The spectacle of the cryptocurrency is over and has given way to the banality of the blockchain. Anxious to fall behind and worried about “disruption” and “not being digital enough” banks, lawyers, start-ups, governments, NGOs, are all too eager to adopt blockchain technologies. What is valued and what kind of views on finance and money are we dealing with here?
As long as blockchain is applied to capitalism’s central institutions, such as contracts, property and copyright, money, and the banking and insurance industry, it will not “disrupt” anything only continue to co-manage the shit pile. While the gradual development towards a coinless and paperless capitalism marketized as green and sustainable is in full swing, artists, activists and journalists see an infrastructure ripe for critical intervention and appropriation.
Moving beyond finance, some affordances of blockchain applications allow for novel forms of exchange and data practices. Do we see the beginnings of new models for exchange and valuation that might replace the crumbling ad-based model of monetization? At MoneyLab #6 we want to explore the new relations between money, valuation and (digital) infrastructures. “Infrastructures of Money” addresses money both as practice and as the social infrastructure and condition for cooperation. Money is not just a number written in dollars and cents, but a medium of relation and a token of trust. Situated in Siegen University’s broader Media Studies department, the Collaborative Research Center “Media of Cooperation” invites you to inquire into the socio-materialities of monetary and valuation practices. In the tradition of MoneyLab, we encourage contributors to critique social media, to explore practices of digital infrastructures, and to investigate valorisations of social life. We aim to address the tensions between global corporate infrastructures and local practices and enactments. What if we were capable of reinventing money as a medium of cooperation?
More information can be found on the Institute of Network Cultures website.