Apparently the total market value of cryptocurrencies is currently close to $118 billion.

Is any of this reflected in GDP figures over the years? For example, if I start mining bitcoin today, I will consume electricity and produce bitcoins. How does this affect GDP?

  • $\begingroup$ GDP refers to final products and services produced in a given year. New currency (even standard ones by the official mint offices or the central bank) is not a final good, as consumers do not buy currency for final consumption, nor is an investment in productive assets, but a mean of transaction or to store value. Related subproducts like energy will be recorded. Maybe things change in the future though. But at the moment I think GDP do not directly record mining outputs. $\endgroup$ – luchonacho Aug 8 '17 at 6:43
  • $\begingroup$ By definition of GDP, bitcoins are not and should not be included. Neither is the nominal production of Dollars or Euros. $\endgroup$ – Tobias Aug 8 '17 at 10:28

Mining cryptocurrency can be considered an export of computing processing time, which is paid in a foreign currency (e.g. BitCoin).

The GDP is a measure of production of wealth of a nation. Exports and imports are considered in every method of calculating the GDP. You can read more on how each country calculates their GDP in this Economist article.

It is important to note that the actual GDP for each country is an estimate: it is very hard to calculate accurately the GDP, as you can imagine it is hard to calculate all of the consumption information about a given economy (cash transactions, informal markets, etc.). However, economists try to include every single expenditure via estimations: the UK includes estimates of drug sales and prostitution as an illustration of the attempts to be accurate. I believe cryptocurrencies could fall in the same category.

Additional reading on the guesstimates of the GDP here.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the questions! I've edited the answer to make it more clear and accurate. $\endgroup$ – JoaoBotelho Aug 13 '17 at 14:44
  • $\begingroup$ I think here you are pointing a bit towards how mining could enter GDP. However, the question is whether GDP actually incorporates part of the value of the cryptocurrency market. $\endgroup$ – luchonacho Aug 13 '17 at 15:03
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    $\begingroup$ You make me realise that the answer should rather be that cryptocurrencies are not "valued" as they are just currency - a way to change value from one hand to another. Otherwise, you could convert the question also to "how are dollars, yens and euros reported in the GDP?" They are used to count, but their value is based on converting them into real products. $\endgroup$ – JoaoBotelho Aug 13 '17 at 15:09

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