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Blockchain Democracy: Technology, Law and the Rule of the Crowd

William Magnuson

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Cambridge University Press
02 January 2020
Internet & WWW industries; Jurisprudence & philosophy of law; Financial law; Impact of science & technology on society; Legal aspects of computing
In Blockchain Democracy, William Magnuson provides a breathtaking tour of the world of blockchain and bitcoin, from their origins in the online scribblings of a shadowy figure named Satoshi Nakamoto, to their furious rise and dramatic crash in the 2010s, to their ignominious connections to the dark web and online crime. Magnuson argues that blockchain's popularity stands as a testament both to the depth of distrust of government today, and also to the fervent and undying belief that technology and the world of cyberspace can provide an answer. He demonstrates how blockchain's failings provide broader lessons about what happens when technology runs up against the stubborn realities of law, markets, and human nature. This book should be read by anyone interested in understanding how technology is changing our democracy, and how democracy is changing our technology.
By:   William Magnuson
Imprint:   Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 230mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 20mm
Weight:   450g
ISBN:   9781108712088
ISBN 10:   1108712088
Pages:   300
Publication Date:   02 January 2020
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Introduction; Part I. The Blockchain: 1. The origins of the blockchain; 2. The technology of the blockchain; 3. Blockchain in the world; Part II. Weak Links: 4. Crypto-criminals; 5. The energy hunt; 6. The penumbra problem; Part III. The Future of Decentralization: 7. How to govern technology; 8. Technology and the rule of the crowd; 9. Conclusion.

William Magnuson is an associate professor at Texas A & M Law School. He teaches and writes about corporations, technology, and finance. Prior to joining Texas A & M, he taught law at Harvard University, Massachusetts, worked as an associate at Sullivan and Cromwell in New York, and served as a journalist in the Rome bureau of the Washington Post.

Reviews for Blockchain Democracy: Technology, Law and the Rule of the Crowd

'Blockchain Democracy achieves what so many other entries in the dialogue around blockchain have not: a balanced and approachable account of the technology, politics, and ideologies of cryptocurrency from its inception to the peaks and valleys of today's hype cycle.' Jonathan Zittrain, George Bemis Professor of International Law and Professor of Computer Science, Harvard University, Massachusetts 'Blockchain Democracy is a thoughtful and valuable book. It describes the many ways that blockchain technology is being used around the world not only by an assortment of eccentric and entertaining characters but also by far more conventional banks, companies and governments. Magnuson maneuvers skillfully between devotees and naysayers, laying out the advantages and disadvantages of distributed systems that encode democracy but cannot escape its discontents.' Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO, New America 'Blockchain Democracy achieves what so many other entries in the dialogue around blockchain have not: a balanced and approachable account of the technology, politics, and ideologies of cryptocurrency from its inception to the peaks and valleys of today's hype cycle.' Jonathan Zittrain, George Bemis Professor of International Law and Professor of Computer Science, Harvard University, Massachusetts 'Blockchain Democracy is a thoughtful and valuable book. It describes the many ways that blockchain technology is being used around the world not only by an assortment of eccentric and entertaining characters but also by far more conventional banks, companies and governments. Magnuson maneuvers skillfully between devotees and naysayers, laying out the advantages and disadvantages of distributed systems that encode democracy but cannot escape its discontents.' Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO, New America


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