Institutional Scholarship

Bitcoin and the Politics of Distributed Trust

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dc.contributor.advisor Fraga, Christopher Michael Barton, Pravin 2015-06-23T15:46:10Z 2015-06-23T15:46:10Z 2015
dc.description.abstract Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, a currency that is based on cryptographic proof rather than state issue. Users can send the currency immediately and irreversibly over the Internet. Bitcoin works by a distributed protocol, without any sort of central server keeping track of accounts. All transactions are publicly stored on a ledger called the ‘blockchain’. Proponents of Bitcoin promote it as a solution to the ills of state-controlled money, such as inflation and taxation. Bitcoin, in this discourse, is a “trustless currency.” Users do not have to trust a government or a financial system. The workings of the money are mathematically guaranteed by the software. This work studies the discourses of Bitcoin on, one of the major online forums for discussing Bitcoin. Grounded in hacker values of self-reliance and privacy, forum posters engage issues of trust and politics. In particular, they use the issue of password choice to think through the security of the institutions of Bitcoin. The discourses of trust often have radical political elements. Bitcoin’s trustlessness is subversive, in one view, clashing with the ‘trusted third party’ logic of the state. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Swarthmore College. Dept. of Sociology & Anthropology en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.rights Full copyright to this work is retained by the student author. It may only be used for non-commercial, research, and educational purposes. All other uses are restricted.
dc.title Bitcoin and the Politics of Distributed Trust en_US
dc.type Thesis (B.A.)

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