Cryptocurrencies and their potential for large-crowd, cost-effective transactions in peer production

  • Yong Ming Kow City University of Hong Kong
Keywords: Cryptocurrencies, bitcoin, use cases, interviews


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.

Author Biography

Yong Ming Kow, City University of Hong Kong

Yong Ming Kow is a social computing scientist in the field of human-computer interaction. His research focuses on studies of community cultures around media design and development as informed by ethnography. In particular, he is investigating collaborative work and practices within research areas including computer games, peer collaboration, digital youth, and novel uses of media artifacts. An example of his contributions includes a First Monday special issue discussing user creativity and governance on the Internet. Yong Ming is currently an Assistant Professor at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong.

How to Cite
Kow, Y. M. (2017). Cryptocurrencies and their potential for large-crowd, cost-effective transactions in peer production. First Monday, 22(8).