Bitcoin is a "censorship-resistant asset class" – but not quite money – according to analysts for New York-based firm Bernstein.
In a note sent to clients on Wednesday, according to Business Insider, analysts explored that question, ultimately concluding that while it shares some of its characteristics, it falls short under what would be considered "money" today.
"Fiat money is still the final form of settlement – governments still collect taxes in fiat money and salaries are still paid in fiat money," the note explained. "Thus, for now, Bitcoin has only emerged as a 'censorship resistant' asset class."
The analysts notably reckon that bitcoin's ecosystem functions more like a self-reliant economy than, say, strictly a network of digital money.
"Bitcoin could be seen as virtual 'bearer cash' economy supported by a decentralized 'trustless' network – a new crypto economy with its own protocol or policy," the firm wrote in the note. "The faith of its citizens – software developers, miners, investors, early individual and sovereign state adopters [–] would drive the value of that network."
Bernstein's determination is unlikely to sway proponents who say cryptocurrencies represent a new form of money. Indeed, it's a sticking point that has drawn both supporters and critics for as long as bitcoin has been in the public eye.
Some observers have struck a middle ground in the argument. Last month, investor and anarcho-capitalist Doug Casey argued that while bitcoin might be money, it's not likely to last in the long-run.
Image via Shutterstock