Cryptoanarchism and Cryptocurrencies

20 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2017 Last revised: 20 Aug 2020

See all articles by Usman W. Chohan

Usman W. Chohan

UNSW Business School; Critical Blockchain Research Initiative (CBRI); International Association of Hyperpolyglots (HYPIA); Centre for Aerospace & Security Studies (CASS)

Date Written: November 27, 2017


The aim of this article is to examine cryptoanarchism as a branch of anarchist thought, using the lens of cryptocurrencies to frame the praxis of cryptoanarchist instruments within the writings of earlier anarchist thinkers and practitioners. It argues that cryptoanarchism, despite being omitted from many typologies of anarchism, reflects in various important ways what is in fact a superimposition of anarchism in a digital context, and is thus increasingly pertinent as individuals build and navigate the cyberspatial realm. The article traces the anarchist antecedents of cryptoanarchism, and then draws attention to the Cypherpunk movement which predicted the evolution of cryptocurrencies and other cryptoanarchist mediums. The article then draws upon features of cryptocurrencies to compare them with key anarchist characteristics, and argues through the lens of cryptocurrencies that cryptoanarchism is reflected and embedded in their structures. Areas of future research are thereafter identified, inviting scholars of anarchism to engage with the digital conceptions of cryptoanarchism as a path forward in weaving new conceptualizations of anarchism.

Keywords: Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, Cryptoanarchy, Anarchism, Surveillance, Blockchain

Suggested Citation

Chohan, Usman W., Cryptoanarchism and Cryptocurrencies (November 27, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Usman W. Chohan (Contact Author)

UNSW Business School ( email )

UNSW Business School
High St
Sydney, NSW 2052

Critical Blockchain Research Initiative (CBRI) ( email )

International Association of Hyperpolyglots (HYPIA) ( email )

Montreal, Quebec

Centre for Aerospace & Security Studies (CASS) ( email )


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