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Blockchain Imaginaries: Techno-utopianism, dystopias, and the future-imagining of Web 3.0 
Julie Valk (King's College London)
Alexandru Preda (King's College London)
Ruowen Xu (King's College London)
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Monday 6 June, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

This panel explores ‘blockchain imaginaries’, namely the narratives around the possibilities presented by blockchain technology, and invites papers dealing with blockchain firms, NFTs, cryptocurrencies, blockchain games, metaverse narratives, Web 3.0, digital worlds and identities.

Long Abstract:

We have witnessed a global explosion of all things blockchain, from supply chains to art and NGOs. Few would have imagined years ago the apparently simple technology of distributed ledgers would have such a rapid spread across so many domains. The last two years have seen a rise in speculation about what widespread adoption of blockchain technology would mean for our lives, particularly with regards to finance, banking, identification and leisure, among many others. We have also witnessed the NFT boom, in particular among younger generations, with discourses reflecting an optimistic future-imagining of Web 3.0 models and metaverses.

From the moment of their emergence around 2009, blockchain technologies have been accompanied by specific imaginaries, projections and narratives of common futures powered by this technology. Expectedly perhaps, the explosion of blockchain has been accompanied by an explosion of the imaginaries associated with them. These imaginaries claim to fundamentally remodel society, to transform life, business, and the global economy (albeit in radically different ways). The proposed panel seeks to explore these hitherto unexamined imaginaries from the angle of techno-imaginaries, financial imaginaries and the spaces where these overlap.

This panel is open to papers from anthropologists, cultural studies scholars, and sociologists, who have worked on financial imaginaries, techno-imaginaries, blockchain and crypto assets, to explore the ways in which blockchain imaginaries weave the two together, projecting utopian or dystopian futures. In the ambiguous space between hype and operability, we aim to explore how these imaginaries frame the development and deployment of blockchain technologies.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Monday 6 June, 2022, -