Yue Wu

Department of Architecture

Farmer, Miner, Builder, Trader: Re-humanizing the distributed infrastructures of Bitcoin

Social scientist gurus, transnational corporations’ CEOs, and mass media journalists all emphasize that cryptocurrency will lead humanity to a future of increasing extraordinary financial and spatial decentralization. However, although bitcoin has been around for 10 years, existing bitcoin geopolitics has not been significantly addressed. If we try to thoroughly understand what bitcoin exactly is, it is crucial to ask questions such as the following. What are bitcoin’s dynamic urban landscape and the ramification it has brought to us? And what will the future of bitcoin’s technology offer to us?

The thesis reveals a more dynamic bitcoinization process which remains a fundamentally capitalist urban process from an architecture and urbanism lens. It concludes by exploring a design question: how do designers envision a dystopia fueled by bitcoin, perhaps combatting it, based on the relationship between ourselves, as humans, and bitcoin technology? With this exploration, it develops a more substantial critique of the potential paradoxes led by the bitcoin technology, in order to raise awareness of the ongoing cryptocurrency mining situation, whose underlying desperation and hysteria are concealed by the rhetoric of liberation and decentralization.

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