Marina Pantykina 1
  • 1 Togliatti State University, Belorusskaya str., 14, Togliatti, Samara Region, Russian Federation 445020

Blockchain and Social Concepts: Exposure of the Problem Field

2019, vol. 18, No. 1, pp. 158–187 [issue contents]
The article studies the influence of blockchain technology on the formation of semantic structures in the social world. The feature of this influence is that the usage of a decentralized distributed database challenges traditional forms of social interactions, serving as a catalyst for constituting social values without analogues in the social world. Because the concepts developed in classical social theory are used to describe these values, this requires an actualization of its thesaurus. In particular, the article studies the concepts of trust, responsibility, time, and mining in the context of the introduction of blockchain technology. Because the content of these concepts is open and developing, they are given the status of social concepts. The study uses the аctor-network theory as a theoretical and methodological basis. It lets us abandon conventions of common knowledge, and shows that these concepts are semantic nodes which emerge as trails (or links to trails) of the configured actions of actor-actants. In conclusion, the studied concepts are proposed to be used with the following meanings: (1) trust is confidence in algorithmized certainty processes and the actions of communication participants, and is based on the guarantees provided by decentralized information systems and on restricting freedom by subjecting anonymous collective identities; (2) responsibility is the personal willingness of participants to take actions in conditions of uncertainty, and to compensate risks; (3) block-time is the own-time of the technology of blocking, which characterizes the state of the protocol for the external observer. For the internal observer, block-time is chronological, since it fixes the timeless stability of the algorithm which connects blocks with each other; (4) mining is a kind of economic activity based on the synthesis of cryptographic technologies and the perception of archaic ideas about risk, luck, and wealth.
Citation: Pantykina M. (2019) Blokcheyn i sotsial'nye kontsepty: ekspozitsiya problemnogo polya [Blockchain and Social Concepts: Exposure of the Problem Field]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 18, no 1, pp. 158-187 (in Russian)
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