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Accepted Paper:

Bitcoin: A fully automated, precarious capitalism  
Martin Tremcinsky (Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

The text argues that the Bitcoin architecture allows for the extraction of value from the processes of social reproduction. To analyze this process, it uses insights from the Marxist structuralist anthropology of kinship.

Paper long abstract:

The text argues that, despite the promises of equal access, the decentralized cryptocurrency structure is utilized to automatize and accelerate the exploitation of reproductive labour, effectively dividing its users into two classes – miners and investors. It analyses the production and reproduction of Bitcoin through the lens of exploitation of the domestic community as formulated by Claude Meillassoux. Bitcoin's distributed ledger, Blockchain, serves as a unilineal descent structure, which creates a linage of digital objects (blocks) to control the reproduction of Bitcoin (i.e. it prevents the double-spending of coins). The labour-intensive reproduction of the Blockchain is called mining. Miners repeatedly compete with each other in completing a block of transactions and adding it to the Blockchain. Only the winning miners get the reward in the form of newly emitted coins, while the non-wining miners carry out a significant amount of free labour to secure the Bitcoin protocol. The miners depend on the investors' valorization of Bitcoin to cover the ever-increasing costs of mining. Similarly to Meilassoux' analysis, where the value produced by the domestic community is appropriated by capital as low-waged labour-power, the value created by miners' labour is appropriated by the Bitcoin investors as its increased security, and thus eventually as a higher exchange-value.

Panel P28a
Blockchain Imaginaries: Techno-utopianism, dystopias, and the future-imagining of Web 3.0
  Session 1 Monday 6 June, 2022, -