Backfeed, the Blockchain, and Value Systems in the Sharing Economy

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* Article: Blockchain and Value Systems in the Sharing Economy: The Illustrative Case of Backfeed. By Alex Pazaitis, Primavera De Filippi, Vasilis Kostakis. Working Papers in Technology Governance and Economic Dynamics no. 73, JANUARY 2017



"This article explores the potential of the blockchain technology in enabling a new system of value that will better support the dynamics of social sharing. Our study begins with a discussion of the evolution of value perceptions in the history of economic thought. Starting with a view on value as a mechanism that defines meaningful action within a certain context, we associate the price system with the establishment of capitalism and the industrial economy. We then discuss its relevance to the information economy, exhibited as the techno-economic context of the sharing economy, and identify new modalities of value creation that better reflect the social relations of sharing.

Through the illustrative case of Backfeed, a new system of value is envisioned, comprised of three layers:

  • (a) production of value;
  • (b) record of value; and
  • (c) actualisation of value.

In this framework, we discuss the solutions featured by Backfeed and demonstrate a conceptual economic model of blockchain-based decentralised cooperation. We conclude that the blockchain technology has the potential to enable the creation of commons-oriented ecosystems in a sharing economy."