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Secret life of the bitcoin blockchain

Skye Elijah

Global solidarity economy or a decentralized den of inequity?

According to evangelists, cryptocurrency's future is heading towards social solidarity. Bitcoin's distributed database protocol is breathlessly described as the solution to all kinds of social and political problems, and an escape from relying on centralized institutions.

It's worth considering, however, whether the overall arc of blockchain innovation bends towards social empowerment, or if this network of interaction is an invisible structure of techno-authoritarianism, disguised in decentralized form. Review of current uses, its trajectory, and the political context of governance issues threatening its future.


6 years, 8 months ago

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LibrePlanet 2017 video · LibrePlanet 2017 · LibrePlanet · lp2017 · video

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LibrePlanet 2017 Videos (libreplanet)


CC BY 4.0


This talk was presented at LibrePlanet.


LibrePlanet is the Free Software Foundation's annual conference. The FSF campaigns for free/libre software, meaning it respects users' freedom and community. We believe that users are entitled to this; all software should be free.


We do not advocate "open source".

That term was coined to reject our views. It refers to similar practices, but usually presented solely as advantageous, without talking of right and wrong.


Richard Stallman launched the free software movement in 1983 by announcing development of the free operating system, GNU. By 1992, GNU was nearly operational; one major essential component was lacking, the kernel.


In 1992, Torvalds freed the kernel Linux, which filled the last gap in GNU. Since then, the combined GNU/Linux system has run in millions of computers. Nowadays you can buy a new computer with a totally free GNU/Linux system preinstalled.


The views of the speaker may not represent the Free Software Foundation. The Foundation supports the free software cause and freedom to share, and basic freedoms in the digital domain, but has no position on other political issues.