Colloquium Events

Colloquium: A broadly Marxian analysis of blockchain and cryptocurrencies

March 9th, 2023. Thursday. 3PM.

Room: TG23 (Town Hall Building)

Speaker: Murdoch J. Gabbay (Heriot-Watt University)

Title: A broadly Marxian analysis of blockchain and cryptocurrencies

Abstract: Bitcoin sought to transfer the means of production of money from the state to individuals; Karl Marx would probably have been delighted.  It hasn’t worked out quite how the original boosters envisaged, but the idea has clearly had a (revolutionary?) impact.  There’s a lot to say here, especially in the light of recent turmoil on the markets: I will briefly sketch what a cryptocurrency is, what Marx had to say about capitalism, and how the technical innovation of crypto looks when viewed through the lens of Marxian economics.  Time permitting, I will discuss the future prospects.  I will try to leave plenty of time for questions and discussion.

Bio: Jamie Gabbay completed a PhD in theoretical computer science in 2001, applying mathematical foundations to theoretical computer science to co-found the field of nominal techniques, and has published numerous papers in mathematics and computer science. In 2018 he became interested in blockchain technology; for instance creating idealised UTxO which is a universal algebraic model of Bitcoin and related cryptocurrencies. Dr Gabbay has found it helpful to apply rigorous reasoning to gain insight into the social, business, and economic implications of research. Links to relevant discussions include:

  • Basu, D. and Gabbay, M. (2021), “Karl Marx and the Blockchain”, Grech, A. (Ed.) Media, Technology and Education in a Post-Truth Society (Digital Activism and Society: Politics, Economy And Culture In Network Communication), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 225-241. Permalink at
  • Murdoch Gabbay (2022), “The false market in degrees is ruining higher education”, Times Higher Education. Permalink at

Meeting ID: 394 693 714 524
Passcode: R5BbSm