6th December 2012

Value and Currency in Peer Production

The Journal of Peer Production

CFP: Value and Currency in Peer Production

Edited by: Nathaniel Tkacz, Nicolás Mendoza and Francesca Musiani.

The marriage of cryptography and the dynamics of open-source have now produced a working distributed currency system. Bitcoin, as the most notable example, can be understood as a new technics of exchange inspired by the animal spirits of crypto-libertarianism. Whether or not there is a place for currency — and therefore exchange and (economic) value — in the utopian visions of commons-oriented thought is contested. Meanwhile, hybrid forms like Bitcoin are developing unhindered by their constitutional paradoxes. Capitalism, after all, equally thrives atop what David Graeber has called a ‘baseline’ or ‘everyday’ communism. Current developments of digital currencies are pervaded by a number of issues: Who or what issues the money? What is the source of the collective agreement to concede value? What forms of control are coded into currency systems and who is guiding processes of (re)design? Who plays the role of guarantor when a currency is decentralized? And what role does trust play in all these issues? Has crypto-mathematics transformed trust into a technical quality of a system?

The flipside of this issue is value: The intensification and extension of computational procedures, which is manifested most clearly in the rise of big data, has lead to a proliferation of bottom-up procedures to formalise ‘values’, rendering them easily calculable and lending order to the decentralised world of peers. Wikipedia contributors, for example, have long awarded each other ‘barnstars’ for valued service in a range of areas, and the site has long explored ways of rating article quality. In place of managerial commands and bureaucratic hierarchies we have Karma points, ranking systems, reputation metrics and the long-tail logic of networks. Order in this sense is iterative, recursive and topological.

This issue of The Journal of Peer Production invites contributions on the themes of value and currency as they relate to peer production.

Topics might include but are not limited to:

  • Decentralised and crypto-currencies;
  • Non-coercive taxation systems and/or experiments/experiences;
  • Analog/pre-digital (or historical) networks for distributed value exchange;
  • Currency and design;
  • Currencies and the commons;
  • Life after fiat (the becoming-uncertain of taxes);
  • What does/should peer production value?;
  • Re-thinking the constitution of value;
  • Theories of non-monetary value and worth;
  • The relationship between valuing practices and project hierarchies;
  • Forms of belief in peer production;
  • Automated systems of ranking and distributing value;
  • Theories of exchange, gift and voluntarism;
  • Trust and anonymity in the building of value;
  • Intermediation and ‘guarantees’ in P2P exchanges.

Submission proposals of under 500 words due by January 28, 2013. Full submission details and extended CFP available at http://peerproduction.net/value-and-currency-in-peer-production/.