For millennia, money has been a basal element of everyday life reality in market-organized societies. Albeit money has changed extrinsically (e.g., form, use, utility) countless of times, some intrinsic characteristics remain the same, i.e., money is reified value. But why? What gives money value? Even more crucial, what is money in the first place? This exploratory study delves into the intricacies of money, in particular the revolutionary 21st century pecuniary techno-phenomenon, a cryptocurrency called Bitcoin. Though cryptocurrencies have been the topic of several financial and legal scholarly publications for a few years, we rather focus our analysis on Bitcoin's ontological characteristics under a schema of overlapping theoretical layers: Social Exchange Theory, Marxian Dialectics, and Social Construction of Reality. Our intention is to dissect Bitcoin sociologically and empirically examine its global exchange, consumption, and institutionalization. Consequently, we venture to ask, can Bitcoin redefine the meaning of money and how we relate to it? Reformulate the role of banking? Disrupt the universally accepted objective reality of currency value attached to sensorial experience? Transfer trust from ambivalent human relations to an incorruptible algorithm? Or even become "the Internet of money"?
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Villarreal Robledo, Omar Eliud, "The Ontological Sociology of Cryptocurrency: A Theoretical Exploration of Bitcoin" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5119.