The commercial Conceptualization of Cryptocurrency

Joshua Fairfield, William D. Bain Family Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, Washington and Lee University

The commercial Conceptualization of Cryptocurrency

RHMZ03 (Rutherford House Mezzanine Seminar Room 3) or virtually through Cassyni.

In the midst of a global meltdown of financially focused cryptocurrencies, distributed ledger technologies are in search of a second sentence. DLTs have always been combined techno-social systems. The commercial conceptualization of cryptocurrency -- the idea that the core application for blockchain is decentralized finance -- has kept academic focus overwhelmingly on the technological part of the policy problem. What the current meltdown reveals is the degree to which DLTs serve as loci for social and community organization. DLT communities organize around decentralized finance, but the level of commitment and community show that the payoff for investors is being involved in a movement or a cause. Similarly, NFTs are more than digital deeds. The deeds can designate unique online assets, but the real work of spinning up a blockchain is one of generating social value for those assets. Why a given Bored Ape has value is a far more important question than the operation of a distributed database technology. Much work remains yet to be done to adequately account for the social component of the policy question.

This conversation will explore recent events in the current DLT meltdown with a view toward revealing and surfacing questions of community and identity that are increasingly coming to the forefront of distributed ledger tools and development.

For virtual attendance please register through Cassyni.