This paper inquires into how token economies come to be, or how they are constituted. In examining this question, we draw on the market-making literature in economic sociology and the literature on social imaginaries. Our point of departure is that instead of a market emerging from a bureaucracy, we investigate a market emerging from a blockocracy, which is a form of organising based on public, permissionless, decentralised, coin-based blockchains. We argue that Ethereum is a blockocracy out of which a token economy comes to be and that the particular form of that token economy is best understood through the notion of an imaginary. We describe the Ethereum imaginary on six dimensions with an associated image for each: technical (the world computer), financial (functional money), political (cypherpunk mutualists), ethical (public goods commonists), organisational (decentralist engineers) and aesthetic (playful creators).
Ennis, Paul J.; Kavanagh, Donncha; and Araujo, Luis, "BLOCKOCRACIES AND TOKEN ECONOMIES: THE ETHEREUM IMAGINARY" (2021). ECIS 2021 Research-in-Progress Papers. 48.
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