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Latin American Anthropology Seminar Series, hosted by the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS)

Bruno Campos Cardoso, Federal University of São Carlos, Brazil

Hyperbitcoinization: Towards Far-Right Speculative Futures

This presentation aims to explore some ideas surrounding the concept of hyperbitcoinization: the unstoppable process through which Bitcoin might take over the world. Since its most famous development in an article by Daniel Krawisz in 2014, the idea of hyperbitcoinization congregates a set of cyberlibertarian ideologies and speculative futures which came to be known in cryptocurrency communities as “Bitcoin maximalism”. According to its advocates, the inception of the Bitcoin protocol by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 has triggered an emerging monetary revolution which will inevitably consume all other cryptocurrencies, all nation-state fiat currencies, and the whole world economy itself. Bitcoin's P2P decentralized transaction system and its ever-growing network of energy-hungry mining machines are set to exert such a gravitational pull that Bitcoin maximalists often compare it to an economic black hole. The hyperbitcoinization mythos, powered by Fear of Missing Out positive feedback loops, outlines most of cyberlibertarian imagined futures. By drawing on my fieldwork among Brazilian bitcoiners, I argue that the system-specific temporalities of Bitcoin pushes both for speculative futures where Bitcoin becomes the main vehicle for communicating value, and for the ongoing right-wing radicalization of digital crowds.

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The Latin American Anthropology Seminar Series is convened by Jessica Sklair (QMUL), Denisse Román-Burgos (Aberdeen) and Ainhoa Montoya (CLACS, SAS).

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