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The Paradoxes of Distributed Trust: Peer-to-Peer Architecture and User Confidence in Bitcoin

Abstract : The decentralized electronic currency system Bitcoin gives the possibility to execute transactions via direct communication between users, without the need to resort to third parties entrusted with legitimizing the concerned monetary value. In its current state of development - a recent, fast-changing, volatile and highly mediatized technology - the discourses that unfold within spaces of information and discussion related to Bitcoin can be analysed in light of their ability to produce at once the representations of value, the practices according to which it is transformed and evolves, and the devices allowing for its implementation. The literature on the system is a testament to how the Bitcoin debates do not merely spread, communicate and diffuse representation of this currency, but are closely intertwined with the practice of the money itself. By focusing its attention on a specific corpus, that of expert discourse, the article shows how, introducing and discussing a specific device, dynamic or operation as being in some way related to trust, this expert knowledge contributes to the very definition and shaping of this trust within the Bitcoin system - ultimately contributing to perform the shared definition of its value as a currency.
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  • HAL Id : hal-00985707, version 1

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Alexandre Mallard, Cécile Méadel, Francesca Musiani. The Paradoxes of Distributed Trust: Peer-to-Peer Architecture and User Confidence in Bitcoin. Journal of Peer Production, 2014, pp.10. ⟨hal-00985707⟩

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