Drawn into acquiring cryptocurrency and experiencing the actual exchange, I visited a cryptocurrency ATM in Lucky Jack's casino in Amsterdam. After inserting a twenty euro banknote into the machine, selecting Bitcoin and placing my order, the ATM ejected an ordinary paper receipt. Seemingly I acquired digital currency in exchange for a banknote. But what happened behind the interface of the Automated Teller Machine? How is cash converted into cryptographic value and what is it made of? The receipt left me with little to no clues. Its abstraction further alienated my interaction with technology. Thus I set out to physically retrace my cryptocurrency transaction.
Proof-of-Transaction redesigns conventional receipts by absorbing the transfer of value from one space or entity to another. It captures the orders of magnitude of the exchange (from electrical pulses to printed circuit board layouts) and narrates their interobjective relations. Mathematical assumptions of abstract consensus algorithms enhance the precarious nature of cryptocurrency. Proof-of-Transaction renders these computational processes legible through their material manifestations. Reconnecting computation to its physics provides evidence of the exchange. The imperceptible exchange of value is unified with its source and encapsulated by the receipt.
Looking forwards, how will the increasing dominance of financial technology problematise social autonomy in the coming decade?
2018, objects, visuals and longform
Twenty years after the dawn of Bitcoin
Cryptocurrency became the standard of value
and used unconsciously. We blindly trust code
without understanding its provenance and influence.
Suddenly, the system freezes. Money stopped flowing,
wallets are rinsed and memorized keys drained away.