This wide-ranging talk uses the current state of cryptocurrencies (most notably Bitcoin) and their underlying technologies to consider contemporary digital culture and its future. Professor Finn Brunton will discuss peer-to-peer networks, public key cryptography, proof-of-work systems, and the blockchain, illuminating their underlying social, political, and theoretical models and concepts. We will travel from sixth century Chang'an, seventeenth century Switzerland, and the vault of the New York Federal Reserve to IRC channels, software development communities, and closely guarded facilities in Iceland and Hong Kong to understand a system with fascinating implications for identity, ownership, authorship and trust online.
The inaugural Digital Studies Colloquium Talk.
Sponsored by Digital Studies and Science, Technology & Society. Additional sponsors to be named at event.