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The Continuous Materiality of Blockchain

  • Both cryptocurrency researchers and early adopters of cryptocurrencies agree that they possess a special kind of materiality, based on the laborious productive process of digital ‘mining’ [1]. This idea first appears in the Bitcoin White Paper [2] that encourages Bitcoin adopters to construct and justify its value in metaphoric comparison to gold mining. In this paper, I explore three material aspects of blockchain: physical infrastructure, human language and computer code. I apply the concept of 'continuous materiality' [3] to show how these three aspects interact in practical implementations of blockchain such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. I start from the concept of ‘digital metallism’ that stands for ‘fundamental value’ of cryptocurrencies, and end with the move of Ethereum to ‘proof-of-stake’, partially as a countermeasure against ‘evil miners’. I conclude that ignoring material aspects of blockchain technology can only further problematize complicated relations between their technical, semiotic and social materiality.

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Metadaten
Author:Alesja Serada
DOI:https://doi.org/10.48446/opus-11868
ISSN:1437-7624
Parent Title (German):Konferenzband zum Scientific Track der Blockchain Autumn School 2020
Publisher:Hochschule Mittweida
Place of publication:Mittweida
Document Type:Conference Proceeding
Language:English
Year of Completion:2020
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Mittweida
Contributing Corporation:The University of Vaasa
Release Date:2021/01/27
Tag:materiality; technology studies; value
GND Keyword:Ethereum; Bitcoin; Materialität; Wert
Pagenumber:6
First Page:71
Last Page:76
Open Access:Frei zugänglich
Licence (German):License LogoEs gilt das UrhG