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Meaning the Software: A review of The Politics of Bitcoin

By Aaron Barlow
One Flew East

The Politics of Bitcoin (David Golumbia)The little can have big impact; the little is not necessarily small. David Golumbia’s new book, The Politics of Bitcoin: Software as Right-Wing Extremism, consists of some 76 small pages of text—yet it wields quite a punch, especially if you are not ready for it. Whether it will give my investigations a new direction or not remains to be seen, but it has awakened me from slumbers of my own. As a result of it, I am at least going to have to go back and re-examine the history of the digital age from the establishment of PARC and of ARPANET on. Golumbia’s focus is narrow—but the implications of his work are broad. They explode, for one thing, the very concept of “neutrality” in relation to the internet.

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The Politics of Bitcoin