Over the last decade, technological progress has played a crucial role in the financial services sector. Since the Great Recession, the way people think about banks and payment methods has changed dramatically. Among the many novelties introduced in this area, one of the most important has been cryptocurrency ('crypto' hereafter).
Crypto started with Bitcoin (BTC), introduced in Nakamoto (2009). The original idea behind the digital currency phenomenon was to design a bank-independent new payment system that would be immune to any financial crisis. Indeed, one of the main characteristics of crypto is its decentralisation: Nakamoto (2009) defines crypto as “an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust”. Because of this decentralisation, two agents can negotiate without involving any trusted financial intermediaries (i.e. banks) to mediate the transactions.
Today, crypto has become a wildly popular trend, with more than 18,000 new cryptos created since 2009 (CoinMarketCap) and an ever-increasing number of users. However, the picture of digital currency is far from uniformly positive. Behind the decentralised crypto system there are significant concerns—especially with respect to environmental damage