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“Don’t Trust, Verify”: Fixes the issues with academic research on bitcoin

To date, much academic research is lacking Bitcoin on high-quality data and rigorous verification. It’s time to fix that.

This is an opinion editorial by Rupert Matthews, Lecturer at Nottingham Business School.

Although the bitcoin network is open source and accessible to anyone with an internet connection, the bitcoin community can sometimes be seen as closed to new ideas, with many stories of people leaving due to the promotion and support of “non-bitcoin activities”. be excluded. ”

At the same time, the benefits of Bitcoin are immediately apparent to those within the community who also need to support sharing information about Bitcoin with “no-coiners” to support wider adoption. Unfortunately, the broader perception of Bitcoin by the media and the “old guard of Wall Street” has meant that the education process can be an uphill battle that must first dispel falsehoods before actual education can begin.

Please remember that even one of our most passionate supporters was once a no-coiner:

“Don’t Trust, Verify”: Fixes the issues with academic research on bitcoin, Crypto Trading News
    <figcaption><a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href=""><em>Quelle</em></a></figcaption>
</figure><p>Es sei auch daran erinnert, dass Nicht-Coiner nicht alle Michael Saylors sein können und nicht alle das Glück haben, enge persönliche Freunde zu haben (danke Eric Weiss), die bereit sind, sich die Zeit zu nehmen, uns das Konzept oder die persönliche Motivation zum Ausgeben klar zu erklären Tausende von Stunden, in denen wir uns weiterbilden.  Wir brauchten wahrscheinlich mehrere Berührungspunkte, kombiniert mit einem grundlegenden Verständnis, um die geistige Neugier zu wecken, um zu fragen: Was ist Geld?  Und woher kommt das Geld? 

The works of Saifedean Ammous are among the best and most cited sources for answering these questions, but people still have to be willing to read the 274 pages of The Bitcoin Standard to access it.

The problem, then, is not only whether we have the votes to promote education, but also whether we have enough votes to compete against both those selling their Wall Street “election assets” and uninformed journalists (who are often unable to own the assets they are reporting on) and are larger in number or have a broader audience.

Unfortunately, the sources of conflicting views on Bitcoin don’t end with Wall Street speculators and journalists. Nic Carter, in his critical review of the White House’s recent report on the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies highlights the risks associated with “academic sources” that have some semblance of credibility but are ultimately uninformed. While something like the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) would suggest the utmost academic and scientific rigor, as Carter put it, “you’re wrong.”

Question “academic rigor”.

This gap in verifiable academic voices prompted me to begin my own academic journey in Bitcoin, not only consuming material but also using my experience to research and write about Bitcoin from my own perspective.

A cursory look at the works highlighted by Carter provided some simple insights into how pseudo-academics are able to publish works under the guise of science (particularly the works of Alex de Vries). Even more troubling was to find, as part of further research, actual academic sources, both peer-reviewed and published in respected journals, that rely on these sources and allow them to significantly influence their findings. The influence can also be seen in the references making the most imaginative predictions (like this one by John Truby) describing the effects of the Bitcoin mining on the environment, which are also published in academic journals, which themselves draw on the sources identified by Carter.

This creates a situation where, while the original sources may not be peer-reviewed commentaries, comments, or personal blogs, their views may directly impact results and models presented in more respected peer-reviewed scientific journals (see this example ). .

This puts an uncomfortable lens on the academic process of peer review, where those reviewing academic research on Bitcoin appear to have no knowledge of Bitcoin. Of more concern to science in general, this also suggests that the scientists reviewing research on Bitcoin are not questioning or verifying the sources they come from. If they were only superficially checking the credibility of a citation from a website, or even acknowledging that a particular work was in fact an unpeer-reviewed “comment,” the authors would have to make some clarification before accepting such work for publication.

Further concerns arise when considering academics who are pressed for time reading such peer-reviewed sources. They could develop their own views influenced by the work, unaware of the quality/bias of the sources being built on, and possibly pursue anti-Bitcoin research agendas.

Bitcoin is becoming known for being interdisciplinary, with those concerned with the subject gaining prominence across a range of fields, from the Austrian economy to the environment, from personal time preferences to food supply chains. Unfortunately, it is generally accepted that scholarly journals focus on fairly narrow areas in which to accept research. Unfortunately, this means that accepted, topic-specific research and analysis models may not be able to capture the complex nature of Bitcoin research.

To illustrate, a much-cited 2015 economics article following accepted rigor approaches and published in a quality journal found that the “long-term fundamental value (of bitcoin) is statistically non-zero.” Given that Bitcoin started 2015 at around $318 and ended the year at $430 and has risen dramatically since then, one can only imagine how “salty” the scientists presenting these results might have in their long-term view of Bitcoin and research trip in Bitcoin.

How Academics Can Improve Bitcoin Research

While the idea of ​​starting new research journals focused on Bitcoin is a worthy way forward, academic journals take time to build a solid reputation, and academics in the fields tend not to stray far from the sources, with which they are familiar. Academics are also encouraged to publish in established journals by linking research findings to career progression, meaning that a new journal may not be a path to development in the short term.

I’m a big fan of the Bitcoin Policy Institute, which does invaluable work promoting research and advocacy to improve understanding of Bitcoin, but it can only have a limited membership with its current level of funding (ignoring the issues associated with a rapidly growing membership). ). This means that increasing the membership of such institutions may not be the best way for development either.

To ponder these potential problems, my three suggestions for those working in academia are: First, find ways to conduct academic and rigorous research from the perspective of their field of knowledge, to be published in journals appropriate to their own discipline. Second, provide resources to respond to published research that is inaccurate, incomplete, and biased by communicating with each journal’s editorial board. Third, include bitcoin in the topics they are willing to review articles on, thereby helping to prevent the publication of articles that present inaccurate views about bitcoin. Through this process, more academics entering the field will be able to benefit from robust academic debates with high standards to aspire to, and hopefully allow themselves to write papers that contribute to the scientific understanding of Bitcoin.

These proposals are unlikely to remove the bias brought up by journalists or politicians, but I believe they represent a way to improve the academic underpinnings of bitcoin understanding. Academics conduct research with the goal of discovering new knowledge and understanding, en route to establishing new truths or refining existing truths that build on the scientific methods that underpin the modern world. Until this foundation is in place and people seeking quick academic success are prevented from publishing their work, journalists and politicians will continue to find sources consistent with their views on bitcoin’s catastrophic impact. If journalists and politicians are unable to draw from low-quality “research” that does not stand up to critical scrutiny, they will not be able to disseminate these views to the general public. While this may not solve the problem, it may steer the debate in the right direction and allow scientists to be the critical voices backed by scientific rigor. If the public’s opinion of bitcoin isn’t misinformed, then there’s one less barrier to overcome when it comes to filling a future bitcoiner with oranges.

It is sometimes assumed that members of the scientific community conduct their research from ivory towers that have limited impact on people’s practices or lives, but the OSTP’s recent report and the wider scientific literature show that the increasing interest in Bitcoin the impact of bitcoin amplified -related research. Failure to take action to ensure that high academic standards in Bitcoin-related research are maintained will not only slow Bitcoin’s progress, but also damage the reputation and standing of academic research more broadly.

This puts me in a position where I want to send a message to academics who use poor quality or biased data in their work and reviewers who do not verify the sources they are drawn from. As an academic, my message is: Be ashamed. As a Bitcoiner, my message must not be published, but believe me, it comes from the heart and is not offensive.

This is a guest post by Rupert Matthews. The opinions expressed are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Crypto News Deutsch

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