Bitcoin, the end of the Taboo on Money
Bitcoin is a decentralized system of digital authentication that facilitates the circulation of value on the Internet without the presence of any intermediaries, a characteristic that has often gained it the definition of digital cash or crypto currency, since it can be used as money for payments.
This article consists in a technoetic inquiry into the origins of this technology and its evolution. This inquiry will take in consideration the biopolitical dynamics that govern the Bitcoin community as well specific characteristics of the technical realization, aiming to provide insights on the future of this technology as well a post-humanist interpretation of its emergence.
The most powerful forces, those that interest us the most, are not in a specular and negative relation to modernity, to the contrary they move on transversal trajectories. On this basis we shouldn’t conclude that they oppose everything that is modern and rational, but that are engaged in creating new forms of rationality and new forms of liberation.
(Negri & Hardt, 2010, “Commonwealth”)
This article doesn’t aim to describe what Bitcoin is to the reader: there are several information sources that already accomplish that, starting from well designed video animations, vast numbers of press and academic articles listed on the wikipedia entry, and even a rather positive dramatization in an episode of the popular TV series “The Good Wife”.
Rather than divulging the functionality of Bitcoin or its vulnerabilities, or even building an interpretation of it according to economic theories, this article investigates historical and philosophical aspects related to the emergence of this technology. In order to do so, the writer has been involved for more than two years within the Bitcoin community, engaging in both cooperative and critical exchanges with its peers.
Money is a fundamental medium upon which to build constituency and consolidate sovereignty. This research investigates the need for such a constituency, its urgency and emergence as a form of subjectivation. Ultimately this article provides a picture of the cultural context in which Bitcoin was grafted and has grown up to what it is now, offering keys to interpretation of its social and political aspects.