digital civilization and the future of money and finance. More a crypto-commodity than a crypto-currency, Bitcoin aims to be a world reserve asset.

Blockchain: Hype or Reality?

Blockchain is an append-only sequential data structure: to change a block in the middle of the chain all subsequent blocks need to be changed. Very inefficient if compared to a relational database, it is mostly an idiosyncratic technology for digital scarcity. Indeed, blockchain requires an intrinsic native digital asset to provide the economic incentives for the blockchain maintainers to be honest. Without the seigniorage revenues associated to its native asset, a blockchain system would need to select and appoint its maintainers, ultimately resorting to central governance.

Beyond Bitcoin: Timestamping

A timestamp demonstrates that a document existed in a specific status prior to a given point in time. Digital data can be securely timestamped though the attestation of its hash value in a blockchain transaction. OpenTimestamps is a vendor-independent open protocol that defines a set of operations for creating provable blockchain timestamps and later independently verifying them; as such, it allows for third party auditability and is suitable for regulatory prescriptions. What jewelry is for gold, timestamping could be for Bitcoin: not essential but effective at leveraging its beauty.

Financial Services for Crypto

Finance does not really need blockchain, but the blockchain economy does need new financial services. The most promising blockchain field is the development of financial services for crypto-assets: those products, indexes, tools, practices, and facilities (primarily custody) needed by institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals.
Moreover, the frontier is the monetary engineering made possible by using Bitcoin as reserve asset: Hayek Money, the paradigm of new stable private monies competing with the legal tender ones and Central Bank Digital Currencies.

Vision Makes A Difference


Partnership Program

Becoming one of our partners means empowering your business with a proper understanding of Bitcoin, crypto-assets, and blockchain technology. It is a strategic choice that will allow you to leverage unique opportunities while avoiding the irrational hype that pollutes these topics.
Our partnership program is aimed at consulting firms, financial institutions, insurance companies, innovative enterprises, software houses, corporates, lobbying groups, and regulators.
We offer you a continuous support in term of consulting, training, research, and development: we can help starting-up from early stage until you reach full autonomy, also cooperating with the academic world interested in the issues of our competence area.



We regularly offer training and education in Italian or English about Bitcoin, crypto-assets, blockchain, distributed ledger, smart contracts, and cryptography: the program is based on the Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology course taught at Milano-Bicocca and other universities. The content can be customized depending on requirements: for corporate or academic settings, public or private events, as a short talk, a single day workshop, or a structured learning program over few days. The training can be offered directly by us or through our Educational Program Partners, realized on-site at your premises or at our own locations.



Our research activity includes quarterly reports on the Bitcoin and blockchain ecosystem (in Italian, exclusive to our partners) and the thesis works of our students.
Anyway, the bulk of the activity is happening at the Crypto Asset Lab (CAL), a joint research initiative with the University of Milano-Bicocca. The lab is focused on crypto-assets as investment opportunity, fintech innovation, and regulatory challenge, with special regard for their disruptive role in the future of money and finance. A meeting point between academia, industry, institutions, and regulators, CAL also promotes a yearly conference.


We write code and love to get our hands dirty in programming and technology.
Check out our OpenTimestamps calendar free facility and btclib, an open-source Python library intended for teaching/learning/using bitcoin, its blockchain, and the associated elliptic curve cryptography.

Competence Makes A Difference


Il commento di Ferdinando Ametrano alle _crypto-news_ della settimana: ogni venerdì alle 18 in _live-streaming_ su YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook e Twitter; subito dopo, anche podcast (Spotify, Apple, Amazon, ecc.).

CryptoWeek #158

Mar 15, 2024 | Staff

Il commento di Ferdinando Ametrano alle crypto-news della settimana.

CryptoWeek #157

Mar 8, 2024 | Staff

Il commento di Ferdinando Ametrano alle crypto-news della settimana.

Events Feed

News Feed

Presentazione del XIV report trimestrale del Digital Gold Institute

Jan 20, 2023 | Staff

Si è svolta martedì 17 gennaio 2023 la presentazione della quattordicesima edizione del report trimestrale su ecosistema Bitcoin, crypto-asset e blockchain curato dal Digital Gold Institute, il principale think tank italiano dedicato al fenomeno Bitcoin e alla scarsità in ambito digitale. Le slide presentate sono disponibili sul sito dell’Istituto

Education Program Partners




Ferdinando M. Ametrano

Founder, Scientific Director

Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology at Milano-Bicocca and other universities.
Crypto Asset Lab scientific director, Hayek Money promoter, QuantLib founder, Interest Rate Derivatives Adjunct Professor at Milano-Bicocca.
Ex-physicist, Springsteen fan, husband, father of three.


Paolo Mazzocchi

Executive Director

Crypto Asset Lab faculty member,
Interest Rate Derivatives Assistant Lecturer at Milano-Bicocca.
Master's degree in Mathematical Engineering at Politecnico di Milano.
Ultra Trail Runner.


Michele Mandelli

Managing Partner

Seasoned strategy consultant, with a focus on digital and banking. Entrepreneur, Bitcoin enthusiast, avid reader.


Digital Gold Institute
Via Giovanni Battista Pirelli 11, 20124 Milano (MI) - ITALY