Since the launch of Bitcoin in 2009 several hundred different ‘cryptocurrencies’ have been developed and become accepted for a wide variety of transactions in leading online commercial marketplaces and the ‘sharing economy’, as well as by more traditional retailers, manufacturers, and even by charities and political parties.
Bitcoin and its competitors have also garnered attention for their wildly fluctuating values as well as implication in international money laundering, Ponzi schemes and online trade in illicit goods and services across borders. These and other controversies surrounding cryptocurrencies have induced varying governance responses by central banks, government ministries, international organizations, and industry regulators worldwide. Besides formal attempts to ban Bitcoin, there have been multifaceted efforts to incorporate elements of blockchains, the peer-to-peer technology underlying cryptocurrencies, in the wider exchange, recording, and broadcasting of digital transactions. Blockchains are being mobilized to support and extend an array of governance activities. The novelty and breadth of growing blockchain-based activities have fuelled both utopian promises and dystopian fears regarding applications of the emergent technology to Bitcoin and beyond.
This volume brings scholars of anthropology, economics, Science and Technology Studies, and sociology together with GPE scholars in assessing the actual implications posed by Bitcoin and blockchains for contemporary global governance. Its interdisciplinary contributions provide academics, policymakers, industry practitioners and the general public with more nuanced understandings of technological change in the changing character of governance within and across the borders of nation-states.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction: What are blockchains and how are they relevant to governance in the contemporary global political economy?
Chapter 2: Moneys at the Margins – From Political Experiment to Cashless Societies
Moritz Hütten and Matthias Thiemann
Chapter 3: The Internal and External Governance of Blockchain-Based Organisations: Evidence from Cryptocurrencies
Ying-Ying Hsieh, JP Vergne, and Sha Wang
Chapter 4: The Mutual Constitution of Technology and Global Governance: Bitcoin, Blockchains, and the International Anti-Money Laundering Regime
Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn and Marcel Goguen
Chapter 5: Between Liberalization and Prohibition: Prudent Enthusiasm and the Governance of Bitcoin/Blockchain Technology
Kai Jia and Falin Zhang
Chapter 6: Cryptocurrencies and Digital Payment Rails in Networked Global Governance: Perspectives on Inclusion and Innovation
Daivi Rodima-Taylor and William W. Grimes
Chapter 7: Governing What Wasn’t Meant To Be Governed: A Controversy-Based Approach to the Study of Bitcoin Governance
Francesca Musiani, Alexandre Mallard and Cécile Méadel
Chapter 8: Experiments in Algorithmic Governance: A History and Ethnography of "The DAO," a Failed Decentralized Autonomous Organization
Chapter 9: Conclusion: Towards A Block Age or Blockages of Global Governance?
Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. His research combines a general focus on language and ideas in the global political economy with a specific interest in the roles of private actors, technologies and technical artefacts in contemporary global governance. His research has appeared in the journals Business and Politics, Competition and Change, Global Society, Journal of European Public Policy, New Political Economy, and New Political Science. He is the author of Professional Authority After the Global Financial Crisis, published in 2017 by Palgrave MacMillan.
This is the first book by an interdisciplinary team of social scientists inquiring into the global governance implications of the block-chain technology. Anyone interested in the intersection of technology and global governance will enjoy reading this book. As a bonus, the book will also help you get prepared for a future change in your local ATM machine and for having coffee with lawyers put out of work by self-executing contracts. - Peter J. Katzenstein, Walter S. Carpenter, Jr. Professor of International Studies, Cornell University
"Cryptocurrencies have emerged as one of most important innovation in credit creation in the past decade. The global architecture of cryptocurrencies poses major challenges to monetary policy, financial stability and money laundering control. Academics have been slow to grasp the significance of the cryptocurrency revolution: this book is among the first to provide a thorough, comprehensive and yet accessible examination of the challenges posed by the world of Cryptocurrencies." - Ronen Palan, Department of International Politics, City University London