2023 Abstracts Stage 3

Assessing the Ethical Justification of Cryptocurrencies: A Multilevel Economic Analysis Spanning Micro and Macro Perspectives

Cryptocurrencies have experienced rapid growth in terms of their usage and adoption, showing that they have the potential to change how th economic world functions. Through the use of various ethical theories, these being utilitarianism with reference to Bentham and Singer, Deontology and Kantian ethics and Social Contract Theory looking at the ideas of Locke and Rawls. This paper intends to evaluate whether cryptocurrencies can be justified through an examination of their effect on micro and macroeconomics, by applying the ethical theories and reaching a conclusion through them.

2023 Abstracts Stage 2

The Commandments of Satoshi: Establishing the Religiousity of Bitcoin

The brainchild of an anonymous entity shrouded in mystery; Bitcoin grew from being a revolutionary technological breakthrough to a radically transformative moment. The creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, envisioned a world where trust in banks or governments was no longer necessary. Instead, Bitcoin offered a glimpse of hope, an opportunity to unshackle the financial system from government mandate and towards a currency run by it’s holders. Bitcoin’s code and complimentary philosophy has reached every corner of the earth, inspiring tens of millions to unite in the belief that change is essential.

Both Bitcoin enthusiasts and skeptics have likened the movement to a religious phenomenon. This essay is explorative and aims to examine the core philosophy and beliefs of the individuals and communities within this movement by applying various interpretations of religion to the Bitcoin phenomenon. Firstly, an introduction to and exposition of Bitcoin will help to pinpoint reoccurring symbols, practices and feelings that will later be compared to the following theories of religion, in turn. To explore the impact the movement has had on individuals I will be applying William James’ conception of religion, which emphasizes subjective experience. Furthermore, Emile Durkheim’s theory of religion, which focuses on collective practices and shared beliefs will be utilized to assess the ideals and customs of the Bitcoin community. After these theories are outlined and utilized, the fourth part of this essay will summarize the philosophical significance of the beliefs and practices surrounding Bitcoin.

2021 Abstracts Stage 3

‘Carpe Your Crypto Diem’ The Digitalisation of Currency as an Act of Political Liberation

This project aims to establish if cryptocurrencies are liberating, offering more political freedom. It will also consider if they’re a positive development for society. To do this it will answer several questions. Firstly, it will define what cryptocurrencies are and introduce key examples. Then it will consider if cryptocurrencies can be understood as money. By presenting a genealogy of money and following how money has evolved it will demonstrate how our intuitive understanding of money is flawed. Money is a social institution, used to represent credit as Henry Macleod suggests. It will discuss the social ontology of money further, introducing the works of John Austin and John Searle. This will demonstrate that money isn’t something inherently valuable, rather it’s an object with an assigned function that society holds a set of beliefs about. Therefore, digital tokens or cryptocurrencies could function of money. However, they’re lacking the trust money requires to be credible. This project will then question why we don’t trust cryptocurrencies. It will consider why we trust the currencies we use today. Ultimately, governments establish this trust, and they are put in a position to do this via the social contract. Cryptocurrencies have no links to governments and therefore lack this. However, by discussing monetary policy this project will demonstrate how governments take their power and control further, manipulating our spending to reach their own targets. This project will question if this could be the reason why governments vilify cryptocurrencies, are they doing this to maintain their own power? This brings us to our last question; can cryptocurrencies liberate us from this control? It will consider the possibility of establishing a techno-Leviathan. Could placing an automated self-sustaining system as sovereign grant us more freedom. Ultimately, this project will conclude that this would be politically liberating. Cryptocurrencies remove third parties from monetary exchange, limiting their control and granting an individual more freedom.

2015 Abstracts Stage 3

The nature of the decentralised operating system within Bitcoin and its relation to the configurations of society

Providing an in-depth study into the operations taking place within Bitcoin and outlining the current and possible future effects it could have in changing the way in which the monetary system works. This project will involve the Philosophical implications it could have on changing the way in which society as a whole is understood to operate.