Frail hope and new frontiers

Alex PREDA*, Julie VALK, Ruowen XU

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsEditorial/Preface (Journal)


This guest editorial takes as its starting point the 2021 guest editorial in ANTHROPOLOGY TODAY on the anthropology of blockchain written by Kosmarski and Gordiychuk, in which they discussed the possibilities of blockchain in terms of a ‘frail hope of novel, weird, grassroots, decentralized forms of social life’. They also argued that blockchain brought us to ‘new frontiers’ in politics, economics, capital, votes and subjective feelings. Two years later, in this 2023 guest editorial, the authors take stock of where blockchain technology stands concerning these ‘frail hopes’ and ‘new frontiers’. They distinguish between three articulations of blockchain imaginaries: blockchain-as-discourse, blockchain-as-sociotechnical assemblage and blockchain-as-spectacle. Then, they explore what blockchain means for capital, and whether we are headed towards mass adoption of blockchain technology, concluding that, for now, they see primarily institutional adoption. The authors also discern parallel institutional structures, with traditional finance on one side and blockchain-enabled crypto finance on the other, and they examine the regulated future of crypto assets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-2
Number of pages2
JournalAnthropology Today
Issue number4
Early online date31 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research for this guest editorial has been supported by the ESRC grant ES/T008237/1.

Publisher Copyright:
© RAI 2023.


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