My research sheds light on the materiality of cryptocurrencies, their communities, and markets. Locating a historically new money form, Data Money, it shows that cryptocurrencies draw on monetizing the right to send data privately on the public accounting blockchains. Employing an ethnographical study of one crypto community and a macro sociological analysis of all cryptocurrencies and their global markets, my research analyzes the making of an emergent global phenomenon and its power dynamics.

Drawing on anthropological fieldwork, big data analysis, and sociological surveys of cryptocurrencies and their global communities, my research sheds lights on Data Money, a historically new money form. It shows that 1) Data Monies are not replacing fiat currencies; they contribute to dollarization and euroization of trade; 2) Centralized institutional markets are replacing “disintermediated” blockchains on the ground; and 3) How seemingly decentralized financial universes are dominated by sociologically identifiable centers of power in terms of gender, geographical location, development considerations, and education levels. Underlining the need to rethink policy measures surrounding crypto economies, the research departs from conventional disciplinary approaches by deploying a trans-disciplinary and cross-cultural materialist take on new economies, and moving the field of study to asking and addressing novel questions about intangible material infrastructures of economic platforms.


Tags: cryptocurrency, blockchain, market, exchange, platform