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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

The Political Economy of the Blockchain Society

P. 317-328.

The review discusses the political-economic aspects of the concept of distributed capitalism allowed for by blockchain technology. As opposed to the first era of the Internet, where the industry of financial and information services was dominated by intermediaries, the blockchain era is characterized by development of a new institution of trust; disruption of financial intermediation; economic inclusion of hundreds of millions of citizens in developing countries; an increase in competition and a decrease in inequality. The paper focuses on the content of key political-economic categories being redefined in the blockchain era. First, labor value gives way to creative value which is manifesting itself in cryptocurrencies. Second, exploitation of workers is replaced by digital discrimination. The blockchain revolution is a solution to the problem of discrimination against intellectual property creators, who have to hand over a large part of the value created to intermediaries. Third, capitalism characterized by information monopoly gives place to free competition based on rivalry between cryptocurrencies. Fourth, class struggle is substituted by confrontation between agents of information monopoly system and those of distributed economy. The author considers the main opposition to distributed capitalism to stem from the feudal financial system which loses ground under new conditions, where economic agents may use alternative currencies and interact directly with one other without risk and high transaction costs.