Postdoc 1

Postdoc 1, will preferably be coming from the blockchain developer community. S/he will have multidisciplinary background, and have training in both the cryptographic/ computer science aspects of the technology, and one of the following disciplines: sociology, cultural anthropology, political science, economics, with special focus on sociology of innovation, science and technology studies, critical internet studies, software studies. S/he will be skilled in both quantitative and qualitative methods.  Postdoc 1 will be recruited for 4 years, 0.8 FTE.

The task of Postdoc 1 will be to map the most important blockchain projects, their governance, and assess their disruptive potential.  (See WP3 for detailsBlockchain applications display a wide range of fundamental technological design differences: some rely on open source software, others use proprietary code. Some use so-called unpermissioned blockchains, which are open for anyone to interact with, others limit access to the blockchain to select parties. Bitcoin and Ethereum, for example, operate on open unpermissioned blockchains while bank consortia which hope to set up blockchain-based clearinghouses will most probably prefer private permissioned blockchains to which only consortium members have access. Some applications, like Ethereum, allow all kinds of tokens on the blockchain; others are highly specialized and focus exclusively on one application (finance), or one type of tokenized information (domain names).

The governance, i.e. the formal and informal institutional, political, cultural, social organization of these implementations, are also extremely varied. Some communities only include software developers, while others, such as the Hyperledger consortium include a diverse set of stakeholders such as investors, incumbents, policymakers, domain experts, academics, etc.. Some of the blockchain developer communities are meritocratic democracies, others are hierarchically structured bureaucratic organizations. Some have a charismatic leadership, others don’t. And finally, some blockchain applications become strong and successful, with high potential for disruption, while others fail to get off the ground.