IPW Lecture - Blockchain, Finance and Digital Infrastructure in the context of North-South inequalities

When: Wednesday, 22 November 2023, 16:45. Where: Hörsaal 31, Hauptgebäude der Universität Wien, 1st floor, Stiege 9, Universitätsring 1 , 1010 Vienna. Speaker: Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn (University of Groningen). Moderation: Tobias Boos (Department of Political Science, University of Vienna).

In cooperation with AK Wien

When: Monday, 22 November 2023, 16:45
Where:  Hörsaal 31, Hauptgebäude der Universität Wien, 1st floor, Stiege 9, Universitätsring 1 , 1010 Vienna

Speaker: Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn (University of Groningen)

Moderation: Tobias Boos (Department of Political Science, University of Vienna)



We still do not know the identity or identities of Satoshi Nakamoto, the person(s) who prompted the first application of blockchain technology to Bitcoin in 2008-9. What we do know is that, in spite of grandiose initial promises surrounding this distributed ledger techology, the various digital tokens and trading mechanisms of blockchain-based "decentralized finance" (DeFi) have become highly concentrated in terms of actual ownership. This talk will examine how technical objects and socio-economic practices in a blockchain-based financial infrastructure emerging over the past decade have replicated the very concentrations of power and ownership that have long characterised the existing financial infrastructure Satoshi Nakamoto sought to replace. The talk argues how, despite being routinely decried by DeFi advocates as 'centralized finance' (CeFi), mainstream finance increasingly converges with 'alt' finance in further widening North-South disparities in financial access and ownership. If blockchain or any technological solution is ever to help 'democratise' and render finance more equitable, far more concrete attention must be posed to questions of ownership within boarder contexts of global hierarchies and inequalities.

"IPW Lectures" Einzelankündigungs-Schriftzuglogo des Instituts für Politikwissenschaft, Universität Wien.