“What proves crucial in our view about the semiotics of Bitcoin is the embracement of a monetary pragmatics: Bitcoin enthusiasts make the move from discourse to practice in their insistence that privacy, labor, and value are ‘built into’ the currency’s networked protocols. This semiotics replays debates not just about privacy and individual liberty, but about the nature of money, as a material commodity or chain of credits.But what does that really mean?
We characterize Bitcoin’s semiotics as a ‘practical materialism’, which in turn is expressed via a digital metallism. We borrow these terms from the theorist of money Geoffrey Ingham’s (2004) coinage ‘practical metallism’. Ingham uses this phrase to refer to the discursive work of commodity money theories in “naturalizing the social relations of credit that constitute money.” The discursive politics of Bitcoin involves a similar foregrounding of materiality and backgrounding of credit relations. Despite the supposed immateriality of digital bits of information (Blanchette 2011), matter itself is very much at issue with Bitcoin, both in how it is conceptualized and in how individual Bitcoins are ‘mined.’”
“Inside the operations of the Bitcoin code lies a sociality of trust that is alternately expressed and obscured by a practical materialism with two components: concerns about privacy and concerns about value. Bitcoin’s practical materialism allows the chatter in the code, the proof of work, the materiality of the machines humming and whirring in mining rigs to be simultaneously backgrounded and foregrounded. This is not simply commodity fetishism. The code and the labor are backgrounded when Bitcoin adherents become latter-day goldbugs… From this perspective, Bitcoin represents a promise like any other money form, but a promise underwritten and backed by an algorithm and its manifestation in a digital peer-to-peer network.”Okay, so what?
“In detecting in Bitcoin an economic argument about the money supply, inflation, government, and the inherency of value, enthusiasts again trace the outlines of a practical materialism, in which the meaning of Bitcoin can be found hardwired into its code. That which makes Bitcoin meaningful– that is, its value — is specifically that which is intrinsic to it.”In other words:
“Bitcoin is meaningful and valuabe not so much as an actual complementary or alternative currency, but instead as an index of much broader discussions over the nature of money, credit and capital in the world today. The monetary value of Bitcoin rests as much in the future potential that its users imagine for it as on its current, relatively limited capacity to act as a medium of exchange. Similarly, its semiotic value grows out of the aspirations of Bitcoin adherents.”What rings true for me about this paper is its attempt to begin laying the groundwork for a philosophy of bitcoin as it relates to the [changing] nature of money. As posited by social semiotics, the existence of terms such as ‘digital metallism’ and other signifiers of the bitcoin protocol’s intrinsic qualities reflect the shift in power (financial, social) that bitcoin has set in motion. I believe that a philosophical framework for understanding bitcoin will begin to arise out of necessity. Currently there is no real framework for this endeavor (programming languages not included), but perhaps its time we start building one. Given the practical materiality of bitcoins it seems fair that any philosophy of bitcoin should not be metaphysical, but instead practical. What do you guys think?
“The point is not whether Bitcoin ‘works’ as a currency, but what it promises: solidity, materiality, stability, anonymity, and, strangely, community. Indeed, in its endeavor to cut out intermediaries with the capacity to direct or limit the flow of funds among users and instead build a networked world of individual nodes able to exchange directly and ‘freely’ with one another, Bitcoin combines a practical materialism with a politics of community and trust that puts the code front and center.”
Bill Maurer, University of California, Irvine. I picked up a copy of the Financial Times in the Munich airport on my way home from keynoting the Bundesbank’s biannual International Cash Conference. The lead article, headlined “Draghi calls for urgent spending as he relaunches stimulus,” reported that the European Central Bank had lowered interest rates deeper into negative territory, to ... One reason is that people value the ability to choose from multiple payment forms. Another, even more substantial argument for cash, is that the cash infrastructure serves a vital public role since cash can circulate independently of its issuer and it can work offline. Read full Currency News interview here. Professor Bill Maurer. The Director of the IMTFI is Professor Bill Maurer, Fellow of ... Bill Maurer (2005, p. 89) describes how value and therefore financial instruments can only be understood in terms of ‘pasts remembered, futures anticipated, and time measured’. We accept something as money because we expect that it will be accepted tomorrow. Experiments with money projects catalyze experiments with time. John Allen and Pryke (1999) draw upon Georg Simmel to demonstrate how ... We talked to Bill Maurer, director of the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion, while writing our new report, The Future of Payments & Currency. Maurer approaches the topic as a cultural anthropologist—he’s a professor of both anthropology and law at UC Irvine, where he is dean of social sciences. Maurer has particular expertise […] materiality of Bitcoin Bill Maurer a, Taylor C. Nelms a & Lana Swartz b a Department of Anthropology, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA b Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA Version of record first published: 12 Mar 2013. To cite this article: Bill Maurer , Taylor C. Nelms & Lana Swartz (2013): “When perhaps the ...
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Overview of U.S. regulatory perspectives on bitcoin This video is part of a larger online course, "From Barter to Bitcoin: Society, Technology and the Future of Money" run by Prof. Bill Maurer and ... The Oxford Union is the home of talks and debates by intriguing and influential people who shape our world. It has been established for 190 years, aiming to ... : Economic anthropologist Bill Maurer presents “Blockchains are a Diamond’s Best Friend” at the Contested Property Claims conference, hosted at Aarhus University in December 2016. Professor Bill Maurer discusses Alternative Currency This video is part of a larger online course, "From Barter to Bitcoin: Society, Technology and the Future of Money" run by Prof. Bill Maurer ... Thank you for watching! Please remember to LIKE and SUBSCRIBE! More info at https://MissionWinners.com Follow Pat Walker on Twitter @PatrickWalker56 #missionwinners.