Bitcoin: The Political Virtual of an Intangible Material Currency by @MarkAJansen #bitcoin

Utrecht University, New Media and Digital Culture, MA Thesis August 2012 Bitcoin: the Political Virtual of an Intangible Material Currency Abstract This paper concerns the open source software project Bitcoin. Bitcoin is often described as virtual cash and this paper asks what the term ‘virtual’ signifies when applied to ‘cash’ and in turn what ‘virtual cash’ says about Bitcoin. Bitcoin is related to the 1990s activist movement of libertarian cryptographers known as ‘cypherpunks’ and to the cyber-libertarian political philosophy, demonstrating the historical intertwining of cryptography and politics. Cypherpunks argued that privacy is a prerequisite for an open society and that cryptography and anonymous transaction systems were needed as assurance. Bitcoin is the latest effort by cryptographers to create digital tokens similar to cash, where Bitcoin’s designer Nakamoto ar...

Full article: http://themonetaryfuture.blogspot.com/2012/10/bitcoin-pol...

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