A Collaborative Research Project in Understanding Bitcoin Currency and Blockchain Technology as a Media System

The following presentation, which was given at the Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD5) Symposium in October 2016, and the associated research paper, were the culmination of a collaborative project with Michael Schaus, a peer in the Strategic Foresight and Innovation program at OCAD University.

This paper highlights research into the people and communities involved in Bitcoin cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Applying Marshall and Eric McLuhan’s Laws of Media tetrad and Lance Gunderson and C.S. Holling’s Panarchy as an integrated systems and foresight model, this research explores the future of economic exchange and of our financial systems in co-evolution with these revolutionary innovations. Building on a review of the literature and field research with subject matter experts from Toronto’s Bitcoin community, the authors developed a research framework and an integrated visual model for mapping scenarios and charting system-level impact over time that helps illuminate the impact of Bitcoin as media on the real economy, financial services, and traditional sovereign currency. The results of the study highlight the application of the framework and visual model as a basis for understanding phenomenon, developing scenarios, anticipating adaptive change, and for guiding future social change and innovation. The narratives that emerged are a sample of other narratives that could be crafted from the model, used to guide future studies and engage audience discussion.

Read full paper in the RSD5 proceedings.

For the poster that was part of this project, go to Design and see the entry entitled, “Integrated Model for Understanding Bitcoin and Blockchain as a Media System”.

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