Cryptocurrencies and their potential for large-crowd, cost-effective transactions in peer production
Cryptocurrencies — being digitally transmitted and embodied within peer-to-peer infrastructures — may mediate new forms of peer-driven interactions and collaborations among Internet users. In this paper, I performed in-depth interviews of cryptocurrencies’ emerging uses with 16 participants between September 2013 and March 2015. My analysis of how these users have used cryptocurrencies revealed a new feature, large-crowd, cost-effective transactions (trades involving massive numbers of participants), that can drive trades involving massive numbers of participants. Cryptocurrencies, having a peer-driven logical infrastructure, are already known to offer a freer alternate medium for users to customize or automate monetary processes. But the newly identified feature makes it possible for peer producers to organize work payment options involving a large crowd of contributors. This capacity suggests the emergence of many-to-many financial flows in small individual amounts. Taken together, I identify a cluster of temporal and spatial ways that cryptocurrencies remix and automate payment mechanisms and pathways.
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