Metamute | Chump Change: Decrypting Bitcoin & Blockchain

Artists and academics are jumping on the blockchain bandwagon and talking up the potential for cryptocurrency and distributed ledgers to mitigate austerity capitalism. Attractive as techno-monetary fixes may seem they come at a dangerous ideological cost, argues Andrew Osborne reviewing David Golumbia’s The Politics of Bitcoin: Software as Right-Wing Extremism

The Politics of Bitcoin (David Golumbia)David Golumbia begins his book The Politics of Bitcoin with a challenge to the leftwing users of the cryptocurrency: how can Bitcoin be progressive? Rather than directly answering this initial question, he instead explains why Bitcoin and the implicit political framework that supports it is right-wing. This is not a book about the technical aspects of Bitcoin and the blockchain, then, but an analytic deconstruction of ideological claims made for the cryptocurrency. He contends that left-wing users must drop these dangerous claims if they are to make the case for the blockchain model as progressive. This is a matter of particular urgency, Golumbia goes on to prove, since many of the technological aspects of the cryptocurrency commonly described as ‘radical’ in fact rest on reactionary political and economic traditions, however occulted by the rhetoric of liberation. The purpose of The Politics of Bitcoin then, is to clear up these categorical inaccuracies in order to provide a more adequate diagnosis of the cryptocurrency.

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Published in: Metamute
By: Andrew Osborne