Ideologies and Imaginaries in Blockchain Communities: The Case of Ethereum

Authors

  • Ann Brody McGill University
  • Stéphane Couture Université de Montréal

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.22230/cjc.2021v46n3a3701

Keywords:

Blockchain; Ethereum; Ideologies; Decentralization; Science and technology Studies / Blockchain; Ethereum; Idéologies; Décentralisation; Études sur les sciences et les technologies

Abstract

Background: Academic literature on blockchains has focused on Bitcoin, which is traditionally
associated with right-wing libertarianism. This article looks at Ethereum, an alternative that emerged in Canada and is now the second most used blockchain technology after Bitcoin.

Analysis: Using participatory observation supplemented with publicly available material, this article examines the ideologies and imaginaries surrounding Ethereum and how they are articulated with its technical design.
Conclusion and implications: Ethereum’s design ostensibly widens the ideological spectrum of cryptocurrency while “masking” certain currency ideologies still prominent within it. This complicates the distinction seen in the literature between blockchain as currency and blockchain as media and points to the increasing need to study non-currency-based blockchain technologies.


Contexte : La recherche sur les blockchains s’est surtout attardé à Bitcoin, en l’associant aux idéologies libertariennes. Cet article aborde Ethereum, la technologie de blockchain la plus utilisée après Bitcoin.
Analyse : Basé sur l’observation participante et du matériel publiquement accessible, l’article analyse les idéologies et imaginaires entourant Ethereum et leur articulation avec son design technique.
Conclusion et implications : Ethereum élargit le spectre idéologique des blockchains tout en «masquant» certaines idéologies monétaires toujours proéminentes. Cela complique la distinction énoncée dans la littérature entre blockchains comme monnaie et blockchains comme média, etc.

Author Biographies

Ann Brody, McGill University

Ann Brody is a Doctoral Student at the Art History and Communication Studies Department at McGill University, 845 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, Quebec H3A 0G4. Email: ann.brody@mail.mcgill.ca

Stéphane Couture, Université de Montréal

Stéphane Couture is an Asssistant Professor at the Department of Communication of Université de Montréal, 90, Vincent-d'Indy, Montréal, QC, H3C 3J7. Email: stephane.couture@umontreal.ca

Published

2021-09-09

Issue

Section

Articles