aims to examine what is at stake in the formalisation of ‘doing good’ under blockchain systems for decentralised trust. We consider how one could design for contingency, to identify what must be left out. The themes we will be exploring are: behaviour under transparency; incentives for participation; increased engagement & resisting de-facto centralisation.
Citizen groups that engage in activism and ‘doing good’ are generally structured around informal economies which rely on a certain degree of flexibility, improvisation and indeterminacy of activity. The introduction of technical systems can have a flattening effect that removes all contingency from a system, and sets distinct rules under which an activity or exchange can take place. These rules may also be opaque, shaped by the affordances of technologies.
In exploring the notion of ‘doing good’ with blockchains we look at how application to informal systems (e.g. for organising migration from war zones to stable territories) are forced into a formalised rule based structure, while formal systems for public good (eg distribution of social welfare) may exacerbate issues of both exclusion and monitoring.
This workshop is devised by Ruth Catlow (Furtherfield) and Ben Vickers (Serpentine) in collaboration with Goethe-Institut London and in partnership with Dr Sarah Meiklejohn from UCL, as part of the research project Glass Houses – Transparency and Privacy in Information Economies.
Sarah Meiklejohn is a Reader in Cryptography and Security at University College London. She has broad research interests in computer security and cryptography, and has worked on topics such as anonymity and criminal abuses in cryptocurrencies, privacy-enhancing technologies, and bringing transparency to shared systems.
Jaya Klara Brekke
Jaya Klara Brekke writes, does research and speaks on the political economy of blockchain and consensus protocols, focusing on questions of politics, redistribution and power in distributed systems. She is the author of the B9Lab ethical training module for blockchain developers, and the Satoshi Oath, a hippocratic oath for blockchain development. She is based between London, occasionally Vienna (as a collaborator of RIAT – Institute for Future Cryptoeconomics) and Durham University, UK where she is writing a PhD with the preliminary title Distributing Chains, three strategies for thinking blockchain politically (distributingchains.info).
Laura Willis works as Design Lead in user experience at CitizenMe. Alongside this work Laura is also very passionate about illustration and won an award for Macmillan children’s books before she graduated from University of the Arts, London.
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Kei Kreutler is a researcher, designer, and developer interested in how cultural narratives of technologies shape their use. She contributes to a range of projects—from the networked residence initiative unMonastery to the augmented reality game for urban research PATTERNIST—related to organizational design and practice. She is Creative Director at Gnosis, a forecasting platform on the Ethereum blockchain, and lives in Berlin.