Scarcity in the Digital Realm

The Digital Gold Institute is an excellence center about scarcity in the digital realm (bitcoin and crypto-assets) and the associated blockchain technology.
Focused on its partnership and fellowship program, the Institute promotes the digital scarcity experiment in the public, scientific, and academic debate through R&D, teaching, consulting, and advising.
We explore the foundations and can assist in understanding them: cryptography, monetary theory, computer networking, and game theory.
Of course, we write code and love to get our hands dirty in programming and technology.


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 but not duplicated. Accessible to anyone, it is intrinsic to a peculiar uncensorable distributed settlement ledger, updated with cryptographic techniques and secured by large amounts of energy in the form of computational work. Bitcoin is the digital equivalent of gold, disruptive for our current digital civilization and the future of money and finance. More a crypto-commodity then a crypto-currency, Bitcoin aims to be 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.

Financial Services for Crypto

Even if one is only interested in genuine technological applications of blockchain, the most promising field is the development of financial services for crypto assets: those tools, practices, and facilities (primarily custody) needed by institutional investors and high net worth individuals. Finance might not need blockchain, but the blockchain economy does need a new finance.

Digital Gold Is What Matters



Ferdinando M. Ametrano

Executive Director

Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology at Milano-Bicocca and Politecnico di Milano.
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

Chief Operating Officer

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.

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