Cryptocurrency puzzles: a comprehensive review and re-introduction

Cynthia Cai*, Rui Xue, Bi Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study reviews existing cryptocurrency research to provide answers to three puzzles in the literature. First, is cryptocurrency more like gold (i.e., a commodity) or should it be classified as a new financial asset? Second, can we apply our knowledge of the traditional capital market to the emerging cryptocurrency market? Third, what might be the future of cryptocurrency?

Design/methodology/approach: Bibliometric analysis is used to assess 2,098 finance-related cryptocurrency publications from the Web of Science (WoS) Core Collection database from January 2009 to April 2022. Three key research streams are identified, namely, (1) cryptocurrency features, (2) behaviour of the cryptocurrency market and (3) blockchain implications.

Findings: First, cryptocurrency should be viewed and regulated as a new asset class rather than a currency or a new commodity. While it can provide diversification benefits to the portfolio, cryptocurrency cannot work as a safe haven asset. Second, crypto markets are typically inefficient. Asset bubbles exist and are exacerbated by behavioural finance factors. Third, cryptocurrency demonstrates increasing potential as a medium of exchange and store of value.

Originality/value: Extant review papers primarily study one or two particular research topics, overlooking the interaction between topics. The few existing systematic literature reviews in this area typically have a narrow focus on trend identification. This study is the first study to provide a comprehensive review of all financial-related studies on cryptocurrency, synthesising the research findings from 2,098 publications to answer three cryptocurrency puzzles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-50
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Accounting Literature
Issue number1
Early online date6 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2024


  • Cryptocurrency
  • Crypto asset
  • Blockchain
  • DeFi
  • Bitcoin


Dive into the research topics of 'Cryptocurrency puzzles: a comprehensive review and re-introduction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this