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Pablo Rodrigo Velasco González

Computing Ledgers and the Political Ontology of the Blockchain

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This paper investigates ontological dimensions of the blockchain by asking what kind of socio-technical object bitcoin is. It discusses both blockchain's political qualities and the political forms enabled by its emergence. It first observes recent approaches to the ontology of money and the political qualities of the ledgers used by the current fractional reserve banking model. It then directs the same questions at blockchain technology. The paper discusses an ontology proposed by Ole Bjerg (2016) and argues in favour of a mixed-ontology approach to blockchains. It then questions the political qualities of the distributed ledger as a digital object and highlights the apparent absence of authority figures in the model. Finally, it argues that the political ontology of the blockchain can be framed as the displacement of authority from institutional actors into instrumental control of trust, in a dynamically distributed environment.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftMetaphilosophy
Vol/bind48
Nummer5
Sider (fra-til)712-726
ISSN0026-1068
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2017
Eksternt udgivetJa

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