::fibreculture:: Cryptocurrencies Workshop

Ned Rossiter ned at nedrossiter.org
Fri May 13 00:52:06 CEST 2016

Cryptocurrencies Workshop
17 May 2016
Institute for Culture and Society
Western Sydney University, Parramatta South
Room: EA.1.33
Time:    1–4 pm
Organized by Liam Magee, Jack Parkin and Ned Rossiter, ICS Digital Life
research program

Misunderstood outside the boutique industries of micro-finance and tech
startups, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are moving fast
into the mainstream. Banks, insurance companies and the financial press
are scrambling to understand their implications. Once a conceptual
twinkle in the eye of Cypherpunks – an online movement of anarchic
libertarian-leaning cryptographers – cryptocurrencies have become a
social, technical and economic reality. Bitcoin, the first widely
implemented cryptocurrency, arose from the ashes of the 2008 global
financial crisis as a codified alternative to trusting fiat currencies
that are heavily influenced by private banks and the nation state.
Bitcoin’s decentralized protocol – the blockchain – promised to free
people from an oppressive global monetary system and put financial power
back into the hands of the masses. But for those not technically
inclined, a host of startup companies have produced fee-based systems
that simplify use of the blockchain. A fledgling industry sector has
spawned, receiving over one billion U.S. dollars in capital investment
to date. As the spectacular collapse of Mt Gox, a Bitcoin exchange,
demonstrated in 2014, financial distrust is far from being eliminated in
the new systems of digital capital distribution. Yet the world of the
blockchain moves on. Its software architecture and algorithms are being
configured by startup companies and platforms such as Ethereum to
reorganize information in banking, law and accountancy via smart
contracts, techno-equity and decentralized registers. This workshop
introduces cryptocurrencies, bringing academic researchers together with
industry representatives to discuss the phenomenon of alternative
monetary systems such as Bitcoin and the capacity of blockchain
architectures to scale and reorganize institutional cultures and social

Registration (free)
Spaces are limited, so please register at: http://tinyurl.com/jfkjvo3
Coffee/tea will be provided.

Schedule (with Q&A after each presentation)
1:00    Introduction – Ned Rossiter and Liam Magee
1:10    Bit Trade Labs, What is the Blockchain?
1:35    Jack Parkin, Grounding Digital Currencies: The Geography of Bitcoin
2:00    Chris Mountford, Blockchain as an Application Platform
2.25    Teresa Swist & Liam Magee, Crypto-research: Blockchains,
Academia and Decentralisation
2:50    Bit Trade Labs, SovereignID: Towards the Blockchained Self
3:15    Ned Rossiter, Blockchains and the Territoriality of Organization
3:30    General discussion, with reference to presentations and readings
4:00    Closing remarks

Speaker bios
Liam Magee is Senior Research Fellow in the Institute for Culture and
Society, and with Ned Rossiter co-convenes the Digital Life Research
Program. He is author of Interwoven Cities (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

Jonathon Miller is co-founder of Bit Trade Australia and is a director
of Bit Trade Labs. He holds an honours degree in political economics and
runs an indie record label, but exercises the force of his creativity as
a blockchain consultant with specialist understanding of product
development and blockchain technology.

Chris Mountford is a senior software developer with a heavy involvement
in the Bitcoin space. He is widely regarded as Australia’s leading
technical speaker on Bitcoin and related technologies.

Jack Parkin is a PhD candidate at Western Sydney University. His PhD
looks at the spatial relationships of Bitcoin drawing from ethnographic
fieldwork in the ‘Bitcoin hubs’ of Silicon Valley, London and New York.

Ned Rossiter is Professor of Communication with a joint appointment in
the Institute for Culture and Society and the School of Humanities and
Communication Arts at Western Sydney University. He is author of
Software, Infrastructure, Labor: A Media Theory of Logistical Nightmares
(Routledge, 2016).

Teresa Swist is Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Young and Well
Research Cooperative Centre at the Institute for Culture and Society.
She researches participatory design and processes of innovation, and is
preparing a manuscript, Improvising the University: How We Learn Through
Making, for Springer.

‘The Magic of Mining’, The Economist, 10 January, 2015,

Eyres, James. ‘Why the Blockchain will Propel a Services Revolution’,
Australian Financial Review, 14 December, 2014,

Kostakis, Vasilis and  Giotitsas, Chris. ‘The (A)Political Economy of
Bitcoin’, Triple C (Communication, Capitalism and Critique): Journal for
a Global Sustainable Information Society 2.2 (2014),

Lanchester, John. ‘When Bitcoin Grows Up’, London Review of Books 38.8
(2016): 3–12,

Ned Rossiter
Professor of Communication
Institute for Culture and Society /
School of Humanities and Communication Arts
Western Sydney University
Parramatta Campus
Locked Bag 1797
Penrith NSW 2751

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