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Money Code SpaceHidden Power in Bitcoin, Blockchain, and Decentralisation$
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Jack Parkin

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197515075

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197515075.001.0001

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Follow the Digital Thing

Follow the Digital Thing

(p.56) 3 Follow the Digital Thing
Money Code Space

Jack Parkin

Oxford University Press

Acknowledging how Bitcoin is geographically contingent and diverse, the follow the thing research design outlined allows for tracing the connections between different aspects of its protocol that are practised by a multitude of people in various places. This is done by documenting traditional follow the thing work and explaining how knowledge can be gathered from such a technique before adapting this research process for the task at hand. The breakdown then shifts into sketching a specific yet malleable research method that harnesses the flexibility necessary for researching the complex political economies of Bitcoin and other blockchains. This multi-sited and multi-angled approach creates a partial but far-reaching account of algorithmic decetralisation.

Keywords:   follow the thing, digital ethnography, participant observation, qualitative data, unstructured interviews, commodity fetishism, screen essentialism, snowball sampling, actor-network theory, black box

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