Cookies?
Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

The social life of Bitcoin

Dodd, Nigel (2017) The social life of Bitcoin. Theory, Culture and Society. ISSN 0263-2764

[img]
Preview
PDF - Accepted Version
Download (408kB) | Preview

Identification Number: 10.1177/0263276417746464?ai=1gvoi&mi=3ricys&af=R

Abstract

This paper challenges the notion that Bitcoin is ‘trust-free’ money by highlighting the social practices, organizational structures and utopian ambitions that sustain it. At the paper’s heart is the paradox that if Bitcoin succeeds in its own terms as an ideology, it will fail in practical terms as a form of money. The main reason for this is that the new currency is premised on the idea of money as a ‘thing’ that must be abstracted from social life in order for to be protected from manipulation by bank intermediaries and political authorities. The image is of a fully mechanized currency that operates over and above social life. In practice, however, the currency has generated a thriving community around its political ideals, relies on a high degree of social organization in order to be produced, has a discernible social structure, and is characterized by asymmetries of wealth and power that not dissimilar from the mainstream financial system. Unwittingly, then, Bitcoin serves as a powerful demonstration of the relational character of money.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://journals.sagepub.com/home/tcs
Additional Information: © 2017 The Author
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Sets: Departments > Sociology
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2017 14:36
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2018 15:19
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/69229

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics