The Politics of Bitcoin

Friday, May 26, 2017
David Golumbia has a new book titled The Politics of Bitcoin: Software as Right-Wing Extremism. It has received less than stellar reviews from Duke University’s Mike Munger and Bitcoin Magazine’s  Giulio Prisco. So, perhaps I am just piling on. But pile on I must. Here’s the short version: Many see bitcoin as a clever piece of code; an alternative payment mechanism; or a proof-of-concept for the underlying blockchain technology. David Golumbia sees it as right-wing extremism. In his new book, The Politics of Bitcoin, Golumbia argues that bitcoin was designed to “satisfy needs that make sense only in the context of right-wing politics”; that “Bitcoin enthusiasts repackage material from [right-wing extremist] writers almost verbatim” and, as such, “Bitcoin serves […] to spread and firmly root” the right-wing ideology. But the overall narrative put forward by Golumbia breaks down when one scratches the surface. You can read my full review here.

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William J. Luther, PhD

William J. Luther is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Kenyon College and an Adjunct Scholar with the Cato Institute’s Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives. His research focuses primarily on questions of currency acceptance. He has published articles in leading scholarly journals, including Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Economic Inquiry, Public Choice, and Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance. His popular works have appeared in The Economist, Forbes, and U.S. News & World Report. He has been cited by major media outlets, including NPR, VICE News, Al Jazeera, The Christian Science Monitor, and New Scientist.

Luther earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics at George Mason University and his B.A. in Economics at Capital University. He was an AIER Summer Fellowship Program participant in 2010 and 2011.