[NetBehaviour] arts blockchain and DAOWO

Rob Myers rob at robmyers.org
Sat Nov 25 19:03:26 CET 2017

On 25/11/17 05:21 AM, ruth catlow wrote:

> - Environmental and energy costs – more on this soon but I have been
> looking at Faircoin – proof of cooperation and I wonder if the
> clear-as-daylight, explicit mapping of environmental harm onto
> crypto-currency trading could provide the impetus for a global move to
> 100% renewables and zero carbon emissions.

Decred's experiments in governance (and energy efficiency...) are more
reflexive and to my mind sounder than Faircoin's for reasons I discuss
indirectly in "Blockchain Poetics" -


> - It's all about finance and profit and any other story is just an
> excuse or justification – polishing a turd – this is a serious
> question- I am meditating on it.

The ending of Tarkovsky's "Stalker" springs to mind. :-/

Or it may just be the case that high finance appropriates folk fintech
as high culture appropriates folk culture,

> Thor Karlsson presents Authenteq – a blockchain based identity
> platform that is eminently sensible and useful in a “trustless” world
> of people who want to rent things from others that they don't know,
> and move around freely, free of intermediaries. This rings many alarm
> bells for a room of artists, historians, sociologists and philosophers
> who value the ability to slip between many identities.

Yes I hear that ringing. There's a sharp disconnect between the
cypherpunk / cyberculture (cyerfeminist?) multiple pseudonyms of
Bitcoin, where each transaction is meant to use a new address in order
to help conceal your identity, and the recuperation of the value that
creates for a "real names"/Know Your Customer regime of singular,
unique, marketable, authentic identities.

> With a focus on the Byzantine Generals (the computer science problem
> behind the double spend problem which is solved by bitcoin) Ramon
> Amaro's talks about the logic of war and defence at the heart of
> cryptocultures. I've heard Brett Scott talk about this before too. If
> a cagillion people can interact with your thing, you have to assume
> that at least one of them is trying to destroy it. Ramon is a theorist
> working with the ethics of machine learning and racial bias and I have
> heard him talk before about how surveillance technologies do not see
> or read black bodies. This discussion therefore is about what happens
> to bodies excluded from universal systems of empowerment/control.

For me this materialisation of singular identities that will ultimately
amount to exploitable resources in the market seems a continuation of
rather than a challenge to the rentier economy. :-(

> I ask a naïve hypothetical question – technologies represent the
> interests and values of those who develop them, so if our global
> network technologies were created and funded by cohorts of that more
> closely matched the ethnic and cultural diversity of everyone in the
> world, would we now be working with a more just and humane globabl
> technical infrastructure? 

No. We would just provide better tools for regional hierarchies of
social domination. :-(

> Amit Rai wrote to me this morning in an email “What's the relation
> historically between identity and capital? Branding was an important
> part of the commodification of slaves, the blockchain is an evolution
> from that technology, or at least partly I think. “

Reputational capital, and exploitation of identity as capital, relate
back to "bodies" and those that speak for them in a critique-of-critique

The blockchain uses signatures, not brands. But it is a chain... ;-)

- Rob.

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