Data Money: The Socio-Technical Infrastructure of Cryptocurrency Blockchains
20 Pages Posted: 13 May 2019
Date Written: November 15, 2018
Drawing on an empirical study of cryptocurrency white papers, this article proposes an actor-based taxonomy of blockchains. First, it depicts the evolution of blockchain architecture with reference to the economic services that blockchains supply. Second, it describes the socio-technical platform of blockchains as depicted in cryptocurrency white papers. Third, it discusses the social and economic consequences of these technically diverse blockchain platforms, by proposing an actor-based taxonomy of blockchain digital architectures in reference to two groups of actors that maintain blockchain infrastructure: transactioners and accountants. Defining cryptocurrency as data money and locating cryptocurrency ownership as the possession of an exclusive right to move data privately in a public space, the paper describes a blockchain as a digital actor-network platform that makes it possible to define and distribute these data transfer rights.
Keywords: Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Infrastructure, Bitcoin, Platform
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