Blockchain emerged as a well-defined technological object with limited applicability applications (e.g. Bitcoin). Embraced by more and more ‘stakeholders’, Blockchain has turned into a bounty of possibilities and promises. This raises the question whether Blockchain is turning into an overextending, affective ‘hyperobject’. Adopting a post-ANT topological perspective, and using mixed-methods analysis, this paper traces Blockchain's recent developments in the Netherlands. A media analysis of newspaper items shows a telling divide between stakeholders (including incumbents) stressing Blockchain's radicalising prospects and those (notably involved knowledge and policy workers) warning of its overhyping and lack of governance capacities. A detailed analysis of strategies and operations of the key enabler, the Dutch Blockchain Coalition, reveals how much effort has gone into face-to-face encounters and communication to frame and script the object. Yet, this also causes Blockchain to proliferate in all kinds of directions, turning into a hyperobject beyond the reach of intellectual and practical grasp.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101175
JournalTechnology in Society
Volume59
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ID: 56924735