Bitcoin and the Blockchain

14 March 2015

It’s hard to believe that a whole year has passed since I last wrote on the topic of bitcoin, and my remaining 1 bitcoin is worth rather less than it was back then. During the week I presented at the Sydney Financial Mathematics Workshop on the topic of bitcoin, taking a rather more technical look at […]

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Bitcoin: what is it good for?

4 May 2013

Bitcoin has been a hot topic in the news over the last few weeks. The digital currency has its adherents. The Winklevoss twins, made famous by the movie Social Network after suing Mark Zuckerberg for allegedly stealing the concept of Facebook, now purportedly own millions of dollars worth of Bitcoins. It also has its detractors. […]

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Where is the money coming from?

18 January 2013

It has been quite some time since I wrote about the mechanics of money, but today I am at it again. The catalyst is not, as some might expect, the recent discussions about the possibility of the US Treasury minting a trillion dollar coin, but rather a recent discussion I had with a banker about […]

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Bitcoin revisited

5 March 2012

Just over a year ago, I wrote about the digital “crypto-currency” Bitcoin. It has been an eventful year for Bitcoin. Designed to provide a secure yet anonymous, decentralised means for making payments online, the first Bitcoins were virtually minted in 2009. By early 2011, Bitcoin had begun to attract attention. Various sites, including the not-for-profit […]

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Bristol Pound

22 February 2012

Recently, a colleague drew my attention to the “Bristol Pound“, an example of a “local currency“.   Ah yes, I said, that’s been around for a few years now. Embarrassingly, I later realised I was thinking about the “Brixton Pound“. Having attended many concerts at the legendary Brixton Academy (Nick Cave, Ministry and the Sugarcubes among […]

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Return of the Drachma?

8 May 2011

It has been reported that Greece is considering leaving the euro and re-establishing its own currency*. More than a year ago, I argued that being part of the euro seriously exacerbated Greece’s economic woes, and for the reasons given there, I do think that re-establishing sovereignty over its currency is in Greece’s interests in the […]

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S&P being silly again

20 April 2011

The debt rating agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P) has placed their rating of the US on negative outlook. What this means is that they are giving advance warning that they may downgrade their rating of the US from its current AAA level (the highest possible rating). Their actions were motivated by concern about “very large […]

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Virtual currency

22 February 2011

Thanks to my new job, the rate of Stubborn Mule posts has declined somewhat over the last few weeks (to say nothing of Mule Bites podcasts!). Still, my commute has allowed me to catch up on my podcast listening and a particularly interesting one was the recent Security Now episode about the “virtual currency” Bitcoin. […]

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Five Down

7 May 2010

One of my favourite blogs is Futility Closet, which is sadly appropriate given its tagline “An idler’s miscellany”. This week it featured a puzzle called Five Down devised by the English mathematician Henry Dudeney. Since the subject of the puzzle is money, it seems like an appropriate one to share here on the Mule.

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Banks, Central Banks and Money

18 December 2009

One misconception about the mechanics of money that I mentioned in my last post is the idea that banks can hoard their reserves at the central bank* rather than lending them out. Here I will explain why this idea simply does not make sense, but no more casinos and gaming chips. No more senior croupiers […]

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